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What is the safest contraception method for middle aged woman?

Q: How frequently does a Cu-T need replacement and what if the date exceeds? What is the safest contraception method for a 38-year-old female?

A:Intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUCDs) are a very safe and effective contraceptive method. There are Cu-T (Copper T) IUCDs of various validity periods ranging from 5 – 10 years.

Manufacturers recommend replacing it after it's projected validity period. If the dates exceed i.e. if it is left in the womb (uterus) beyond the validity period, its efficacy goes down thus increasing the risks of getting pregnant. There is a relatively new device (compared to traditional IUCDs) called Mirena coil, which is a very effective IUCD - almost as effective as sterilisation with a failure rate of 2-3 in a 1000. It also has the benefit of minimising / stopping the blood loss during periods.

However, the downside is that it is expensive. Apart from IUCDs there are various other effective contraceptive methods. Oral contraceptive pills have the advantage of being reliable and may reduce the irregular bleeding and pain during periods but one may have to risk the side effects and has to remember to take them daily.

Injectable contraceptives are also available in market and have the advantage of one time insertion of the hormone but needs repeating every 12 weeks or so. They can cause irregular bleeding and may occasionally cause breast tenderness, bloatedness and occasional lower abdominal pain.

It is difficult to go through the pros and cons of each method in greater details. It would obviously depend on you as to which one suits you better but I think IUCD probably would be a good option at the age of 38 years.

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