Q: How effective is an IUD? Is it safe?
Dr. Trina Chakravarty, OB-GYN, Maui Lani Surgeons and Physicians: An intrauterine device, or IUD, is a small, T-shaped device that is inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. It works by physically preventing sperm from reaching the egg. Some IUDs use copper as a sperm repellent while others use hormones to thicken mucus on the cervix to block sperm. IUDs do not stop ovulation from occurring. IUDs are over 99 percent effective, making them one of the most effective, reversible forms of birth control for women available.
IUDs have to be inserted in a doctor’s office, but once in place they will be effective for several years. The hormonal types of IUDs can be in place for three or five years and hormone-free type of IUD can stay in place up to 10 years. They’re also safe to use if you’re breastfeeding and can be removed at any time if you want to get pregnant in the future, without delaying your return to fertility. IUDs are very safe for most people, and side effects are rare and usually mild. While fewer than 1 percent of women get pregnant while using an IUD, those who do have a higher risk of miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy and complications.
While IUDs can be an easy, safe and effective way to prevent pregnancy, they don’t protect against sexually transmitted infections, so you and your partner will need to use condoms or internal condoms to reduce your risk.
Q: What should I do if I think someone is having a stroke?
Mariah Mossman, registered nurse, stroke program manager, Maui Health System. When someone is having a stroke, they may not realize that there is something going on with them. The injury to their brain can prevent them from perceiving their own stroke symptoms. That’s why it’s so important that someone nearby recognize the symptoms and get help as quickly as possible.
Some common and obvious signs of stroke are facial drooping, arm or leg weakness or numbness, slurred speech and trouble speaking or understanding. Other symptoms of stroke include sudden loss of balance or coordination, sudden trouble seeing in one or both eyes, sudden blurred vision and/or a severe headache.
If you think you or someone near you is having a stroke, call 911 immediately. Stroke treatment starts in the ambulance and the EMTs can relay important medical information to the ER before you arrive. Life-saving medication and treatments are time dependent. The sooner a stroke victim receives treatment, the better the chances for recovery.
A great way to remember what to do is with the acronym BE FAST. It stands for B) loss of BALANCE; E) blurred vision (EYES); F) drooping on one side of the FACE; A) weakness/numbness in one ARM or leg; S) trouble with SPEECH; T) and note the TIME the symptoms started when calling 911.
Everyone should know BE FAST so they can look out for these sudden stroke symptoms and call 911 immediately.
* Physicians, providers and administrative staff who practice at Maui Health System hospitals and clinics answer questions from the public in “Healthwise Maui,” which appears on Thursdays. Maui Health System operates Maui Memorial Medical Center, Maui Memorial Medical Center Outpatient Clinic, Kula Hospital & Clinic and Lana’i Community Hospital and accepts all patients. To submit a question, go to the website at mauihealthsystem.org/contact.