What's The Difference: Covid vs. Common Cold vs. Flu

Winter is the season for colds, flu, and this year, Covid-19. While most cases of all three of these viruses are relatively mild, many people are wondering this year if their seasonal cough might be something more serious.

In this article, we’ll explore the similarities and differences between Covid-19, the common cold, and the flu and explain how to evaluate your symptoms. If you suspect you may be sick with Covid-19, get in touch with a healthcare provider for support.

How are Covid, the Common Cold, and the Flu Similar?

Covid-19, the common cold, and the flu are all a type of respiratory infection. They may share similar symptoms and can transmit from person to person in the same way.

Transmission

All three viruses can be spread through airborne respiratory droplets or aerosols, released when an infected person coughs, sneezes, speaks, sings, or even breathes heavily. Microscopic aerosols can stay in the air for extended periods and cause transmission in crowded or poorly ventilated spaces. Respiratory droplets fall to the ground quickly but can cause transmission through contaminated surfaces.

Wearing a mask, social distancing, and frequently watching your hands are all effective ways of reducing the spread of colds, flu, and Covid-19.

Symptoms

All three viruses can share similar respiratory symptoms when they cause infection, including cough and congestion. They can also cause fever and associated fatigue, chills, or ill-feeling. In some cases, both Covid-19 and the flu can cause gastrointestinal symptoms like abdominal cramps and diarrhea.

How are Covid, Common Cold, and the Flu Different?

While these diseases can look quite similar, a close look at their symptoms can make it possible to distinguish them apart.

The most distinct difference in Covid-19 symptoms is the loss of taste or smell, which occurs in many cases, and has not been linked to common cold or flu symptoms.

Another important distinction is the “incubation period,” or how long between infection and onset of symptoms. Covid-19 has the most prolonged incubation period of the three, sometimes lasting up to 14 days. Additionally, some people infected with Covid-19 may never show symptoms and yet can still spread the virus. Proper prevention like social distancing and mask-wearing is therefore critical and often life-saving measures.

Covid-19 Symptoms

Symptoms of Covid-19 can range from mild to severe and can appear anywhere from two to 14 days after exposure. Experts believe individuals may be infectious three days before the onset of symptoms. Symptoms can last considerably longer than the flu or cold.

Common symptoms of Covid-19 include:

Less common symptoms include:

Children may have abdominal symptoms and skin changes or rashes. We are still learning about Covid-19, and some people experience other rare symptoms.

Covid-19 symptoms typically resolve within seven to 14 days, but in some cases last for months.

Common Cold Symptoms

Cold symptoms tend to develop within two days of exposure, much quicker than symptoms of Covid-19. Infected people can transmit the virus starting a few days before the onset of symptoms and remain infectious until all symptoms resolve. The peak of transmission tends to be the first two to three days of symptoms.

The most common symptoms include:

Other symptoms may include:

In general, the common cold resolves within two to seven days and is not severe.

Flu Symptoms

Flu symptoms can be very similar to symptoms of Covid-19. Both diseases can be more dangerous than the common cold, and so anyone exhibiting symptoms should immediately take steps to reduce exposure to others. With the flu, people are infectious starting one day before the onset of symptoms and remain so until five to seven days after onset.

Flu symptoms can range from mild to severe and develop within one to four days of exposure to the virus. The flu is usually accompanied by the sudden appearance of:

Other symptoms may include:

Most people will recover from the flu in seven to ten days.

What To Do If You Are Sick

If you suspect you may have been exposed to Covid-19 or the flu, or you are experiencing symptoms, contact a healthcare provider as soon as possible. Health Canada also has a self-assessment tool to find out if you should get a test.

Anyone with symptoms of Covid-19, the common cold, or the flu should isolate at home until they can be tested or until symptoms resolve. You should also self-isolate if you suspect you have been exposed and are awaiting test results. Infection with the common cold is not severe, but anyone with symptoms should be tested to ensure it is not Covid-19 or the flu.

If you are sick and isolated at home, telehealth services like those offered by BeWell Medical are among the best and safest ways to consult with a doctor. Care through a respiratory illness can include taking fever-reducing medicines to help with pain and discomfort, lots of rest, and hydration. Most cases will resolve without emergency medical intervention.

Covid vs. Common Cold vs. Flu: Know the Differences and Help Prevent the Spread

With a vaccine on the horizon, experts are hopeful this will be the only winter with a severe threat of Covid-19. However, as we wait for a solution, we can all be part of preventing the spread of illness this season.

Understanding the similarities and differences between Covid-19, the common cold, and the flu is an essential first step in doing our part for prevention. Everyone should be monitoring themselves for symptoms regularly and taking steps to reduce exposure to themselves and those around them.

With cooperation and understanding, we can all participate in protecting our neighbours and enjoying this holiday season.

Your Complete Guide to Healthy Living in Your 50s

In Canada, almost 50% of those 51 to 60 years old have at least one serious chronic condition. That number jumps to almost 70% for those 61 to 70, and a little over 80% for those 71 and over.

Of course, there are some conditions that are inevitable and unavoidable as we age. But there are certainly ways you can be proactive about your health to decrease the effects of those conditions.

To help you out, here is a complete guide to healthy living in your 50s so you can live a long and happy life.

Take up Healthy Eating

Eating healthy in your 50s is key to keeping your body in good shape and managing any chronic conditions you might have. While you can certainly treat yourself every once in a while, it’s important that you have healthy eating habits.

Considering your immune system becomes weaker and slower to respond as you age, you want to eat foods that are rich in antioxidants and other nutrients that’ll help you fight off illness better. Try a range of colourful fruits and vegetables to get a variety of not just antioxidants, but also beneficial vitamins and minerals.

Also, starting in your 30s, you’ll start to lose around 3% to 5% of your muscle mass every decade. For most men, this amount will total 30% in their lifetimes.

Losing your muscle mass doesn’t just mean you’re weaker. It also means you’ll be less mobile and you’ll have a higher chance of breaking a bone should you have a fall.

To fight against this, you should get more protein in your diet. Foods that are rich in protein include:

For vegetarians, you can try protein sources such as legumes or beans.

Lastly, you’ll want to mainly stay away from deep-fried foods, as well as anything that’s high in sugar or sodium. An occasional treat might be ok, but keep those to a minimum.

Drink More Fluids

Not only should you eat a more wholesome diet, but you should also drink more fluids. The average man should drink about 3.7 litres a day, and the average woman should drink about 2.7 litres a day.

The good news is, this doesn’t mean solely water. So if you aren’t a fan of drinking just plain water, then you do have options. In fact, 20% of your daily fluid intake comes from the food you eat, so takes care of around 0.5 to 0.75 litres already.

In addition, you can get your needed daily fluid intake from other beverages as well. So if you enjoy coffee, tea, juice, or soda, these count as well. Just remember to keep your sugar intake low, so you don’t exacerbate any existing health conditions.

The more you can keep yourself hydrated, the better. But don’t force it, as it’s actually possible to overhydrate.

Exercise Regularly

Senior people working in the gym. Old people doing exercises. Having fun in the gym.

This is good advice that people of all ages should follow, considering the US has a problem with obesity. Of course, your choices in physical activity will depend on how mobile you are.

At the very least, you should get up and walk around often during the day. Not only will this help you keep your mobility, but it can also ease joint pain and keep extra weight off. Just make sure you don’t overdo it, or else you’ll risk injuring yourself.

Make sure you stretch before you do any type of physical activity, even if it’s just walking around. Taking 10 minutes to stretch beforehand will benefit you in 2 ways: it’ll decrease your chance of injury and it’ll help you move more easily.

Exercise Your Brain Too

Alzheimer’s and dementia are very common health conditions that senior citizens get. While there are no cures for these diseases, there are ways you can keep them at bay.

One of the most important things you can do is “exercise” your brain. For example, you can do crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and other challenging games to keep yourself entertained and your wits sharp. If you’re a fan of technology, you can even pick up some fantastic video games to keep your mind fit.

In addition to exercising your brain, you should also take care of your mental health. Make sure you’re getting enough social interaction by keeping in touch with friends and family, whether that’s in person or through texts and video chats.

If your stress levels are high, try some relaxing activities, such as meditation or yoga. And if you’re struggling with anxiety or depression, don’t be afraid to seek out help from a professional therapist.

Get Enough Sleep

Sleep is a vital activity that enables your body to repair itself. If you don’t get enough sleep, then you’re running your body and immune system down.

Make sure you get at least 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. Not only will this put you in better health, but you’ll also feel more energetic and ready to tackle each day.

Get Regular Checkups With Your Doctors

doctor in white uniform gown checkup patient's mouth with flashlight Physician check up

You can do all of the above perfectly but still have underlying health issues. This is why regular doctor visits are essential.

In general, you should get a checkup with your doctor once a year. Depending on the state of your health, you might need to see them more often.

You should also see the eye doctor on a regular basis. Many health issues start in the eyes, so if you’re diligent about eye doctor visits, you might be able to catch them before they turn into much larger and more serious issues.

Get Started on Healthy Living Today

Now you have some great healthy living tips for staying fit in your 50s and beyond.

For some, it might be a huge overhaul of how they live their lives. And for others, it’ll just be a few minor adjustments.

Whichever category you fall into, make sure you’re proactive about your health and stay that way. In addition to eating healthy, exercising, and getting enough sleep, make sure you make those crucial checkup appointments with the appropriate healthcare professionals. By catching issues early on, they’ll be more manageable.

Make sure you live healthy, starting with booking an appointment with your current doctor to get a check-up. If you’re currently our patient, then make an appointment with us now.

Working From Home: Taking Care of Physical and Mental Health

Think back to February 2020. Remember the cold mornings when you’d bundle up and dash from your home to your car while trying to stay warm. Recall the long commutes on snowy roads. Remember fantasizing about skipping all of that and working from home.

If you’re like many Canadians, you can vividly remember these days and these thoughts. A few short months ago, working from home in your pajamas seemed like a dream.

But then that dream came true.

With restrictions imposed by the COVID pandemic, more people are working from home. While working remotely has its advantages, it can also affect your physical and mental health.

Read on for a comprehensive physical and mental health checklist to ensure that you take care of yourself while you take care of your remote work responsibilities.

Checking on Yourself: A Physical and Mental Health Checklist for Working From Home

Physical and mental health go hand-in-hand. If you’re suffering physical symptoms, your mental health can take a hit. If you’re struggling mentally or emotionally, you often feel physical effects. A comprehensive approach to well-being is, therefore, important.

As you evaluate your overall well-being, ask yourself the following questions.

1. Are You Physically Comfortable?

If you worked a desk job in the office, you’re probably still working a desk job at home. Your office setup and workday habits have changed, though, and they may be impacting your health.

Evaluating Your Home Office

You spend much of your day in your home office. It’s important, therefore, to evaluate it for comfort.

Ask yourself the following questions:

Evaluating Your Workday Habits

In addition to your physical surroundings, your own habits can impact your physical comfort. These habits, too, have likely changed since you’ve begun working from home. Perhaps, in the office, you had a routine that injected movement into your day. You took a walk to the copier. You checked in with your boss. You chatted around the water cooler or visited a colleague.

At home, those reasons for moving have all but disappeared. Your printer is right on your desk. Your boss and your colleagues are no longer steps—but now miles and a Zoom call—away. In other words, you have fewer reasons to get up from your desk.

Without a reason to do so, you might forget to step away from the computer and give your eyes a break. You might forget to move and stretch throughout the day.

As you become more sedentary, your physical health suffers. Eye strain and muscle tension contribute to headaches. Muscle tension in your back, shoulders, and neck can also have a ripple effect, producing pain elsewhere in your body. Perhaps your wrists begin to ache from hours of typing. Maybe you notice that you’re gaining weight.

These are negative changes, but noticing them is a step in a positive direction. Noticing them means you can adjust your home office setup and habits.

Maintaining Good Posture

Besides choosing an ergonomic chair, you can also enhance your physical comfort by maintaining good posture. To achieve optimum desk posture, maintain a straight upper back and support your lower back’s natural curve. Don’t slouch or lean to one side. Also keep your shoulders relaxed.

As you sit at your desk, keep your eyes level with your computer monitor. Your keyboard and mouse should be close enough to reach with your elbows bent. In fact, you should keep any objects you use regularly within an arms reach. If you need to stretch to reach something, stand up to get it.

While you’re sitting, your lower arms should rest parallel to the floor. Meanwhile, your upper legs should be supported at a 90-degree angle from your body. If your feet don’t reach the floor in this position, lower your chair, if it is adjustable. If it’s not, use a footstool. 

Remembering to Move

Equally important to sitting comfortably is remembering to get up and move. Experts recommend moving every 90 minutes to maximize your energy levels. If you have trouble remembering to do so, set a reminder in your calendar or an alarm on your phone.

Pro-Tip: Taking Office Comfort to the Next Level by Taking a Stand—or a Walk

Maybe you already have a comfortable setup, and you remember to move throughout the day. Consider upping your game with a standing desk or other flexible seating.

The benefits of standing desks include reduced risk for weight gain and improved energy and mood. Standing desks can also reduce your risk for pain and chronic diseases associated with prolonged sitting. These include heart disease and diabetes.

Experienced remote workers also incorporate movement into their days by getting up to walk while making business calls.

Finally, if you’re struggling with physical pain and self-help measures provide no relief, contact your family doctor. He or she can help you manage chronic and acute pain.

2. Are You Eating Well?

When you worked at the office, lunch might have been the highlight of your day. You’d never consider skipping it. It was your chance to refuel and refresh with colleagues who had become friends.

A lonely lunch at home doesn’t have the same appeal. Thus, it’s easier to skip.

If you do remember to eat, you’re still probably not eating well. While working from home, you’re likely not preparing your lunches in advance. Instead, you grab the most convenient—and often least healthy—options.

The result is inconsistent eating habits that prioritize convenience over nutrition. Inconsistent eating habits, in turn, promote weight gain. This is especially true when food choices include more junk and fewer whole foods.

Eating Well While Working from Home

Eating well while working from home is simple, but it requires you to make a commitment—to yourself. Commit to fueling your body regularly throughout the workday. Make nutrition a priority. Schedule it into your day, and don’t compromise. Giving your body the fuel it needs is not selfish, and it does not reduce your productivity. In fact, it enhances it by promoting a positive mood and energy levels.

Also make nutrition a priority by planning your meals and snacks in advance. Perhaps you don’t need to use a lunchbox, but you can “pack” a nutritious lunch and snacks each night. Designate a spot in your refrigerator for your work lunch and snacks. As you prepare these meals, balance convenience, nutrition, and portion control. Snack-sized Ziplock bags of vegetables, crackers, and cheese offer an easy solution.

Finally, remember that good nutrition and good health require good hydration. Keep track of your water consumption throughout the day with a refillable bottle.

3. Are You Sleeping Well and Maintaining a Consistent Daily Schedule?

Sleep is essential to allowing your body to function properly. Adequate sleep promotes physical and mental health. It also enhances productivity. Inadequate or excessive sleep, in contrast, contributes to a host of negative physical and mental consequences.

Working remotely can make it easier to slip into poor sleep habits and an inconsistent schedule. When you work remotely, it might be easier to hit “snooze.” Sleeping later means working later to maintain your productivity. This, in turn, throws off your schedule for the rest of the day.

Another trap remote workers fall into is choosing work over sleep or other self-care activities.

Perhaps, while working from home, you feel the need to prove that you’re working as hard as you worked in the office. Maybe you worry that a full day’s work isn’t enough. Maybe these worries haunt you at night. And maybe the lure of your nearby home office is enough to get you out of bed when you should be giving yourself a rest.

With modern technology, it was difficult to maintain a work-life balance when you worked at the office. When you’re working from home, this balance can be even more elusive. It is, nevertheless, possible.

Maintaining a Schedule, Sleep, and Adequate Work-Life Balance When Working From Home

Once again, balancing work and self-care is simple, but it does require making a commitment to yourself. Commit yourself to maintaining a normal schedule. Wake up at the same time each day. Work consistent hours as much as possible. Schedule breaks and lunches.

Include personal responsibilities and self-care activities in your formal schedule. When the workday ends, close the door on your home office. Review your calendar for your evening activities, and be sure that those activities promote your own well-being. Schedule workouts, time for family and friends, and time to journal, read, or watch your favorite show. Make yourself a priority.

4. Is Your Emotional Outlook Positive?

Making yourself a priority helps to address what is, perhaps, the most significant remote work challenge: mental health.

Working from home means that you are more isolated. Unsurprisingly, studies show remote workers report the highest levels of “extreme personal isolation.” Isolation, in turn, increases the risk of anxiety, depression, and other mental illnesses.

It’s important, therefore, to monitor your emotions and mental outlook. Take time to ask yourself the following questions on a regular basis:

Answering these questions honestly and taking steps to address any concerns is essential to ensuring your mental health. If your answers raise red flags, consider how you can improve your mental health.

Perhaps you can incorporate additional self-care practices into your routine.

Journaling helps not only to identify negative emotions but to work through them. Scheduling regular workouts promotes physical and mental health. Reaching out to others, even via text, phone calls, or Zoom, can reduce isolation. Creating to-do lists and checking off tasks as you complete them can provide a visual record of your accomplishments. 

If you’re already struggling with mental health and working from home or find that these self-care steps aren’t enough, discuss your concerns with a qualified health provider. Working from home with depression or anxiety can be a particular struggle. However, experts in working from home psychology suggest that no struggle is insurmountable.

Self-Care Is Not Selfish

In any work environment, you aim to succeed. When you work from home, however, it can be more difficult to balance self-care and professional success. It’s important to remember, therefore, that the two are connected. Self-care is not selfish. In fact, self-care contributes to your overall personal and professional success.

By using the physical and mental health checklist above, you’re setting yourself up for success.

The Role and Value of a Family Physician

Among the many different types of medical doctors and specialists in practice today, where does a family physician fit in? Primarily, they fit in with their community.

They are uniquely positioned in the community, providing dedicated, hands-on care to each patient who comes to them. In general, they provide ongoing care on a more deeply personal level than you’d get from other types of doctors. With this comes an enormous range of medical knowledge, skills, and experience.

This unique experience makes them uniquely valuable—absolutely indispensable in their community and the health care industry as a whole. Their work benefits all of us through better diagnoses, better research, and lowered health care costs for patients.

And all this only scratches the surface of the vitally important role and value of family physicians in health care. To learn more about what family doctors do and how essential they are to the community, the world, and health care in general, keep reading. 

What is a Family Physician?

Many specialists/practices focus on treating specific conditions, such as diseases or sports injuries. Family doctors differ in that they focus on treating people.

That is, family practice is very personal. It is centered on the individual: their medical history, lifestyle, home life, mental state, etc. They provide ongoing care based on a long-established personal relationship with each patient.

When meeting with a patient, family doctors consider more than the specific issue the patient brings up that day. They take into account all that they know about the patient. This includes their entire medical history and any current treatments they are receiving.

Thus, family medicine is the most comprehensive approach to treating each individual. Now, here’s a more detailed look at certain aspects of the family doctor’s role in health care.

Comprehensive Care Management

BeWell-Medical-Clinic-staff

A family doctor may not provide all the care their patient needs. But they’re essential for coordinating their treatment plan.

Family doctors understand that certain treatments are better left to specialists. In fact, many of their patients have complex problems that require care from multiple specialists.

But only a family doctor will manage these various treatments as one complete treatment plan. They will track and monitor the progress of all the care the patient is receiving.

This results in more organized and effective care overall. It also prevents patients from receiving treatment that hinders other treatments they’re receiving.

Linking Different Fields of Medicine

Medical specialists operate only within their specific realm of expertise. But family practice doctors help each patient with any problem they’re having. And they coordinate each patient’s entire treatment plan, incorporating as many fields of specialty treatment as are needed.

In this way, family doctors act as a link that connects all fields of medicine. For example, a physical therapist could be working to correct a patient’s gait after an injury. They may not know what affect a chiropractic adjustment will have on the patient’s gait problem/treatment because chiropractics are outside their realm of practice.

That’s where family doctors come in. Their wide range of experience includes many cases involving multiple fields of medicine.

And, even if they don’t know the exact solution, they’re connected with many specialists in the community. They can refer patients to the correct specialist if they are unable to solve the problem on their own.

Your Health Care Advocate

We all know how hard it can be for patients to get the care they need. Reasons for this range from diagnosis difficulties to health insurance limitations.

Family physicians act as an intermediary to eliminate these problems. They are your health care advocate, perfectly positioned to get you to the care you need.

Your family doctor knows your medical history better than anyone. This makes them extremely effective in diagnosing problems and prescribing treatment. And if money or insurance is the problem, they’ll help you find a solution to this as well.

Reduced Hospital Admissions/Readmissions

As we said, due to their experience, family doctors are very accurate in their diagnoses. This results in fewer admissions and readmissions of their patients to the hospital.

That, in turn, frees up valuable hospital resources to be used to help others who are in need of emergency care. It also saves patients from racking up expensive hospital bills.

Ongoing Personal Care

Going to the same trusted family physician for all of your problems means never having to start from scratch. Each year that you receive treatment from them is a whole year that they’ve invested in caring for you.

One of the biggest challenges in providing proper health care is the lack of information. Many times, a diagnosis would be obvious if not for some specific information the doctor is missing.

For example, when doctors treat a patient for the first time, they have little knowledge of the patient’s medical history. So, they rely on a series of tests or questions to gain information about the patient. 

Because of this, certain, difficult health problems can take years to diagnose. And each time you bring these problems to a different doctor, the counter resets.

It’s better to rely on a single-family physician with years of experience already invested in you. They already have more information on you than any other doctor. Thus, they have a head start in treating any present or future problems you experience.

Community Health Care Leaders

When a crisis like the COVID-19 outbreak happens, where can people turn for help? They need someone to look to for health care advice and precautionary instruction.

In these situations, family doctors are the top medical experts to put your trust in. Not only do they know medicine, but they also know the health trends of their communities.

Plus, they deal with more unique health care situations on a daily basis than any other type of doctor. These include patients with complex and co-occurring health issues.

This varied and complex experience makes them very adaptable. Thus, they quickly devise effective medical solutions in unprecedented health crises.

Again, everyone is in need of care during times of health crisis. But only your family physician will give you the personal, community-based care you need.

County leaders and government officials also look first to family doctors for advice. Their expertise will determine precautionary measures and other policies during a health crisis.

Shepherding Communities into New Eras of Medicine

Heading up advancements in medical technology is another important function of family physicians. As health care evolves and new treatments are introduced, leaders are needed to implement these changes.

Because of their experience, position, and involvement in the community, family doctors are the most qualified health care professionals to do this. They can determine, on a case-by-case basis, how and on whom to use these treatments.

Invaluable Research

Since each family physician is focused on their own community, they each get a unique glimpse into the science of health care. Thus, each community is like a separate, isolated test group for medical study.

The data each community provides through family medicine can then be compared against the others. This is an invaluable tool for understanding medical science. Such data is necessary for advancing health care technology and treatments.

Passing the Torch

When family physicians retire, their vital contribution to the health of their community doesn’t retire with them. They pass on the knowledge they’ve gained so new physicians can continue their work. This is the only way to keep the health of a community strong generation after generation.

Studies show that mortality rates are higher and life expectancies shorter in counties with fewer family doctors. That’s why it’s so important for family physicians to train the next generation of doctors. It reduces the amount of untimely and unnecessary death in the community.

Furthermore, these new physicians will continue the research started by those before them. This is another unique and indispensable research tool. It can provide organized, long-term data of patients/conditions, ranging even from the birth of a patient to their death.

Family Doctors Care

When you visit your family physician, he/she doesn’t only strengthen your health. His or her work strengthens the health of your entire community. And, it provides invaluable research for the advancement of medical science.

These devoted caregivers are changing the world for the better, one patient at a time. So, show them your very heartfelt appreciation and care, just as they care for you. The next time you visit your family doctor, be sure to tell them, “Thank you.”

We have plenty more health care tips and information like this on our blog. Check our blog for pain management techniques, industry news, and more. Now, read these 6 Effective Non-Opioid Methods For Managing Chronic Pain.

IUD Birth Control: Knowing Your Options in BC

An Intra-Uterine Contraceptive Device (IUCD), or commonly known as IUD, is a long-acting reversible birth control method. It is the highest effective reversible method that lasts for years and does not affect fertility. Insertion and removal of an IUD does require a doctor’s visit. However, once a doctor inserts the device, you may forget that it’s there.

What is an IUD?

An IUD is a birth control device that is often a small, T-shaped plastic device that contains either hormone or is wrapped with a copper coil. Hormonal UD (which are correctly called (IUS) contain a hormone called progestin. Most people use an IUD for long-term pregnancy prevention.

However, an IUD can also provide effective emergency contraception (copper IUD). Some people also use hormonal IUDs to control severe period symptoms such as cramping and excessive bleeding.

How Does an IUD Work?

All IUDs work by keeping sperm from reaching an egg. They do this in a few different ways. A copper IUD is toxic for sperm and eggs. It changes the biochemistry around the uterus so in the unlikely case that an egg becomes fertilized anyway, it prevents the fertilized egg from attaching to the uterine wall.

Hormonal IUDs like Kyleena and Mirena keep sperm and eggs apart in two ways. Firstly, they thicken the mucus of the cervix. That mucus traps the sperm and prevents it from entering the uterus. Secondly

How Effective are IUDs?

IUDs of all types are more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. This makes it more effective than either condoms or birth control pills. Furthermore, because it’s a long-term birth control method, users don’t have to worry about forgetting or misusing it. Unlike female sterilization or vasectomy it is fully reversible.

What Kinds of IUDs are Available?

Several different IUDs are available throughout the Canadian provinces. Your doctor or physician can help you to decide which is best for you.

Hormonal IUDs

There are currently two types of hormonal IUDs available, and they are Mirena and Kyleena. As of yet, there are no generic IUDS. These are plastic devices that contain a progestin hormone called Levonorgestrel. Both devices continuously release small amounts of this hormone into the uterus.

Both Kyleena and Mirena can prevent pregnancy for up to five years and they are covered under almost all extended health benefits.

Non-Hormonal IUDs

Non-hormonal IUDs is a T-shaped copper devices. A copper IUD works through a combination of actions as explained above.

A copper IUD can prevent pregnancy for between three and ten years and they work as an emergency contraception if inserted within 7 days of intercourse.

What are the Advantages of an IUD?

The IUD has a long list of advantages and benefits, including:

What are the Disadvantages of an IUD?

There are far fewer disadvantages of IUDs. Still, you should be aware that IUDs:

Are There Any Risks Associated with IUDs?

There are risks associated with every form of birth control. However, serious complications relating to IUDs are rare. The most common ones are pregnancy and insertion-related issues.

Pregnancy

No birth control method is 100 percent effective, though the IUD comes close. However, on rare occasions the IUD may slip out of place or come out completely. If full expulsion happens, you may become pregnant. If your IUD slips out, you will need to have it re-inserted in a doctor’s office.

If you do become pregnant with an IUD in place, it’s essential to have it removed as soon as possible.

Insertion-Related Problems

If bacteria enter the uterus during the insertion of your IUD, it could cause an infection. This infection needs to be treated immediately. There is a very small chance that the IUD could push through the wall of the uterus during insertion. It doesn’t hurt, but it may require a procedure to remove the IUD.

Who Might Benefit From an IUD?

Because it’s easily reversible, the IUD is an excellent option for people who want to prevent pregnancy now but may want to become pregnant in the future.

It’s also an excellent choice for people who want to prevent pregnancy in the long term.

The Canadian Pediatric Society specifically recommends long-acting reversible contraception methods like IUD as the first line contraception for sexually active teenagers.

Who Should Not Use an IUD?

If you meet any of the following criteria, you may not be able to use an IUD. Still, your physician can help you clarify which birth control methods may be safe for you. But, in general, you should avoid IUDs if you:

If you’re allergic to copper, your doctor may suggest a hormonal IUD. Still, other health conditions may preclude the use of a hormonal IUD.

How Does IUD Insertion Work?

First, the doctor will check the size and position of your uterus. They’ll likely use a lubricated speculum to check your cervix and will do a swab to check for infection.

Before inserting the IUD, the doctor may use a local freezing to dull the pain. You may still feel a pinch followed by a sharp cramp when the doctor inserts the device. Taking ibuprofen an hour before your appointment can reduce this pain. The whole procedure normally takes less than five minutes.

How Does IUD Removal Work?

Although a doctor must remove an IUD, it’s generally a fast, easy, and painless procedure. In very rare cases that the IUD is stuck to your uterine wall, however, removal may require further procedure. Your physician will work with you to manage or eliminate pain before performing the procedure.

For More Information

For more information about the IUD and whether it’s right for you, contact a reputable medical professional or reach out to your medical care provider. It’s important to always follow safety guidelines and recommendations and to learn as much as you can about your birth control options.