This new hormone-free contraceptive on the market is better than the coil

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Susan Devaney
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A new form of contraception, the IUB Ballerine, is coming to the UK health market in April. 

From condoms and caps to the Pill, women do have a range of contraception to pick from in 2018 – but, as every woman who’s ever used various contraception knows: some work with your body, others work against it.

But now, with the introduction of a new hormone-free contraceptive, which has been hailed as safe and effective for up to five years, could provide women with even more successful contraceptive choice.

The IUB Ballerine, which is shaped like a ball unlike the regular T-shaped IUD, is said to reduce the risk of complications in the uterus.

The intrauterine device (IUD) is a small plastic and copper device known as a ‘coil’ that is put into the uterus by a doctor or nurse. It doesn’t depend on you taking it daily (unlike the combined contraceptive pill) and is over 99% effective, and can stay effective from five to 10 years.

“This technology succeeded in improving user quality of life,” says gynaecologist Dr Ilan Baram, who developed the IUB Ballerine.

“There are more than 50,000 cases of IUD perforating the uterus annually, with 20% of women opting for removal.”

The IUB Ballerine is shaped like a ball unlike the regular T-shaped IUD. 

The device has been tested for four years, with more than 14,000 fitted in Europe, Israel and Africa, and clinical trials have shown reduced bleeding and pain for 366 women aged 25-42 who replaced their regular IUD. Half the size of regular IUDs, it aims to fit a woman’s individual shape, and is made from a thin flexible metal called nitinol.

Current IUDs work by releasing a small amount of progesterone into a woman’s body. Non-hormonal devises made from copper stop a fertilising egg from implanting and resulting in pregnancy.

In 2016, a study conducted by the University of Copenhagen found that one million women over the duration of 13 years found a significant link between hormonal contraceptives and depression. With many young women turning away from the combined contraceptive pill, having another option available is crucial.

The IUB Ballerine is not currently available in the UK until April. OCON Medical, the developers, plan to offer it to private clinics in the UK, before (hopefully) achieving NHS distribution.

Images: Courtesy of OCON