They're supposed to prevent pregnancy, and they do, but intrauterine devices (IUDs) also reduce uterine cancer risk by more than 40 percent (Meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, May 6, 2008).
An IUD is a small, T-shaped plastic device inserted into the uterus. Only two percent of women who use contraception in the United States choose an IUD, despite the proven safety and effectiveness of this long-term method. Worldwide, however, IUDs are the most widely used reversible contraceptive. Most IUD's prevent pregnancy by releasing small amounts of the hormone progesterone into the uterus. This is also why they help to prevent uterine cancer.
The ovaries of healthy women are supposed to produce two hormones: estrogen and progesterone. Many women lack progesterone and they are the women who are at increased risk for uterine cancer. Estrogen stimulates the uterus to grow, and progesterone stops the stimulation. If a woman has estrogen and no progesterone, her uterus is stimulated all the time, which can lead to uncontrolled growth which is cancer.
The woman most likely to get uterine cancer has high blood levels of insulin. Insulin acts directly on the ovaries to stop them from releasing eggs. Women who do not release eggs have no progesterone and therefore are at high risk for uterine cancer. A woman can find out if she has high insulin levels just by getting a blood test, called C peptide, that measures insulin production by the body. If it is above 3, her body makes too much insulin.
However, you can usually tell if a woman has too much insulin just by looking at her. Insulin causes a person to lay down fat primarily in the belly. Women with big bellies and small hips usually have high insulin levels and are also at high risk for diabetes. Most people who will develop diabetes usually stop responding to insulin. This causes the pancreas to release increasing amounts of insulin, until the pancreas eventually dies and then the person must take insulin.
If you are a woman who stores fat primarily in your belly, you should get blood tests called C peptideand HBA1C to see if you are already diabetic. You can also tell if you are pre-diabetic if your good HDL cholesterol is low, your triglycerides are high, or your liver shows excessive amounts of fat. Start a supervised exercise program, lose weight, and restrict refined carbohydrates. You may also want to see if your doctor advises using an IUD to help prevent uterine cancer.