Find out if an intrauterine device is your best choice for birth-control.
When it comes to birth control, there are many choices available, and your healthcare provider will help you make the best selection based on your health, lifestyle, family goals and more.
Between condoms, pills, patches, rings and shots, the choices might seem overwhelming. But your healthcare provider will help talk you through them.
Let’s discuss one popular birth-control device that the doctors at Advanced Women’s Healthcare administer regularly: the intrauterine device.
What is an IUD?
An intrauterine device, or IUD, is contraceptive choice consisting of a small, flexible device inserted into the uterus. IUDs and look like a “T” and are made of copper or plastic.
The two types of IUDs are hormonal and copper.
A hormonal IUD prevents pregnancy by preventing the ovaries from releasing eggs. It also inhibits sperm’s ability to swim toward an egg. Hormonal IUD brands include Mirena, Skyla, Liletta and Kyleena.
A copper IUD prevents pregnancy by releasing copper ions into the cervix, causing a hostile environment for sperm. The copper ions also encourage the cervix to produce a thick mucus that sperm can’t navigate. ParaGard is the most-popular copper IUD choice.
Healthcare providers can help women make the best choice when it comes to the right IUD for their bodies.
IUDs are extremely effective birth control methods, with less than 1 out of 100 women getting pregnant yearly using most brands of IUD. Interestingly, most pregnancies happen when an IUD unknowingly slips out.
Pros of IUD Birth Control
- IUDs are 99 percent effective
- IUDs are safe choices for almost all women, including those who have and have not been pregnant.
- IUDs are safe for women of all ages, including teens.
- No worrying about remembering to take a pill each day.
- With multiple IUDs on the market, it’s easy to find the right IUD for you.
- Oftentimes, IUDs eliminate a woman’s period entirely.
- Many popular IUD brands last around five years and some as many as 12.
- IUDs don’t have estrogen-related side effects like the pill can.
- Many insurance providers cover IUDs 100 percent (women should consult their insurance provider for details).
- IUDs are reversible. If a woman decides she’s ready to become pregnant, the IUD can be removed by her healthcare provider.
Important note: IUDs do NOT protect women against sexually transmitted disease.
How to Check Your IUD Strings
Each year, women should have their IUDs checked during their yearly well woman exams.
But women should check their IUDs at home once a month. Here’s how:
- Wash your hands
- Find a comfortable place to sit or squat
- Insert middle or index finger into vagina until strings can be felt coming out of the cervix
If the strings feel too long or too short compared to the last checkpoint, the IUD might have shifted and will need to be put back in place by the doctor. Important note: if the IUD has shifted, it might no longer be a reliable form of birth control. Women should use back-up birth control methods.
The IUD is an effective birth control method that’s recommended for almost all types of women. It’s benefits are many, including 100-percent reversibility if a woman decides she wants to become pregnant. Discuss your IUD options at your next well-woman exam, or make an appointment today.