An intrauterine device (IUD) is a popular birth control device that has been on the market since the late 1980s. When considering which form of birth control may be suitable for you, it is crucial to explore the benefits of different options available to you.
Let’s talk about what an IUD is, how it works, its benefits, and where you can go in GA for outstanding gynecology care.
An IUD is a flexible T-shaped device inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. There are two types of IUDs – hormonal IUDs and copper IUDs, which prevent pregnancy in different ways.
Hormonal IUDs contain a very low dose of the hormone progestin and slowly release it over time. Progestin thickens the mucus on your cervix or the opening at the bottom of your uterus where sperm can enter your uterus. It also thins the endometrium or uterus lining. Additionally, progestin prevents ovulation in some people.
Copper IUDs contain copper. Copper is toxic to sperm, which helps prevents it from fertilizing an egg.
An IUD insertion or removal is performed by adoctor or a nurse. During the insertion process, your clinician may numb your cervix. Then, they will place the IUD in an inserter tube and insert that tube into your cervix, so the tip of the tube enters the uterus. They will then push the IUD out of the tube into the uterus, where it will open up into a T-shape. The bottom of the IUD has strings that hang through the cervix and into the vagina. When it is time to remove your IUD, your clinician will simply pull on the strings, and the IUD will fold up and be removed from the uterus. These strings can be trimmed after your IUD is inserted so that you or your partner do not feel them during intercourse.
According to Planned Parenthood, both the hormonal and copper IUDs are more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy, meaning less than 1 in 100 women with an IUD become pregnant. This is because you cannot miss a dose like a pill or other forms of birth control. With an IUD, you “set it and forget it,” and it is extremely effective.
IUDs are a long-lasting form of birth control. Hormonal IUDs can last three to five years, depending on the brand and the dosage, and copper IUDs can last 10 to 12 years.
Some people may have other health issues that prevent them from taking estrogen as birth control,i.e., breast cancer survivors. Unlike some other birth control options, hormonal IUDs only contain progestin, and the copper IUD has no hormones at all.
Hormonal IUD insertion can make your periods lighter over time as it thins the uterine lining.
If you’ve had unprotected sex and need emergency contraception, Plan B is not the only option. While the copper IUD is usually placed to prevent fertilization and pregnancy in the future, it is over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy when placed 5 days after unprotected sex.
IUDs allow immediate return to fertility after removal.
Just because you have a newborn doesn’t mean you can’t still have a sex life. Many mothers who are breastfeeding want birth control options that don’t affect their milk production and breastfeeding. Both the hormonal IUD and copper IUD are safe to use while breastfeeding.
Overall, there are many benefits of IUDs that extend beyond just preventing pregnancy. If you are interested in getting an IUD, you should talk to a physician, nurse practitioner, or nurse midwife to discuss the possible side effects of hormonal and copper IUDs and see if it is an option that is right for you.
We care deeply about helping you choose which birth control option is right for you and hope to see you soon!