Like snake oil and fedoras, IUDs (intrauterine devices) have a bad rap.
Back in the 1970s, an IUD called the Dalkon Shield became a popular birth control option. Unfortunately, the product’s poor design caused infections in many women. It was pulled from the market, and women were advised to have it removed. Since then, IUDs have been a source of controversy, causing fear in many women.
However, those fears can gladly be put to rest nowadays.
Today’s IUDs are more advanced than the IUDs of the past and are considered a safe and effective form of birth control.
IUDs are T-shaped devices that are about one inch long. An IUD is placed by a doctor into the uterus through the vagina. Once in place, an IUD can prevent pregnancy for 3-10 years depending on the IUD.
These are great options for women who have trouble remembering to take their birth control pills. They are as effective as sterilization and can be removed at any time by a qualified healthcare provider.
Types of IUDs
There are two main types of IUDs:
- Hormonal IUD. The most common brands of hormonal IUDs are Mirena and Skyla. Mirena lasts for up to 5 years while Skyla lasts up to 3 years. The progestin in hormonal IUDs thickens the cervical mucus and thins the lining of the uterus, making it difficult for sperm to reach the egg. An additional benefit of hormonal IUDs is that most women experience a very light period or no period at all.
- Copper IUD. A copper IUD lasts for up to 10 years. The most common copper IUD is Paragard. The copper IUD triggers the immune system to produce fluid that is toxic to sperm, thus preventing pregnancy. With a copper IUD, you may experience heavier bleeding during your period. Additionally, women who have Wilson’s disease or are allergic to copper should not use this IUD.
For more information on IUDs, read IUDs: Learn More about Advanced, Reversible Birth Control
The compassionate healthcare providers at All About Women are happy to answer any questions you have about IUDs or birth control. Contact us to schedule an appointment.