Having a child can be one of the most joyous and exciting times of your life. On the flip side, becoming pregnant when one is not ready can make for very difficult and confusing times. If you are a woman of child-bearing age and do not want to become pregnant, it is imperative to weigh your options by analyzing many of the birth control methods available…
There are more choices today than ever before, however, some may be right for your situation and your health, and some may not. Fortunately, Woodlands OBGYN Associates can help make your decision easier by provide information and examine which contraceptive method will best fit your needs.
One option for birth control is an IUD, short for Intra-Uterine Device. Although sometimes it is referred to as an IUC, for intrauterine contraception. This device is used by millions of women in America to prevent pregnancy. The IUD is inserted into the uterine cavity by a trained physician. This simple procedure can be done in the physician’s office.
What is an IUD?
An IUD contains medications, or hormones, that are meant to be released over a long period of time in order to help prevent pregnancy. The IUD itself is a “T” shaped device. Once inserted, the bottom of the T will rest just inside of the inner cervix, while the arms of the T extend horizontally to each side of the uterus. Attached to the end of the IUD is a monofilament string. This string comes through the cervix and remains in the vagina. The string is checked by the user monthly to make sure the IUD remains in place. It should also be checked regularly by a healthcare professional.
There are two types of IUDs available on the market:
Paragard, the copper-containing IUD. A copper wire is twisted around the base of this type of IUD. The copper causes more of an inflammatory reaction inside the uterus. This inflammation helps prevent an egg from being fertilized. Paragard can remain in place for as many as 10 years.
Mirena, a levonorgestrel-releasing IUD. This IUD is created to release progestin from the vertical piece of the T. This hormone helps to thicken the cervical mucous, making a better barrier against sperm, and making the lining of the uterus unfavorable for implantation of pregnancy. Mirena is approved for up to 5 years continuous use.
Is an IUD right for me?
Several factors should be considered when deciding if an IUD is right for you, such as:
- Unlike condoms, an IUD does not protect against STDs, and is best used by women in monogamous relationships, unless an alternative form of STD protection is used.
- Some women experience a lot of pain or other side effects with the IUD. Some women’s body’s will self-expel the device.
- Paragard can cause heavier periods.
- Mirena can make periods lighter or go away.
- An IUD is good for long-term birth control, a benefit over many other forms of birth control.
- An IUD provides nearly 100 percent effectiveness against pregnancy.
- Though it can cost several hundred dollars up front, the IUD is one of the most effective methods of birth control, when accounting for the cost being spread over several years.
- Some insurance companies are now required to pay for FDA-approved IUDs with no co-pays or additional fees.
- Paragard is a non-hormonal birth control, unlike the pill or other forms of contraception.
- The IUD is a reversible birth control form. Once they are removed, their effects end.
- An IUD is private and cannot be seen or felt.
While there are many birth control options available and many options to consider when deciding which one is best for you, it is important to have a trusted OBGYN and an experienced practitioner to help select the method that is right for you, like Woodlands OBGYN Associates.
If you are considering an IUD method, contact Woodlands OBGYN Associates today to find out if an IUD is the best choice in contraception for you and your partner!