The modern IUD has replaced the IUD of decades past. As more women discover the benefits the modern IUDs offer as a birth control option, the IUD has become a preferred choice in contraception. The modern IUD is a safe and effective contraceptive device that provides long-term protection against unwanted pregnancy; however, many women still believe form IUD myths and misunderstand how IUDs work and their safety.
How IUDs Work
The IUD is a small, plastic T-shaped device that your doctor will place in your uterus. It is about the size of a quarter. Once your doctor properly places it in your uterus, you will not be able to feel it.
Two Types of IUD
In the United States, two types of IUDs are available. One is a copper IUD, the other is a hormonal IUD. They work in slightly different ways.
One type of IUD is wrapped in copper. It prevents pregnancy by impairing the sperm’s ability to reach an egg and fertilize it. The copper produces an inflammatory reaction in your uterus that is toxic to sperm and eggs. The copper IUD provides immediate protection against pregnancy and remains effective for up to ten years.
The other type of IUD is one that is treated with hormones. Like the copper IUD, the hormonal IUD impedes the sperm from reaching the egg. By slowly releasing the hormones, a hormonal IUD can prevent pregnancy in several ways: 1) it thickens the mucus of the cervix so that it blocks and traps the sperm, 2) it can stop you from ovulating, meaning your ovaries do not release eggs, thus depriving the sperm of the ability to fertilize an egg, and 3) some IUDs also thin the uterine lining so that if a sperm is able to reach an egg and fertilize it, the fertilized egg cannot implant in the uterus.
Hormonal IUDs are effective for three to six years. How long the hormonal IUD lasts depends on the specific brand of hormonal IUD.
3 Common IUD Myths
Many myths about IUDs persist. Misgivings about their safety and efficacy are likely based on confusion about how they work and things they have heard about the old-fashioned IUDs. Three of the more common myths about IUDs include:
IUDs Are Dangerous
You may have heard rumors that IUDs can cause infertility due to scarring and increase the risk of pelvic infections. These rumors are based on the old-fashioned Dalkon Shield model of IUD. It was a poorly designed IUD that did cause health problems for some women. That model of IUD has been off the market for many years.
Regarding today’s IUD models, studies have shown that women who use IUDs are not at increased risk of infection or infertility compared with women who use other types of birth control.
IUDs Are for Older, Married Women
This is another myth that is based on outdated thinking. People who worry that IUDs are risky for young women are based on the myth that IUDs are dangerous to a woman’s fertility and health. In fact, the concern about infertility is warranted when younger women have multiple partners which can result in contracting an STD, which if untreated, can lead to infertility, unrelated to IUDs.
Your Partner Will Feel the IUD
Not true, provided the IUD has been properly placed by your doctor.
Once your IUD has been inserted by your doctor, you cannot feel it. The procedure itself will feel similar to getting a Pap smear. Your doctor will insert the IUD at the top of your uterus. It has small plastic strings attached to it which may hang 1-2 inches into the vagina. These strings are what you will use to periodically check to be sure your IUD is still in place.
When properly placed, neither you nor your partner should feel the IUD itself, though some people say they can feel the strings during sex. However, the strings are very small and soft enough not to cause discomfort.
Consult with your doctor if you are unsure about the position of the IUD or the strings. Your doctor will examine your IUD to ensure that it is placed properly and that you are not expelling it. If needed, your doctor can adjust the strings so that they cannot be detected during sex.
Contact Raleigh Gynecology and Wellness for Accurate Information On IUD Myths
Other IUD Myths abound; don’t believe them. Instead, contact the specialists at Raleigh Gynecology and Wellness to learn the facts about IUDs. For many women, IUDs provide an unparalleled safe, convenient, and inexpensive alternative to birth control for as long as you need it. When the day comes that you are ready to start a family, have your doctor remove your IUD and you are good to go. Contact the experts at Raleigh Gynecology and Wellness for more information and to schedule an appointment.