You may have heard that IUDs, or intrauterine devices, are convenient and effective forms of birth control. Indeed, their popularity has been rising in the US recently, and most women are good candidates for these devices. However, there are some important things to keep in mind when deciding if this is the right approach for you. Here is a look at what you need to know before you get an IUD.
They Are Higly Effective
Although no reversible method of birth control is 100 percent effective, hormonal intrauterine devices are about as close as you can get, offering 99 percent protection from pregnancy. One of the big reasons they are so effective is because they eliminate the possibility for human error. Although these devices may sometimes slip out of position, there is not nearly as much potential for human error as with condoms and birth control pills.
According to Healthline, while fewer than one out of every 100 women of hormonal and copper IUDs will become pregnant, around 9 in 100 of most birth control pills and the patch will become pregnant, while 18 of 100 females who rely on condoms will become pregnant.
You Will Need to Choose Between Hormonal and Nonhormonal IUDs
Most women are given a choice between hormonal or nonhormonal IUDs. A hormonal IUD secretes a small amount of progesterone into your uterus to protect against pregnancy. These devices can also make your period lighter and are even sometimes used to treat heavy periods.
Copper IUDs do not contain hormones, so they are suitable for women who would prefer not to use a hormonal form of birth control. They may sometimes cause your period to become heavier, but they last longer than hormonal IUDs.
Insertion Is Relatively Quick
Many women worry that having an IUD inserted will be a long and painful process. The good news is that the procedure usually takes around five minutes. Although there will naturally be some pain as a foreign object is inserted into your body, many women liken it to a bad cramp. Although pain varies from person to person, it typically does not last long.
For women who are extremely uncomfortable with the prospect of having the device inserted, anesthesia is an option, but it is not necessary. For many women, taking a few pain relievers ahead of the procedure is enough to offset any discomfort.
The Side Effects
Although cramping related to IUD insertion tends to subside rather quickly, you may experience other symptoms in the first few months. Spotting is not uncommon, particularly with a hormonal IUD. Some women will experience spotting or bleeding for as long as three to six months after an IUD has been placed; bleeding that lasts longer than this should be checked by a doctor.
Some women may experience moodiness or bloating due to the hormones in some IUDs, but it is very uncommon given the low overall dosage of hormones that IUDs contain. In very rare cases, women may experience an infection, but there will be obvious symptoms such as severe pain and a fever.
They Do Not Offer Protection Against Sexually Transmitted Infections
While you may think of an IUD as being a “set it and forget it” birth control method, it does not mean you should throw away your condoms. IUDs offer no protection against sexually transmitted infections, which means that you will still need to take steps to prevent contracting a disease.
An IUD May Offer Protection From Pregnancy Right Away
If you opt for a copper IUD, you will enjoy prevention from pregnancy immediately. With a hormonal IUD, this will depend on where in your cycle you are when the device is inserted. It will theoretically prevent pregnancy right away if it is inserted within the first seven days of your period, but it is best to use backup protection for the first week to be on the safe side.
For those who do not have an IUD inserted during their period, it is best to wait at least 7 days before having unprotected sex. Women should avoid inserting anything into the vagina for the first week after an IUD insertion to avoid introducing the risk of infection. Although the risk is small, it is best to play it safe.
Discuss Your Birth Control Options With the Women’s Health-Care Professionals
To learn more about the various types of birth control and intrauterine devices available, schedule an appointment with the women’s health-care professionals at Raleigh Gynecology & Wellness today to discuss your options.