Why IUDs?

Still trying to find a birth control method that works for you?  Birth control isn’t one-size-fits-all – if you’ve had your share of trial and error and haven’t tried IUDs before, you may want to read further.  Maybe you’ve tried birth control pills and they haven’t worked well for you for any number of reasons, or you’re just looking into a long-term option.  Birth control pills are one of the most common and popular methods of birth control.  There are tons of pros: it’s easy to take a pill, and can result in cool benefits: clearer skin, a lighter period, or even no period at all just to name a few.  “The pill” is a hormonal form of birth control, which some people are sensitive too – perhaps you experienced positive effects while on birth control, but felt completely out of whack and “off” after coming off the pill.  An IUD (Intrauterine Device) makes it possible to stop filling prescriptions each month – in fact, once it’s in you can general forget about it for 5 – 12 years.  Best of all, they’re the most effective method of birth control out there right now – they’re more than 99% effective.  And, you’re protected 24/7.  You can’t forget to take it like a pill, but you can pretty much forget about it once it’s in.  If IUDs are so effective, why aren’t they as popular as other methods?  It boils down to less discussion overall (compared to pills or condoms), and worry about the insertion process.

Here’s what you need to know:

Types of IUDs:

  • Copper (commonly known as Paraguard)

Copper IUDs play double duty, because they serve as a birth control method and an emergency contraceptive – they’re actually more effective than the “morning-after pill. They last up to 12 years, and are a great hormone free option.  However, they can cause heavier periods and spotting for the first months after insertion.

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  • Hormonal (commonly known as Mirena)

Hormonal IUDs last 3-5 years after insertion.  They come with benefits like lighter periods or no periods at all.  You may experience light spotting.  If you don’t experience adverse effects from hormonal birth control, but want something you don’t have to worry about every day, this could be a great option!

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So, what is the insertion process all about?

  • The IUD is inserted through the opening of your cervix and into your uterus (Planned Parenthood, 2017).
  • The insertion process is different for everyone: sometimes googling everything can do more harm than better, because everyone has a different body and experience
  • In general, doctors recommend taking 2 Advil an hour before your appointment
  • The insertion should feel no more painful than your strongest period cramp, or similar to the pinching feeling of getting an immunization shot

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There are pros and cons to weigh when it comes to deciding if IUDs are for you.  The only part of the IUD you should be able to feel is the little string you’ll check each month – this lets you know the IUD is still in place.  Intercourse-wise, your partner should not be able to feel your IUD, because it’s all the way in your uterus!  The chance of the IUD falling out is very, very low.  If you change your mind, the removal process is very simple.  If you decide to try for pregnancy, you’ll be able to try immediately after removal; IUDs don’t affect your fertility.

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