IUDs Deserve Another Look

By Womens Health Medical Group
October 30, 2017

Infertility treatment PAIf you’re looking for reliable, unobtrusive birth control, you need to consider intrauterine devices (IUDs). But you’ve heard they’re unsafe, right? Something about an IUD in the 70s called the Dalkon Shield, right?

That’s ancient history. Today’s IUDs are the most effective method of birth control short of living in a monastery. They’re so comfortable you won’t know they’re there. At Women’s Health Medical Center, we’re big fans of IUDs and their virtually foolproof method of birth control. And more and more U.S. women are opting to use them every day. So, here’s some more information on IUDs.

What is an IUD?

An IUD is a very small, flexible, T-shaped rod that is inserted by a doctor into the uterus, where it emits either the hormone progestin or copper, both of which are hostile to sperm. IUDs are classified as long-acting reversible contraceptives and are remarkably effective.

Different types of IUDs

There are five different brands of IUDs that are FDA approved for use in the U.S.: ParaGard, Mirena, Kyleena, Liletta, and Skyla. These IUDs are divided into two types: copper IUDs (ParaGard) and hormonal IUDs (the other four brands).

The ParaGard IUD doesn’t have hormones. Instead it is wrapped in a tiny bit of copper — sperm don’t like copper. And ParaGard lasts an incredible 12 years!

The Mirena, Kyleena, Liletta, and Skyla IUDs use the hormone progestin to prevent pregnancy. Mirena works for up to 6 years, Kyleena up to 5 years, Liletta up to 4 years, and Skyla for up to 3 years.

How do IUDs work?

Copper and hormonal IUDs work in different ways to prevent pregnancy. Sperm don’t like copper, so the copper wrapped around the ParaGard IUD makes it almost impossible for the sperm to get around it to get to the egg. The ParaGard IUD is also virtually guaranteed as a “morning after” form of emergency birth control because those little sperms hate copper!

Hormonal IUDs prevent pregnancy two ways. First, they thicken the mucus that lives in the cervix, which blocks and traps the sperm. Second, the hormones also sometimes stop eggs from leaving the ovaries. That leaves no egg for the sperm to fertilize.

What about if you want to get pregnant?

While IUDs last for years, they are not permanent. If you decide you’d like to get pregnant, one of our doctors simply removes your IUD in just a couple of minutes and you can get pregnant immediately.

IUDs take the human error out of it

While birth control pills, sponges, diaphragms, and other birth control methods can be highly effective, there is one variable in the equation  — human error. We forget to take the pill, get the diaphragm in wrong, stuff like that. That’s the beauty of the IUD: it’s placed and it keeps working for up to 12 years. And their effectiveness is over 99%. They work as well as sterilization and the birth control implant. You read that right — as well as sterilization. They are, basically, human error-proof.

So, if you’re considering different types of birth control, or are ready to make a change from what you’re presently using, ask the team at Women’s Health Medical Group about today’s IUDs. They’re an awesome form of birth control. Call us for your next appointment, 817-346-5336.

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