If you’re looking for safe, effective, reversible birth control, you may be considering the pill, a diaphragm, or an implant. But here’s another choice to add to your list: the intrauterine device (IUD).
Many women are choosing the IUD because it provides reliable, convenient birth control with minimal potential side effects. It’s also one of the most effective ways to avoid getting pregnant.
Here at Premier Women’s Care of Southwest Florida, our providers have extensive experience helping women choosing a birth control method that best suits their lifestyle and health. For many of our patients, the IUD checks all of their contraceptive boxes.
About the IUD
The IUD is a small plastic device that your provider places in your uterus during a short office visit. The IUD prevents pregnancy by keeping sperm from reaching and fertilizing one of your eggs. It may also prevent your egg from implanting in your uterus.
Some types of IUDs contain hormones that help prevent pregnancy. A hormone-treated IUD provides reliable birth control for 3-5 years. After that, it must be replaced.
Other types of IUDs are wrapped with copper, which repels sperm. Copper IUDs prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years.
Although the IUD provides long-term protection, you can have it removed when you want to become pregnant.
All types of IUDs offer the highest possible reliability. According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services Office on Women’s Health, IUDs have a pregnancy rate of less than 1, which means that during the first year of use, fewer than 1 in 100 women using an IUD will get pregnant.
Reliability rates for IUDs are similar to those of permanent sterilization (vasectomy for a man or tubal ligation for a woman) and the implant: 1 pregnancy per 100 women in the first year of use.
In comparison, the pregnancy rate for contraceptive injections is 6 pregnancies per 100 women in the first year of use, 9 pregnancies per 100 for the pill, 12 for the diaphragm, 18 for the male condom, and 21 for the female condom.
Possible side effects
Most women have few or no side effects from the IUD. However, it’s important for you to know that some of the following side effects could possibly occur:
- Development of ovarian cysts
- Inflammation of the uterus
- Lighter or heavier periods than usual
- Missed periods or bleeding between periods
- Temporary cramping
A very rare side effect is expulsion of the IUD device through the vagina or through the wall of the uterus.
It’s also important to keep in mind that the IUD does not protect you from sexually transmitted diseases. If you’re at risk for sexually transmitted diseases, using a condom in addition to the IUD can help protect you.
Which birth control method is best for you? We can help you decide. To schedule an appointment with our expert care providers, call one of our offices in Cape Coral, Lehigh Acres, or Fort Myers, Florida, or use our online booking feature.