The IUD has been around for many years. It stands for intrauterine device, and is a method of birth control preferred by women across the U.S. It is a device that is designed for insertion into the uterus so that once in place, changes occur within the uterus that prevents fertilization of the egg, or damaging or killing nearby sperm.
What is an IUD?
The IUD is a small, T-shape device made of plastic that is either wrapped in copper, or contains hormones. Hence, there are two types of IUDs to consider:
- Copper IUD: This is one of the most common types of IUDs. The copper in this IUD kills off nearby sperm because copper is toxic to sperm. This IUD is designed with a copper wire around the stem of the T-shape. The copper stays in place while the IUD is inserted and prevents sperm from reaching the egg. A popular type of Copper IUD is the brand known as Paraguard. It is a highly effective form of contraception and can last for up to ten years.
- Hormonal IUD: Mirena is a common brand for the hormonal IUD. This type of IUD releases levonorgestrel, which is a form of progestin. The hormones that are released from the IUD are what prevent the sperm from reaching the egg. While both the copper and hormonal IUDs are highly effective, the hormonal IUD has been found to be slightly more effective. It can last for up to five years.
A woman can have an IUD inserted during a visit to her gynecologist. The procedure is done in-office and lasts just a few minutes. It is common to experience some mild cramping or spotting for a few days following the procedure, but these symptoms will go away. In the first few months after the IUD is inserted, a follow-up visit with your gynecologist is needed to ensure that the IUD is still safely in place.
The IUD is best suited for women who have had children before, however, any woman can still use an IUD. It is very important to make sure that an underlying health condition in the uterus, such as sexually transmitted disease or PID, does not exist prior to the IUD being inserted.
The IUD has many advantages for women, including a reduction of heavy menstrual bleeding, a reduction in menstrual cramps, and it has also been shown to reduce the risks associated with endometrial cancer and ectopic pregnancies. If you are interested in discussing the IUD as an option for birth control, please consult with your gynecologist to get all of the pros and cons of this device.
For more information about the birth control options that are available, or to learn more about the IUD birth control method, please contact the office of the Women’s Specialists of Plano, a group of gynecologists service the greater north Dallas area.