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Intrauterine Device (IUD)

What is an IUD?

An intrauterine device (IUD) is a little, t-shaped piece of plastic inserted into the uterus to provide birth control. There are several types of IUDs that use the hormone progestin. We also offer a copper IUD that is non-hormonal.  Ask your provider for more information and if an IUD is right for you. 

How does an IUD work?

The IUD works by creating an inflammatory response in the uterus that prevents fertilization of an egg. The Mirena® IUD also changes the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from entering the uterus.

Who can use the IUD?
Typically, most providers feel that the IUD is a good birth control choice for you if you have children and are in a monogamous (single partner) relationship. However, newer studies have shown that the IUD is very safe and can be used in younger patients who have not had children yet. The IUD is a good choice for women who can not take hormonal contraception. The IUD is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.
Who should not use the IUD?

You should not use the IUD if:

  • You have multiple sex partners
  • You have a history of sexually transmitted diseases
  • You have an abnormal uterine cavity or cervix
  • You have abnormal vaginal bleeding without a medical diagnosis
What are the risks of using an IUD?

If you should become pregnant while using an IUD, your risk of having an (ectopic) tubal pregnancy (a pregnancy in the fallopian tube) is greater than when a pregnancy occurs without an IUD. If you get an infection it can involve your fallopian tubes. This is a serious condition known as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) that can lead to scarring of your fallopian tubes and difficulty in getting pregnant in the future. The IUD may cause increased bleeding and cramping during your period. Also on some occasions, usually at the time of a period, the IUD can accidentally come out of your uterus, so you will need to check for its presence after each period.

What are the side effects of using an IUD?
Some women report spotting, amenorrhea (absence of periods), heavy bleeding, and/or cramping. Often these side effects will disappear with time.
What are the advantages of using an IUD?
  • 99% effective in preventing pregnancy
  • Nothing extra to do before intercourse
  • Able to get pregnant after its removal
  • Protection from endometrial hyperplasia
What are the disadvantages of using an IUD?
  • Has to be placed by a health care provider
  • Have to check for the string after every period
  • Side effects
  • No protection for HIV or STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections)

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