stethoscope10 Things to know about IUDs (Intrauterine Devices)

1. IUDs prevent pregnancy by preventing fertilization.

2. IUDs are T-shaped plastic devices that are placed inside the uterus by your healthcare provider in their office.

3. IUDs are extremely effective and have very low failure rates. Fewer than 1 in 100 women using IUDs will become pregnant.

4. IUDs are not permanent.  They can be removed by your healthcare provider at any time.

5. IUDs do not prevent STDs (sexually transmitted diseases).

6. Complications are extremely rare but can occur. Possible complications include:

  • Pelvic inflammatory disease, an infection in the uterus and fallopian tubes.
  • Perforation of the cervix or uterus.
  • Ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy outside the uterus) can occur in the rare instance that you do become pregnant while using an IUD.

7. Currently in the US, there are 2 types of IUDs available:

  • Paragard is a hormone free copper IUD
  • Mirena is an IUD that contains the hormone Progestin.

8. Paragard is effective for 10 years. Mirena is effective for 5 years.

9. Some of the benefits of IUDs include:

  • Convenience
  • Ability to  breastfeed during use
  • Mirena may lead to light menstrual flow or no flow.
  • Paragard is an option for women who want birth control that does not contain hormones.

10. Potential side effects:

  • Paragard IUDs can cause heavier menstrual flow and more cramping during periods. These symptoms can usually be alleviated by over the counter medications such as  Motrin, Advil, Alleve or Ibuprofen.
  • Mirena may cause irregular bleeding in the first 6 months. Eventually users may experience lighter menstrual flow or no menstrual flow. It may also cause side effects related to the Progestin hormone, including headache, nausea, and breast tenderness.