If you’re wavering on your decision to move to an intrauterine device – or IUD – as your primary means of birth control, you should know that female health professionals and gynecologists choose IUDs seven times as often as the public for their own personal use. There’s perhaps no greater recommendation than following such an informed choice.
Today we discuss five factors that set the IUD apart from other forms of birth control. Misconceptions still abound from the Dalkon Shield fiasco of the 1970s. Contemporary IUDs bear no resemblance to this failed product, and so the IUD is again becoming the choice for many women seeking a superior and reversible contraceptive method.
Some people just aren’t good at remembering to take pills. Although it’s a habit you can train yourself to follow, choosing an IUD makes this unnecessary. It’s truly a set-and-forget birth control method that can last between three and five years, depending on the particular brand you choose. One type lasts up to 10 years, so the need for daily pill reminders is gone. Placing or removing an IUD requires only a short visit to one of our clinics.
Contemporary IUDs are small, soft T-shaped devices, unlike the large, flat Dalkon Shield, and therefore, the modern IUD doesn’t cause the complications of the earlier device. The safety of current IUD design is proven with over 40 years of trouble-free history as the choice of about 10% of women in the United States using a contraceptive method--nearly 4 million Americans. Some IUD designs are approved as safe for teens and women who have not yet given birth.
Sex is often spontaneous, and the “always there” nature of IUDs is ideally suited to this aspect of sexuality. In fact, only contraceptive implants and male fertilization are more effective than IUDs. Even female sterilization doesn’t approach the reliability of contemporary IUDs. The chances of an IUD slipping out are even lower, about five one-hundredths of a percent. We recommend that you have a quick checkup with us four to six weeks after your IUD is placed, so that we can check placement and answer any questions you may have. After that, you’re good for the life of your chosen device.
If you’re planning to have a family down the road, a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) is the ideal choice. There’s no LARC method more popular than an IUD. In fact, IUDs are chosen seven times more than contraceptive implants. When it’s time for you to start your family, make an appointment with your physician who can remove the IUD in just a few minutes. In many cases, you can get pregnant immediately after your IUD is gone.
Among the brands of IUD on the U.S. market, there are two general types: those that use hormones and one brand that uses a copper coil and no hormones. The copper coil creates a hostile environment for sperm in your uterus and prevents fertilization. It’s a similar effect to hormone-based IUDs, but with different chemistry. If you’re trying to move away from oral contraceptives, the copper coil IUD may be a good choice. You also have several options within the hormone-based devices, so you may find an alternative that suits you and your body more effectively than the pill.