It’s no secret that navigating birth control options can be terrifying: each body is built differently, meaning what works for your best friend, your mother, or even what worked for you in the past may not work for you now. If you’ve been considering the IUD—an intra-uterine device—there are a few things you need to know:
This isn’t the same IUD it once was.
Thanks to a scare with the Dalkon Shield IUD in the 1970s, the IUD has gotten a bit of a bad reputation. The market flooded with complaints about the Dalkon Shield, claiming reports of infection, infertility, and even death. Although that was more than a few years ago, a lot of women are still hesitant about any kind of IUD.
However, there are three new types of IUDs available today, and not one of them resembles the Dalkon. The small, t-shaped device is inserted into the uterus by a trained healthcare professional and can last anywhere from three to twelve years. It can either emit hormones or be non-hormonal, and affects the way the sperm interacts with your uterus, preventing pregnancy.
Weird science, huh?
Unlike other birth controls, an IUD won’t help with skin or acne problems. They also last longer and are more cost-effective than other contraceptive options. Just like other methods, an IUD can alter or even stop your period altogether, and could cause minor cramping while your body adjusts. It’s also totally irreversible: once you’re ready, just visit a trained healthcare professional to have it removed.
So what’s the big deal? All you know is that you aren’t ready for children just yet, but there’s more to choosing a contraceptive than that. Here’s a basic summary of IUDs to help you and your doctor determine if it’s the right option for you:
- Three options: Mirena: releases a small amount of hormones and can last up to 5 years; Paragard: non-hormonal and can last up to 12 years; Skyla: recommended for women who have not had children, releases hormones and lasts up to 3 years.
- Costs: In a one-time procedure, the IUD can be inserted. It can cost anywhere from $300 to $1,000 but lasts for years. Removal needs to be done by a trained professional.
- Risks: Like any other form of birth control, your body may not like the IUD. It may cause cramping while your body adjusts, but there is no risk of infection, infertility, or death.
- What to Expect: The IUD won’t affect your skin, but it may cause cramping or discomfort for the first few months. It can alter or even completely halt your period. Once removed, the return to fertility is almost immediate.
If everything looks excellent on the screen, talk to us in person. An IUD isn’t the best option for everyone, but we can help determine if it’s the right option for you.