9 things you do not know about the intrauterine device (IUD)
The intrauterine device, also called an IUD, is a small T-shaped object, measuring about 3 cm, usually made of soft plastic. It is placed by a doctor in the womb. This device is provided at its end with one or two nylon threads that allows you to check its presence. Most IUDs are coated with copper wire but they can also deliver a progestin (Levonorgestrel).
IUDs act by several mechanisms: by modifying the inner lining of the uterus; altering the spermatozoa due to the presence of copper. The progesterone IUD combines the mechanical action of the IUD and the hormonal action of the progestin. This is how it differs from other contraceptive methods.
1)IUDs are more effective than the pill.
If you really do not want to have a baby, the IUD is a very wise bet. It’s over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy, without removing your tubes or getting a vasectomy. The pill, for comparison, is 92-97% effective. Condoms are not even close: they are only 84% effective, but you should still use them (maybe in addition to an IUD) if you have multiple partners.
2)Getting a set-up is not always painful.
The procedure ends in less than 5 minutes. That said, many women experience cramps, which can last a few minutes or days. There is no way to guarantee who will find the insertion of IUDs painful, but you can take some pain medicine 30 minutes before to reduce the risk.
3)An IUD could make your periods more abundant or your periods may disappear completely.
There are several IUDs on the market, and there are several advantages and disadvantages to consider. The most important factor is whether you want hormones: most IUDs (including Mirena and Skyla) are coated with progesterone, so they work by making your cervical mucus hostile to sperm. The hormonal IUD come with the good benefit of lightening your periods. About 80% of women who get a Mirena will find that their periods last only a day or two. A lucky 20% will have no period.
ParaGard, on the other hand, provides birth control without hormones. It works by releasing tiny amounts of copper, creating an inhospitable environment for sperm. ParaGard also lasts the longest (up to 10 years!). The downside: Women can experience heavier periods and more menstrual cramps.
4)They are super-safe
Your mother or grandmother might think that the IUD is dangerous, but that’s not true. The World Health Organization and the American Medical Association have named the IUD as one of the most sustainable, most effective and least costly birth control methods available to women.
5)They are virtually maintenance free
Forget to take a pill every day, change rings each month or get a shot of the injection every 3 months. Once an IUD is inserted, you are pretty much comfortable for anywhere from 3 to 10 years (depending on which model you choose). This is largely why they are so effective: it’s pretty hard to mess up when you’re not really supposed to do anything in the first place. Many doctors tell patients to check the IUD ropes once a month to make sure the device is still where it should be. To do this, you are supposed to reach your finger towards your cervix and feel the ropes.
6)Yes, you can get one even if you have never had a baby.
Years ago, women who had no children were told that the IUD was not for them. This rule no longer exists. The IUD is safe for most women, including teenagers. If you have never been a mom you may want to consider Skyla because it is physically smaller than other IUDs. Although none of them are big. Skyla is even thinner, which can make insertion more comfortable for women who have not had their cervix extended by a baby.
7)Your partner should not be able to feel it.
If you have a ParaGard, it is almost impossible for your partner to feel it because the chain is so soft. Mirena comes with a thicker chain, so your guy could theoretically detect it, but that’s true if your supplier cuts the string too short. (It must be long enough to get stuck a little around your cervix, otherwise it will stay straight.) You can avoid this problem by choosing a doctor who has had a lot of experience by inserting the IUD.