Intrauterine devices, abbreviated as IUDs, have been around for years. However, they only recently became popular among women in the United States.
Learn why so many women are choosing IUDs as their method of birth control, and whether or not this type of birth control may be ideal for you.
The Benefits of IUDs
There are many reasons why so many women are loving their IUDs, but the biggest factors are:
- It’s long lasting. Once an IUD is inserted, it lasts for 3-6 years. No more visits to the pharmacy, and no more forgetting to take your birth control!
- Your periods will be better. The IUD thins the lining of the uterus, which reduces the amount expelled during a period. After several months of use, you may even notice your periods stop altogether.
- IUDs are highly effective. Many effective forms of birth control exist, but their rate of success can be lowered by human error, because, let’s be honest, we have all forgotten to take our birth control once or twice. Hormonal IUDs have been shown to fail only 0.2% of the time, and non-hormonal IUDs to fail 0.8% of the time. Those are some great odds.
- An IUD is convenient, and extremely low maintenance. After the insertion of the IUD, you are good to go. Your gynecologist is likely to schedule a follow up visit in a few weeks to ensure that the device was placed correctly and is working properly, but after that, you have nothing to worry about for the next several years.
- You need a non-hormonal or estrogen-free birth control. Some women have other medical conditions such as high blood pressure or breast cancer, which can worsen with the use of hormonal birth control. Other women simply prefer to not add any more hormones to their body and let it remain naturally regulated.
Not everyone has had an ideal IUD experience, and there are some reasons as to why an intrauterine device may not be suitable for you, such as:
- IUD insertion can be quite painful. The IUD is placed within the uterus, which means it must first move past the cervix, which can be a tight squeeze, especially for women who have not previously had their cervix dilated during childbirth. The amount of pain will vary from person to person, and can typically be managed with common over-the-counter pain relievers like ibuprofen, but it is worth noting that your IUD insertion will come with at least a little bit of pain.
- You have an STI or PID. Sexually transmitted infections and pelvic inflammatory disease can cause several issues for a woman’s reproductive system. For this reason, your gynecologist will usually want to avoid adding the complication of an IUD to these present conditions.
- IUDs can be costly. Depending on your particular type of insurance, IUD insertion may run you between $0-1,300. There is a specific IUD called Skyla, which is a low-cost option that is specially designed for those with lacking healthcare plans.
- You like having control of your period. While IUDs can lighten, or even end your period, they make your period difficult to manage. Oral birth control pills and the Ring are much easier to manipulate, as you decide when to take them and when not to, which can help you to avoid a period during a vacation or other planned activity.