An IUD, or an intrauterine device, is one of the best birth control options on the market. There are two different types of IUD: hormonal and non-hormonal. All are small T-shaped devices that sit inside the uterus and work as birth control to prevent pregnancy, but can also be used to manage heavy periods or abnormal uterine bleeding. They are considered long-acting reversible contraceptives because they can work effectively for 3 to 10 years depending on the type and do not affect your future fertility.
The hormonal IUD contains levonorgestrel which is a type of progesterone. These include Kyleena, Mirena, Skyla, and Liletta. Each has slightly different levels of levonorgestrel and is approved for different lengths of time. The Mirena is the longest acting in this class and is now approved for 7 years. These are among our most effective birth control options with 99.8% effectiveness. They prevent pregnancy by changing the cervical mucus and making it impenetrable to sperm. The added benefit of the progesterone containing IUD is improvement in bleeding and often is recommended as first-line treatment for heavy menstrual bleeding. Most women with this type of IUD have much lighter periods and many end up having no periods after about 6 months, which is safe.
The non-hormonal IUD is the Paragard. This IUD contains copper and is approved for 10 years. It is also highly effective with a 99.2% efficacy. Because it contains copper, the Paragard functions by inhibiting sperm migration and viability thus preventing fertilization. Unfortunately, this type of IUD does not improve heavy menses like the progestin-containing IUDs.
Regardless of the IUD you choose, the satisfaction and continuation rates are high. Almost any patient is a candidate for an IUD whether you have had children or not. They are also safe during the postpartum period and when breastfeeding. Complication rates during placement are extremely rare when placed by a qualified professional like your OB/GYN or Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner. If you are interested in an IUD feel free to sign-up for an appointment at the link in our bio or contact us today!