In honor of sexual health awareness month, let’s talk about birth control. Most people know about the pill, so we’re going to talk about the other forms starting with the IUD.
So what’s the deal with IUD’s? They’ve been getting a lot of talk recently, so let’s get some facts straight.
They’re a type of LARC (long-acting reversible contraceptive), which means they last 3-10 years and can be taken out at any point. They come in two types: hormone and copper. The hormone IUD lasts for either 3 or 5 years, and the copper IUD can last for 10 years.
What does IUD even stand for?
Will they cause infertility?
If I decide I want children before my (3,5,10) years are over, can I take the IUD out?
Yes, the effects wear off very quickly after removal from the body regardless of how long it’s been in or where is the timeframe you are.
Does it hurt to get put in?
Yea, you may feel some discomfort when it is inserted (by a doctor) but it is not a surgery, you do not need anesthesia. Worst thing will probably be some cramping when it’s first put in that can be helped with Ibuprofen.
Are they more effective than the pill?
Yes! You can’t forget to take it plus it’s a more even release of hormones (or copper).
Are they more dangerous than other birth control forms?
Nope, and as long as you know your medical history, a medical professional will be able to tell you if the IUD is a safe choice for you. (But that goes for all birth control types)
Will my partner feel it during sex?
Not the actual IUD. That’s in your uterus so it won’t “poke” your partner or anything. It’s possible that your partner could feel the string that hangs down into the vagina, but the string is soft so it’s very easy to ignore.
Can you accidentally pull it out?
Yea, it’s possible. But it’s highly unlikely to be pulled out during intercourse and you can ask your doctor if the string can be cut shorter. But overall, if you remind your partner you’re not a piñata (don’t pull the string) you should be fine!
How do they actually work?
Well the hormone IUD works by creating a buildup of mucus in the cervix that prevents sperm from reaching an egg. The copper IUD works because copper is toxic to sperm and renders them immobile. Pretty much it’s magic.
Can I get it if I haven’t had children?
Why they’re amazing:
- It’s one and done; put it in and forget about it for years. No more phone alarms, or shots, or calendar reminders for years.
- They are extremely effective; more effective than the pill
- Hormonal IUD’s can decrease menstrual pain and heavy bleeding
- Copper IUD’s can be an effective form of emergency contraception
- Almost all women have use them given there are two types that work differently
Possible risks and downsides:
- Irregular or heavier menstrual bleeding at first
- Like all birth controls, there is a very small risk of pregnancy if sole contraceptive method
- It could come out (this is very, very unlikely, but possible)
- It could perforate the uterus wall (again, extremely unlikely but possible)
- They do not prevent the spread of STI’s. Only condoms do that (but the two pair nicely!)
The long story short is that they’re a really good option. If you’re busy or forgetful or just want the most effective birth control, then you should definitely look into one. If you’re sleeping with different partners, it is still recommended you use a condom to prevent getting an STI, but far as stopping babies goes, it’s a solid choice.
Then again, I’m not a doctor so if you’re really interested in getting an IUD, go talk to one of them. And shameless plug, you can get one at Adagio Health.
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