Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are one of the most effective forms of reversible birth control. They can last for several years, are relatively hassle-free once in place, and highly effective. IUDs are small, T-shaped devices that are inserted into the uterus and can be in place for 3 to 10 years, depending on the device. The IUD works by preventing fertilization; it does not abort a pregnancy. Should you wish to get pregnant, your provider can quickly remove the IUD during an office visit, and your cycle should return to normal shortly after.
TYPES OF IUDS
There are 2 main types of IUDs available, hormonal and non-hormonal:
- Plastic containing the hormone progestin (levonorgestrel)
- Slowly releases small amounts of progestin (levonorgestrel) into the body over time
- Lasts 3-5 years, varies depending on the one you choose
- Effective immediately if inserted during your period otherwise it may take up to 7 days to become effective
- Options include Mirena®, Skyla®, Kyleena®, and Liletta®
- Plastic wrapped with copper
- Uses copper to trigger your own immune system to prevent pregnancy
- Lasts up to 10 years and has no hormones
- Effective immediately after placement
- Options include Paragard®
Your North Atlanta OB/GYN provider can help you determine which IUD is the best option for you. Please schedule an appointment with our office today to learn more.
The IUD is excellent for women who have experienced side effects — such as mood changes, headaches, or breast tenderness — from other forms of contraception such as the patch, birth control pills, or injections.
Progesterone IUDs such as Skyla® and Kyleena® release a small amount of progesterone locally into the uterus. This means you’ll have much fewer hormones in your body; therefore, less hormonal side effects.
The Mirena® and Lilleta® — which have a bit more progesterone — can similarly reduce your menstrual cramping and decrease your menstrual flow. Some women may even stop having periods altogether, which can be a typical result.
The Paragard® copper IUD may be ideal for women who prefer to have their periods and do not desire or cannot use hormones.
It is important to remember that no IUD will protect you against sexually transmitted infections, or STIs.
WHO SHOULD GET AN IUD?
The IUD is an excellent option for all women — including teenage women and women who have never been pregnant. Moreover, it does not lead to problems with getting pregnant in the future.
What’s more, it can also work well for women in the final 5 to 10 years before entering menopause. During menopause, periods often become more painful and cumbersome. Certain IUDs can ease the transition into menopause by decreasing menstrual flow and pain. Your provider at North Atlanta OB/GYN can help you decide which IUD option is best for you.
An IUD is inserted into the uterus at your OB/GYN’s office. Similar to your routine Pap smear, your provider will place your feet in the stirrups, then a speculum will be placed into the vagina, so the cervix becomes visible. Next, a narrow tube containing the IUD will be placed through the cervix and into the uterus. The provider will then push the IUD out of the tube and into place in the uterus. Thin strings attached to the base of the IUD will remain outside of the cervix for easy removal in the future.
During the procedure, expect to have spotting and menstrual-like cramping. It is alright to take pain relief, such as ibuprofen, before and after your procedure for any cramping. You should be able to return to your normal activities later that day. Schedule an appointment with our North Atlanta OB/GYN offices today — we ensure a safe, reliable, and women’s health-focused environment.
The IUD can be easily removed at your OB/GYN’s office at any time. A speculum will be inserted into the vagina to visualize the IUD strings. Using forceps to grab the strings, the provider will slowly pull the IUD out. Only in rare instances may the strings not be readily visible.
After the IUD is removed, you can try to get pregnant without delay.
RISKS AND SIDE EFFECTS
The risks of using an IUD are extremely low. They include:
- IUD expulsion (which may happen in the first few weeks after insertion)
- Displacement outside of the uterus, which is very rare.
- Increased risk of pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID
- Increased risk of ovarian cysts
- While the progesterone IUD can decrease menstrual flow, it can also lead to irregular spotting or bleeding.
ABOUT NORTH ATLANTA OB/GYN
At North Atlanta OB/GYN, we strive to give every patient the utmost care and comfort. Our doctors and nurse practitioners are committed to our patients and the surrounding community. As one of the best obstetrics and gynecology practices, we provide the most current and reliable care by creating trusted and safe environments for women. Visit our North Atlanta OB/GYN clinic today — learn more about us here.