IUDs have been around for several decades. They have improved greatly over the last 20 years and are the preferred method of contraception among female health care providers for themselves. There are two main IUDs used in the United States: 1). Paraguard (Copper-T IUD) that is good for 10 years and contains copper and no hormones and 2). Mirena (progesterone IUD) that is good for 5 years and contains progesterone.
How do they work?
They are thought to work as barriers and irritants to sperm (preventing the sperm getting to the egg) as well as creating an inflammed and thin uterine lining preventing implantation of the egg into the uterine lining.
How are they placed?
They are placed into the uterine cavity through the cervix in the office. There is some discomfort with this procedure but generally only ibuprofen is needed prior to insertion.
When are they placed?
At the end of a menses so that the cervix is open and placement is easier. This also assures that one is not pregnant at time of placement.
Who are good candidates for IUDs?
You might choose an IUD if you:
- Need highly effective contraception (98-99%)
- Need reversible contraception
- Have had one child (preferably)
- Those women unable to use hormonal contraception – such as can not take a pill daily or due to medical illness
Who should not use IUDs?
- Women that maybe pregnant
- Untreated pelvic infection
- Immune compromised or long-term illness (leukemia, AIDS, liver disorder)
- Irregular bleeding or cancer of the cervix or uterus
- Abnormal uterine shape
Other important factors about IUDs:
- Highly effective even in comparison to other contraceptive methods
- 96% satisfaction with IUDs
- Reversible within two months
- Tampon use can continue
- Effective immediately
- No interference with intercourse
- Does not affect ovulation, so cyclical changes may still occur
- Not a good choice for women who have more than one sexual partner
- These devices are $500-700 each and this does include insertion cost and thus will need to be approved by your insurance and can take four weeks to receive in office