Basics about the IUD
- An Intrauterine Device (IUD) is a small object that is inserted by a health care professional through the cervix and placed in the uterus (womb) to prevent pregnancy.
- An IUD affects the movements of eggs and sperm to prevent fertilization. They also change the lining of the uterus and prevent implantation.
- A small string hangs down from the IUD into the upper part of the vagina. The IUD is not noticeable during intercourse.
- There are three IUDs available in the United States:
- Para-Gard has no hormones and is good for up to 10 years
- Mirena has a hormone (levonorgestrel) and is good for up to 5 years
- Pregestasert also has a hormone (progesterone) and is good for up to 1 year
Couples might LIKE the IUD because:
- Immediate return of fertility after removal
- Easily inserted and removed
- Good for women who want long-term contraception and are not ready for tubal ligation.
- IUDs are safe, and more effective than female sterilization.
- Dysmenorrhea (cramps) generally improves with mirena IUD.
- Permits spontaneous sexual activity, since it requires no action at time of intercourse.
Couples might DISLIKE the IUD because:
- Offer no protection against STIs/STDs and HIV/AIDS.
- May be expelled (expulsion rate 2-10%).
- Some women are not at ease checking string.
- Most women experience some discomfort during insertion.
- Uterine cramps, similar to menstrual cramps, and dizziness may
occur during insertion.
How well does the IUD work?
Less than 1 or 2 out of 100 women using the IUD become pregnant.
How does the IUD compare with the effectiveness of other forms of birth control?
Women out of 100 that got pregnant using the methods below. IUD is based on 5-10 years of use.
How do you use an IUD?
Getting an IUD involves a clinic visit. It must be inserted by a medical care professional. After insertion the IUD is effective immediately. You have to check strings after each menses. If not found, check in different position. The IUD may have been expelled or moved up in the uterus. You must call for an appointment and use another form of birth control until you can see your doctor.
Possible side effects:
- Heavier menses for the first few months; lighter menses after 3-6 months of using IUD.
- Amenorrhea (lack of menstruation) occurs in about 20% of women at one year of use.
- Pain for a day or so after insertion or removal.
- Headaches, acne, breast pain during first few months.
- Ovarian cysts (enlarged ovarian follicles) have been diagnosed in about 12% of Mirena users.
- Higher chance of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) if you or your partner has sex with other partners.
Signs there might be a problem:
You should go to your nearest hospital emergency room if you experience any of the following signs and symptoms:
- Period late (pregnancy), abnormal spotting or bleeding.
- Abdominal pain, pain with intercourse.
- Infection exposure (any STI), abnormal discharge.
- Not feeling well, fever, chills.
- String missing, shorter or longer.