How to Know if an IUD is the Right Birth Control Method for You

IUD, birth control, caring for women's Health, Dr. Lori Davidson

There are many effective forms of birth control. Intrauterine devices are among the most effective options, being more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. The form of birth control you choose is a decision you make after consulting with your healthcare provider and learning about the available options. In the meantime, we’ve outlined points you may want to consider and bring up with your healthcare provider to help decide whether an IUD is the right option for you.

What is an IUD?

An IUD is a small, T-shaped, plastic device inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. IUDs are available as hormonal and non-hormonal. They’re long-term and reversible. Both categories of IUDs prevent pregnancy by stopping sperm from getting to an egg. If sperm can’t get to an egg, pregnancy can’t occur.

Non-hormonal IUDs use copper to prevent sperm from reaching an egg. Copper is toxic to sperm, making it nearly impossible for sperm to get to an egg to fertilize it. Hormonal IUDs use two methods to prevent pregnancy. Certain types of hormonal IUDs prevent an egg from leaving your ovaries. Because there’s no egg, pregnancy can’t occur. Other types of hormonal IUDs cause changes to the cervix that blocks sperm from getting to an egg.

You want low-maintenance, long-term birth control

An IUD may be right for you if you have a busy lifestyle and prefer not to think about birth control daily. You must take traditional birth control pills every day for them to work. IUDs are a long-term form of birth control that lasts for years. Hormonal options can last between 3-6 years, while non-hormonal options can last up to 12 years.

You’re not planning to get pregnant in the next few years

Your grandmother may have married her high school or college sweetheart and started a family right away. Today, more women are waiting to have children, choosing to prioritize other things like higher education and career goals. For women who don’t plan to have children for several years, an IUD may be an appropriate option.

The long-term effectiveness of IUDs provides peace of mind. Once the IUD you choose is in place, you no longer have to worry about birth control for several years.

You want extremely effective birth control

IUDs are highly effective at preventing pregnancy. According to available research, IUDs fail less than 1% of the time. Hormonal IUDs fail 0.2% of the time, while the failure rate of non-hormonal IUDs is 0.8%. IUDs are nearly mistake proof. Once in place, you’re protected until the IUD is removed. Birth control pills, on the other hand, fail up to 9% of the time with typical use. This makes IUDs one of the most effective methods of preventing pregnancy available.  

You want an immediately reversible form of birth control

While IUDs provide protection for years, they’re also easily reversible. When you’re ready to conceive, you simply schedule an appointment with your provider, who will quickly and easily remove your IUD. Once the IUD is removed, your fertility returns right away, and you can start trying to have a baby.

With other forms of birth control, it can take several months for your fertility to return. It can take 10 months for ovulation to return after stopping the birth control shot, for example.

You have heavy, painful periods

Conditions like fibroids and endometriosis can cause heavier than normal, uncomfortable periods. The pain and excessive bleeding can significantly impact your life for several days each month. A hormonal IUD can make your periods lighter and easier to deal with. Because the hormones in IUDs reduce the thickness of the uterine lining, many women experience a lighter flow and reduced cramps. If you have heavy or crampy periods, you may want to consider an IUD.

 

Dr. Lori Davidson is dedicated to providing compassionate care to women throughout Johnson County, Indiana. Dr. Davidson can assist you in determining whether an IUD or another form of birth control is right for you. For all of your women’s care needs, call the Greenwood office to schedule an appointment. You can also book your request online using our convenient web form.

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