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  • Writer's pictureDr. Lori Davidson

IUD Pros and Cons: Is it Right for You?

Updated: Jul 26, 2020

Intrauterine devices (IUD) are an effective, reversible, hormone-free form of birth control. Still, like any form of birth control, it isn’t right for every woman. Whether an IUD is perfect for you or another type of birth control is a better fit depends on various factors, including your medical history, anatomy, and lifestyle. We’ve put together a guide to help you get an idea of the benefits and drawbacks of IUDs. After reviewing the information, discuss it with a gynecologist.

Hormonal IUD

IUDs fall into two categories: hormonal and hormone-free. Hormonal IUDs supply various levels of progestin, a synthetic form of the reproductive hormone progesterone. This hormone thickens cervical mucus and thins the uterine lining. It also reduces ovulation. Together these effects are effective at preventing unwanted pregnancy.

Non-hormonal IUD

So far, you have one non-hormonal IUD to choose from. It releases copper into the uterus and the result creates a barrier that prevents sperm from fertilizing an egg.

Reasons an IUD may be right for you

We’ve gathered some information for you to think about when considering whether an IUD is right for you.

Immediately reversible

With some forms of birth control, fertility takes a while to return after you discontinue it. Depending on the type of birth control, it may take several months or even a year for fertility to return once reversed.

IUDs are immediately reversible. Once the doctor removes your IUD, fertility returns right away, and you can start trying to become pregnant.

Highly effective

IUDs are one of the most effective forms of birth control available today. Even with perfect use and consistency, birth control pills fail up to 9% of the time. IUDs fail just 0.2% of the time, providing the best protection against unwanted pregnancy.

Long-term protection

IUDs offer protection against unwanted pregnancy for 3 to 10 years, depending on the type you choose. This makes IUDs an ideal option for women wanting long-term birth control. When you no longer need protection, removing your IUD requires a quick and simple visit to your doctor.

No need to think about birth control

IUDs are a “set it and forget it” form of birth control. Once your provider puts your IUD in place, you’re protected against unwanted pregnancy. There’s no need to do anything else until it’s time to remove it. This makes it an excellent option for women wanting a birth control that requires no maintenance.

Lightens periods

The mechanism of hormonal IUDs causes the menstrual flow to lighten, making it a good option for women with heavy periods. Some women have heavy periods with no obvious cause, while others have conditions like endometriosis or uterine fibroids. Whether you have heavy periods or not, you may want to consider an IUD if you’d like a lighter, fuss-free period.

Reasons other birth control options may be more appropriate

While IUDs offer many benefits, they’re not appropriate for every woman. Here are some reasons why an IUD may not be right for you.

You want to avoid hormones and have a copper sensitivity

Some women have copper sensitivity and want to avoid hormones. If you’re among this group of women, an IUD isn’t an appropriate option for you, and you’ll want to discuss other forms of birth control.

History of blood clots

Hormones may increase clotting factors in your blood. If you have a history of blood clots or are at risk for blood clots, you may want to consider a different form of birth control. Smoking increases your risk of blood clots.

High blood pressure

Tell the doctor if you have high blood pressure. Having hypertension increases your risk for heart disease and stroke. Hormonal birth control may increase this risk further. Whether or not an IUD is appropriate for you will depend on your medical history and if you have your blood pressure well-controlled.

Recently Dr. Davidson wrote five reasons why she likes Liletta for an IUD option. You can read it here. To learn about all IUD options as well getting help in choosing the form of birth control that’s right for you, call our Greenwood, Indiana, office and speak with one of our team members to learn more and schedule an appointment with Dr. Davidson.

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