Intrauterine Devices (IUD) in Lowell, MA
What is an IUD?
If you are looking for long-term birth control, an intrauterine device (IUD) might be the contraception for you. An intrauterine device is a small plastic T-shaped device inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy for three to ten years, depending on the type of IUD. An IUD is a bit bigger than a quarter and fits inside your uterus.
There are two types of IUDs, copper and hormonal depending on your preference.
The copper triggers your immune system to prevent pregnancy and lasts the longest of IUDs without hormones. For hormonal IUDs, the device releases the same type of hormone found in many birth control pills to prevent pregnancy. It does this by thickening the mucus in the cervix to stop sperm and thins the lining of the uterus to prevent fertilization of an egg.
How Effective are IUDs?
An IUD is a highly effective form of birth control, but does not prevent sexually transmitted infections.
Both copper and hormonal IUDs are more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.
How Is an IUD Inserted and Removed?
An IUD is inserted by your doctor in the office and will only take a few minutes. During the procedure, you may experience side effects like discomfort, cramping, or dizziness.
It is most often performed by Dr. Joshi. Dr. Joshi may recommend an over-the-counter painkiller before the procedure, or use a local anesthetic during the procedure to ease pain. The T-shaped IUD is left in the uterus, leaving two small strings outside the cervix for removal.
A follow-up appointment may be scheduled after the procedure to be sure the IUD is still in place. Your doctor will show you how to check that the IUD is still in the correct position and tell you how often you should check the placement.
Your IUD will be removed when it has reached its expiration date, if you are experiencing a medical problem, or if you plan to become pregnant. It can be removed during a short procedure at our office. Your gynecologist will gently pull on the IUDs strings to pull the IUD through the cervix and out of the vagina.
What Are the Types of IUDs?
Your doctor can talk with you to help determine the right IUD for you. This decision can be based on your age, lifestyle, menstruation, desire to get pregnant in the future, and other factors.
The two main types of IUDs are copper and hormonal.
A copper IUD prevents fertilization by making the uterus and fallopian tubes produce fluid containing copper that is toxic to sperm.
A copper IUD is the most effective form of emergency contraception (EC) meaning it can prevent pregnancy if inserted within five days after unprotected sex.
Paragard is the only copper IUD, and it can prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years. It works by interfering with sperm movement, egg fertilization, and may prevent implantation. Paragard is hormone free and can be used whether or not you have had a child.
A hormonal IUD prevents fertilization by making the mucus in the cervix thick and sticky so sperm can’t get through to the uterus, as well as keeping the lining of the uterus too thin for a fertilized egg to implant.
Mirena is a hormonal IUD that prevents pregnancy for up to five years and can also treat heavy periods. It inhibits sperm from reaching and fertilizing an egg, thins the uterine lining, and thickens cervical mucus to prevent sperm from entering the uterus. Mirena is recommended for women who have had at least one child.
Skyla is a hormonal IUD made by the same company as Mirena, but this IUD is smaller. It may be less likely to be expelled in women who have never had a baby because of its smaller size. Skyla can be used for up to three years to prevent pregnancy.
Kyleena is a hormonal IUD that can prevent pregnancy for up to five years. Kyleena releases the lowest dose of hormones for the longest amount of time, compared to other IUDs. It can be used by women whether they have given birth or not.
Liletta is a hormonal IUD that is effective in preventing pregnancy for up to three years and women can use it regardless of if they have given birth.
What are the Benefits of an IUD?
- Effectiveness – IUDs are among the most effective birth control methods available.
- Longevity – Your IUD can last for 3 to 12 years, depending on the type.
- Convenience – No pre-sex prep or reminders necessary.
- Cost-effective – IUDs can be a bit costly upfront, but there are no costs beyond that for several years.
- Reversible – If you want to get pregnant, have it removed, and you can start trying right away. It can also be inserted immediately after giving birth.
- Easier periods – Many people experience lighter periods and an improvement in cramps.
- Works with medications or lifestyles – You don’t need to modify your lifestyle for an IUD. They are safe to use if you are breastfeeding or taking medication.
What Are the Risks of an IUD?
If you are worried about getting an IUD, talk to your doctor. With any medical device there are benefits and risks. We can help ease your concerns and find a solution that is right for you.
Some potential setbacks of an IUD may include:
- Spotting or frequent bleeding at first
- Potential infection
- IUD moving to the wrong place or coming out
- Possible cramping or discomfort at first
Most of these side effects are uncommon. Some times your body just needs to get used to the device at first and then the following years you shouldn’t have issues. Millions of women choose an IUD for their long-term birth control.