Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are plastic, T-shaped appliances inserted into the uterus. An effective, long-term form of birth control, an IUD can work for years without any upkeep on the part of the woman using it.
How IUDs work
There are two types of IUD, one containing copper, the other a hormone.
- Copper IUDs are 99 percent effective and can last for about 10 years. The copper inside the IUD blocks sperm from entering into the fallopian tubes. Even if sperm does manage to fertilize an egg, the copper keeps that egg from attaching to the uterine wall.
- Hormone IUDs are between 98 and 99 percent effective and can last for about 5 years. This type of IUD slowly releases the hormone levonorgestrel, which prevents ovulation.
Should I Use an IUD?
IUDs are a safe method of conception, but there are limitations and side-effects to consider.
- STDs: IUDs do not protect the body from sexually transmitted diseases.
- Menstrual changes: Heavier periods are a common side-effect of IUDs, though some women actually experience lighter bleeding. The IUD may also aggravate menstrual cramping and lower back pain.
- Slipping: In rare cases, an IUD can slip out of place. Doctors can simply implant the device again, but an IUD will not provide birth control if it has slipped out of place.
- Infections: Only 1 in every 1,000 women experience infections due to an IUD, but some of these infections may cause lasting damage to the reproductive system.
- Allergic reactions: Anyone allergic to copper should not use copper IUDs.
Do you think an IUD might be right for you? See if you qualify for Segal Institute’s clinical research trial on IUDs today!