When it comes to contraception and family planning, there are many options you can discuss with your provider. One that may have come up is an IUD treatment (or intrauterine device). There are a lot of benefits to using an IUD, and we’ll talk about five specific ones below.
What is An IUD?
So, what is an IUD? An IUD, also sometimes called IUC (or intrauterine contraception,) is a tiny device inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. It’s usually a small piece of flexible plastic shaped like a T, although there are variations in the design. IUDs use either copper or hormone treatment to prevent pregnancy. An IUD is a long-term treatment, totally reversible, and one of the most effective birth control methods available.
Copper and hormonal IUDs prevent pregnancy by changing the way sperm cells move. This keeps the sperm from reaching the egg, preventing fertilization and pregnancy entirely. Copper IUDs like the Paragard IUD use sperm cells’ natural aversion to copper to keep sperm and egg from meeting.
A hormonal IUD does two things to prevent pregnancy. First, it thickens the mucus on the cervix, blocking and trapping more sperm. Second, it sometimes stops ovulation from happening, meaning there won’t be an egg present for fertilization.
After IUD insertion, the effects can last for years, but they aren’t permanent. If you decide to get pregnant in the future, an IUD can be easily removed by a doctor or nurse. You can get pregnant right away after removal.
5 Reasons to Consider IUD Birth Control
An IUD makes a great choice for birth control. IUD birth control is effective, convenient, versatile, and reversible.
1. Effectiveness of IUDs
IUDs are effective long-term protection against pregnancy, showing more than 99% effectiveness. This makes them one of the most successful methods of birth control, comparable to the birth control implant or to sterilization. There is little possibility for error when using an IUD. Unlike the pill or ring, you won’t forget about using it. And unlike condoms, there’s no way to use an IUD incorrectly.
2. IUD Convenience
IUDs are also very convenient. After IUD insertion, you rarely, if ever, need to think about it again. It will work until it expires or is removed. There are no trips to the pharmacy and no additional steps to prevent pregnancy. Depending on the kind of IUD, protection can extend for 3 to 12 years.
3. Reversibility of IUDs
Not only do IUDs provide consistent effects, but they’re also reversible. If you do decide to get pregnant later, the IUD can be removed at any time. Using an IUD won’t affect fertility or make it difficult to get pregnant in the future. It’s possible to get pregnant as soon as the IUD is removed.
4. IUD Option for Hormones (or not)
As mentioned earlier, some IUDs use hormones to prevent pregnancy. That’s not the only benefit an IUD can offer. Hormonal IUDs like Mirena, Kyleena, Liletta, and Skyla can cut down on cramps and make for lighter periods. Some people even stop getting periods entirely. Hormonal IUDs can also help treat severe cramps, extremely heavy periods, and anemia.
Sometimes patients respond poorly to hormones and want a non-hormonal option. There is an alternative option available with copper IUDs. Copper IUDs like Paragard are also available and are just as effective at preventing pregnancy as hormonal IUDs.
5. Potential for IUDs as Emergency Contraception
While best used preventatively, IUDs are among the most effective forms of emergency contraception available. If an IUD is implanted within 120 hours (5 days) of unprotected sex, it’s more than 99% effective against pregnancy. Even better, after IUD insertion, pregnancy is still prevented as long as it’s implanted. This can last up to 8-12 years depending on the kind you choose.
Find the Right Birth Control For You with Help From the BASS Medical Group
Choosing the right birth control option is an important decision to make. If you have questions or want help weighing your options, consider talking to one of the board-certified experts from BASS Medical Group. They have a depth of knowledge in primary care treatment options to help make your decision an easier one.