Reproductive Health, Women's Health , , ,

Is an IUD right for me?

IUD

I avoided getting an IUD for years because my provider had never told me it was an option for younger women and because of all the negative rumors I had heard about them. When I finally decided to get one after doing research, and talking to my provider, my friends and family had lots of questions for me, mostly because there are so many myths and misconceptions surrounding them.

Many of the negative facts about the IUD that you may hear are talking about the Dalkon Shield that was on the market in the 1970’s and not the Mirena and Paragard IUDs that are available today. Also, the people I talked to thought that I wasn’t eligible to get an IUD since I haven’t had children yet, but that is definitely not true! Many of the concerns about IUDs for young women are tied to the fact that IUDs don’t protect against STIs and that infection can occur if you have an activgetting e and untreated STI when the IUD is inserted. Your provider will give you an STI test before insertion to be sure that you don’t have an STI and will recommend using condoms to protect against future infection.

IUDs can last up to 6 years for the hormonal options and up to 12 years for the non-hormonal IUD, but there is no minimum requirement for how long that you need to keep using it. All you need to do when you don’t want your IUD anymore is call your doctor and make an appointment to have it removed. While using IUDs only 0.05-0.8% of women experience unintended pregnancies compared to 9% of women who use the pill and 18% of women who rely on condoms. The best part is that after IUD insertion, users don’t have to remember to do anything to prevent pregnancy. I know that I definitely don’t miss remembering to take my pill every day.

IUDs aren’t for everyone, but are an option that should be considered if you are looking to start using a contraceptive method or want to change methods. Check out this step-by-step guide from Bedsider for more information.

  • jenfitter

    While I would enjoy the convenience of this method, as well as the extremely low risk of unintended pregnancy, I can’t help but still be a bit nervous by IUDs. Granted, I don’t know that much about them, but I do have friends that are pleased with them, although I have heard they are expensive. Another complaint I’ve read is that they can be quite painful at the time of insertion and in the days/weeks following, which frightens me a bit, as well as the possibility of perforation or expulsion (particularly since the risk is higher among women who have never had children). As someone who plans on having children in the future, the rumors of not being able to become pregnant after removing an IUD scare me as well. Perhaps it’s simply because this is a relatively new form of contraception, and in time this method will become just as commonplace as the condom or the pill.

  • dpuglia373

    LARCs (especially IUDs) are quickly gaining popularity among providers and public health practitioners who are informed and up-to-date on current information and research about contraception options, but there's still so much work to do to reverse the negative reputation and misconceptions about IUDs that are still floating around from Dalkon Shield era. Of course there are risks associated with the IUD, but that's true of any contraceptive method and I think that IUDs get an unfair amount of negative press.

  • ariagray

    Thanks for your comments Jenny & Deanna! I was lucky to have a doctor who had the same IUD that I now have. She described the procedure very thoroughly and answered all of my questions thoughtfully and accurately. She also gave me some published literature on the common risks and side effects that are often mentioned in the media and by many women. I also waited to get my IUD until I knew it would be covered under ACA and worked with my doctors office and insurance to be completely aware of potential costs. Though I was pleasantly surprised that my only cost associated with my IUD was for the lab they sent my STI test to. I think it's important to have an open dialogue about IUDs in the United States. They are definitely not for everybody, but should discussed more openly as a viable and effective option more openly. Many women who have health conditions that prevent them from taking oral contraceptives can have IUDs, which is another bonus. I could talk about IUDs all day so thank you for your comments, they've inspired me to write a follow-up post later on in the semester.