Intra-Uterine Devices - IUD

Intra-Uterine Devices - Effective, Long-lasting and Reversible Contraception

IUD birth control devices are one of the most widely used form of birth control in the U.S. IUDs are t-shaped plastic devices that are inserted into the uterus by an OBGYN. IUDs are low maintenance and don't require you to take a pill every day. The origins of IUD birth control can be traced back to the early 1900s, and improvements over the last century have made IUDs much safer and much more effective. IUDs are a suitable form of birth control for most women, but are usually more widely used for women that have already had a child in life.

Types of IUDs

There are two types of IUD, non-hormonal and hormonal:

With a non-hormonal IUD, the plastic T-shape is wrapped in malleable copper wire. The copper works as a natural spermicide, by affecting the sperm’s ability to move, increasing white blood cells and altering cervical mucus. Because copper IUDs are non-hormonal, they can be used in breastfeeding women without worry of passing hormones through breast milk. They can also be used as a form of emergency contraception because of their ability to kill off sperm that is present in the uterus. Silver IUDs are also available but not nearly as common. Non-hormonal IUDs are the longest lasting and will work for up to 10 years.

Hormonal IUDs are not wrapped in any sort of element. The plastic IUD contains a small amount of levonorgestrel, a form of progestin. This hormone works by thickening the cervical mucus, which makes it impossible for sperm to pass into the uterus. Hormonal IUDs also thin the endometrial lining, so they are often used to treat women who have heavy menstrual bleeding. Oftentimes, women using hormonal IUDs will find that their menstruation is much lighter and les symptomatic. Hormonal IUDs are useable between 3-5 years, depending on the brand and the individual physiology of the patient. Afterwards, they will need to be removed and replaced.

Who Should Use IUDs

IUDs are suitable for most women. They are a low-maintenance, reversible form of contraception that have very low failure rates. However, some women may be better candidates than others:

  • You are not at high-risk for STDs.
  • You do not want to use other forms of birth control or hormonal contraception.
  • You are breast-feeding.
  • You have been pregnant before. (IUDs can be used in women that have not been pregnant before, but the risk of pain and cramping after insertion is higher).
  • You want a long-lasting birth control that is effective, without having to take a pill.
  • You have heavy menstrual periods or endometriosis (IUDs reduce bleeding by an average of 90% and may stop bleeding all together).

If you would like to know if an IUD is right for you, contact Women’s Medical Associates of Nashville today.