IUD Pros and Cons
They're back. IUDs, which in the past got a bad rap due to safety concerns, are getting trendy. In fact, many doctors are calling them the most effective form of reversible birth control and a good option for certain women.
"They are more in vogue now than in the past," says Krystene DiPaola, MD, reproductive endocrinologist and infertility specialist with the UC Center for Reproductive Health at the University of Cincinnati in Ohio. "IUDs offers a reliable form of protection against pregnancy."
The tiny plastic, T-shaped devices release copper or a hormone into the uterus, where they are inserted and left in place. One type of IUD, which has a small amount of copper in the main shaft, lasts for up to 10 years, DiPaola explains. The other type releases progesterone and can be left in place for a five-year period, she explains.
"IUDs are a wonderful long-standing option for protection against pregnancy," DiPaola says. "And with the IUD, you can also avoid the issue of a tubal ligation since the IUD provides you with protection for a long period of time." Whenever you want, you simply have it removed.
Should You Get an IUD?
"The best candidates are women who have previously had children and want a long-standing form of contraception," DiPaola says. Women who don't want to remember to take a daily birth control pill also may benefit from having the IUD as a form of birth control, she says.
IUDs are inserted into a woman's uterus in the doctor's office while she is awake. It's generally placed at the beginning of the menstrual cycle. "It must go through the cervix into the uterus," DiPaola says. "Then a string is cut, and the string stays in the vagina."
While some women are concerned that their partner may feel this string during intercourse, DiPaola says, "In the hundreds of IUDs that I have placed, I have never heard that as a complaint. It's a misconception, kind of an urban legend."
IUDs will not prevent sexually transmitted diseases and they are not 100 percent effective. (It's important to note that neither is any birth control method except abstinence.)
In some cases, the IUDs can cause pelvic infections, pelvic pain, and higher than average bleeding.
"Since the IUD sits in the lining of the uterus, if you were to get a pelvic infection it could get much larger," DiPaola says.
But IUD use is becoming more widespread."I would say that the IUD has gotten much more popular in the last 10 years," DiPaola says."The highest proportion of women who use it are female physicians. You don't have to think about it. You can just place it and forget about it for 5 to 10 years."
Cevallas, Marissa. "IUDs and contraceptive implants recommended for women." 22 June 2011. LA Times.
"Long Acting Reversible Contraception: Implants and Intrauterine Devices." July 2011. Obstetrics & Gynecology.
Sign Up for Free Newsletters
Ask Your Doctor the RIGHT Questions!
the most from your doctor visit.
Emailed right to you!
The Ask Your Doctor email series
may contain sponsored content.
18+, US residents only please.
Explore Original Articles About...
Get the MOST from QualityHealth
- Top Searches
- 1. Arthritis Management: Nature Heals
- 2. 5 Digestive To-Dos
- 3. Men: Should You Shave It or Leave It?
- 4. Today's Top Fitness Trends
- 5. Sugar and Osteoarthritis : The Link
- 6. Can't Afford Your Hospital Bills?
- 7. Stay Energized All Day Long
- 8. Phobias: Who Has Them and Why?
- 9. What If Your EpiPen Fails?
- 10. 5 Costly Medical Billing Mistakes
- 1. Hotter Temperatures Linked To Kidney Stones
- 2. Summer Bug Bites: What to Look For
- 3. Skin Health Advice with Dr. Kenneth Beer
- 4. Summer Safety Tips That Every Parent Needs To Know
- 5. Sugar and Your Immunity System
- 6. Do Weight Loss Supplements Work?
- 7. 5 Super Foods for Spring
- 8. The Hazards of Reusable Bags
- 9. How to Avoid Ingrown Hairs
- 10. Health Tip: Constantly Change Shoes
- 1. 4 Common Treatments for Epilepsy
- 2. What Does a Urogynecologist Do?
- 3. GERD Without Heartburn? It's Possible
- 4. Graston Technique: Can It Work on You?
- 5. Music Therapy Can Help Autism
- 6. 8 Ways to Fight MS-Related Fatigue
- 7. Can You Still Bleed After Menopause?
- 8. Be Your Own Health Care Advocate
- 9. Why Is Syphillis on the Rise?
- 10. Ideal Weight vs. Happy Weight
The material on the QualityHealth Web site is for informational purposes only, and is not a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by a physician or other qualified health provider. See additional information.