Is an IUD the Right Choice For You?

IUDs are one of the most effective forms of birth control and emergency contraception, making it a great choice for some. How do you know if it’s the right choice for you? Below is a guide to IUDs.



What is an IUD?

IUD stands for intrauterine device.


It a small T-shaped piece of plastic that is inserted in the uterus.


There are two types of IUDs:

o The copper IUD

o The hormonal IUD


Copper VS. Hormonal IUDs

How does it prevent pregnancy?

Copper

Hormonal

Sperm are averse to copper which prevents their access to the egg.

The IUD thickens the mucus on the cervix to prevent sperm’s access to the egg.

The IUD can also prevent an egg from being released from the ovaries.


For more information on copper IUDs, click here


For more information on hormonal IUDs, click here


For more information on copper IUDs, click here


Does it release anything into the body?

Copper

Hormonal

Nothing is released from the copper IUD.


Progestin is released from the IUD for years which prevents pregnancy. Certain types of hormonal IUDs will release different amounts of progestin.


What are the benefits?

Copper

Hormonal

It is a good option for those who prefer non-hormonal birth control.

It can be used as emergency contraception up to five days after sex and is 99.99% effective.

It can help reduce period side effects such as decreasing the length of periods and reducing the pain associated with cramping.

It can help treat endometriosis and other issues. Please speak to a healthcare provider if this pertains to you.

Benefits to both:

-They are more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.

-They can last for years.

-They are fully reversible.

-They can be taken out at any time by a health care provider.

-They do not affect fertility.


For more information on the benefits of IUDs , click here


What are the downsides?

Copper

Hormonal

It can make periods heavier or cause cramping, especially during the first 3-6 months after insertion. If cramping persists for a year or occurs when you’re not on your period, consult a health care provider.

Some experience spotting or irregular periods, especially during the first 3-6 months.

For more information on the downsides of IUDs, click here



A diagram of the location of an IUD in the body after insertion.


What is the process of getting an IUD inserted?

Your healthcare provider will take your medical history. They may also take a pregnancy or STI test.


A speculum is placed in the vagina and the IUD is inserted through the cervix and into the uterus with an applicator. This process may take around 5-10 minutes.


The IUD insertion can be painful. What to expect:

o The pain will not last long.

o It may feel similar to period cramps.

o You may experience clamminess, cramping or spotting.


The IUD will have a string that stays in the vaginal canal. It is important to check the length of this string after the insertion of the IUD and regularly afterward. It is recommended to check after every period.


For more information on the insertion process, click here.



What are the risks?

IUDs do not prevent you from contracting sexually transmitted infections.


They should not be used with a menstrual cup. Please consult your health care provider if you would like to use a menstrual cup with an IUD.


IUDs can dislodge.

o This is an extremely rare risk.

o It is important to check the length of the string after every period to ensure it has not moved. Please consult a health care provider if the length of the strings has changed.


If dislodged, pregnancy can occur. There is an increased chance of ectopic pregnancy with an IUD.


For more information on the risks of IUDs, click here



About the Author


Jayden (She/Her)

Hello! This is my second year with the Healthy U team and I have loved gaining knowledge about a variety of health topics and working alongside the many talented members. I am currently in the Faculty of Science and working towards majoring in Biology.


I enjoy getting to know new people and spending time with my family. My hobbies include running, camping and skiing.