When it comes to choosing the right type of birth control, women have many options. While the birth control pill is one of the most popular, it isn't right for everyone and it isn't the only choice available. Another type of birth control that Sharon Diamond, MD, FACOG, MSW offers in her office on the Upper East Side of New York City, is the intrauterine device, known as the IUD.
What is an IUD?
An IUD is a small, plastic device that is inserted into your uterus to help prevent pregnancy. There are two types of IUDs available in the United States today: the copper variety, and hormonal variety, which contains a progestin. Speak to your gynecologist to find out which type is right for you.
How Do IUDs Work?
Hormonal IUDS thicken the cervical mucus. Both hormonal and copper IUDs protect the egg from being reached by sperm, thus stopping fertilization. Hormonal IUDs may also at least partially prevent ovulation, and both make it difficult for an egg to implant in the uterus. The copper IUD may also be an effective “morning after” contraceptive if inserted within two days of unprotected intercourse.
Are IUDs Effective?
With a success rate of over 99 percent, IUDs are extremely effective.
Are IUDs Safe?
Today's IUDs are considered very safe. They may come with minor side effects (nearly all birth control options do). Any serious side effects are considered extremely rare. IUDs can be used for as long as five to ten years, depending on the type.
What are Common Side Effects of IUDs?
Cramping is fairly common with IUDs, as are irregular periods and ceasing to have a period altogether. The cramping should go away within the first few days, though it may take a few months to stop altogether. It is generally mild though, and can be treated with an over-the-counter pain medication. You may also spot between periods over the course of the first six months. The hormone containing IUDs also have the advantages of decreasing menstrual cramps and the duration and amount of menstrual flow so this may be an especially good choice for women who have painful periods.
If you need a safe and effective way to prevent pregnancy, an IUD may be right for you. Schedule an appointment with Upper East Side, NY gynecologist, Dr. Sharon Diamond, to discuss your treatment options.