Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) and Contraceptives

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What is an IUD and is it right for me?

Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) and Contraceptives

Intrauterine devices, or IUDs, are one of the newer forms of birth control to hit the market. A doctor fits the small, T-shaped device in your cervix where it will remain for up to twelve years, depending on brand, to prevent pregnancy. Your doctor can remove an IUD at any time to allow you to begin conceiving a child, which usually happens within the first year after IUD removal.

The FDA has approved two brands for use in the United States: Mirena and Paragard. The first is plastic and copper and contains a small dose of hormones to further prevent pregnancy. Those same hormones often reduce menstrual symptoms in women. Mirena is up to 99% effective at preventing pregnancy for five years. Paragard is a copper-only IUD that offers the same effectiveness for up to ten years. It doesn't contain hormones that cause headaches, weight gain and other undesirable side effects for some women.

A doctor can insert an IUD after unprotected sex for use as emergency contraception. You can choose to continue using the IUD or your doctor can remove it. Insertion and removal resembles menstrual cramps for many women, but the IUD is an effective birth control choice. According to Paragard surveys, 9 out of 10 women remain happy with the birth control after six months of use.



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