Womens Health

Is The IUD Right For You?

IUD's are a very popular form of birth control. They are considered to be 99.2-99.9% effective in preventing pregnancy, but they do not prevent sexually transmitted diseases. The IUD is a small object that is inserted by a doctor through the cervix and is then placed in the uterus. It has a small string that hangs down from the IUD so that it can be removed when necessary. This string is not noticeable for the partner during intercourse at all.

How to Get an IUD

If you are interested in getting an IUD, you'll need to visit a clinic or a doctor. You'll have to have a check up before you can get the IUD so that a doctor can ensure that your uterus is in good shape and that you don't have any infections. You'll need a medical, breast and pelvic exam with a pap smear, STI check and pregnancy test. Assuming that everything comes back normal, the IUD will be inserted and will be effective immediately.

The Process of Putting an IUD in Place

The IUD is generally inserted during your period when the cervix is slightly open and pregnancy is the least likely to occur. It only takes about 5-15 minutes to insert. Most women will feel cramping during and after the insertion, and you may want to take a painkiller before having the procedure done. You can always make sure that the IUD is in the right place by checking on the string that hangs down from it.

Checking on the IUD

It is recommended that you check the IUD after every period to make sure that it is in working order. If the string appears to be shorter than normal, it may indicate an imbedded IUD. If the strings are missing, it may mean that the IUD was expelled. You'll want a back-up method of birth control if you suspect this is the case, and will want to get to your doctor to get a new IUD inserted.

Types of IUDs

There are two main types of IUDs: ParaGard and Mirena. ParaGard is not to be used by people allergic to copper, as it has a small copper wire wrapped around its casing. Mirena was specially manufactured to help reduce the heavy bleeding and cramping that women tend to have with an IUD. With Mirena, most women actually have a lighter than usual period.

Health Problems with IUD

There are some women who can't use an IUD, or who will be recommended not to do so. These include women who have recently had a pelvic infection, who suspect they are pregnant, who have severe cervicitis or Salpingitis, who have malignant lesions in the genital area, who have HIV/AIDs, a history of ectopic pregnancies, and a history of toxic shock syndrome. They are also not recommended for women who have lower immune systems, heart disease, anemia, previous problems with IUDs and PID. Speak with your health professional to see if an IUD is the right choice for you.

Side Effects

Both ParaGard and Mirena can cause heavy, painful periods, although this is usually not the case with Mirena. If you do have heavy periods, it can cause anemia. Mirena can cause ovarian cysts. Mirena may also cause weight gain, headaches, increased blood pressure, acne, depression and decreased sex drive. Should you want to become pregnant at a later date, the IUD can easily be removed. While most women will be able to become pregnant when it is removed, it can have a negative effect on fertility.

IUD's are an effective form a birth control. They are easy to use, they last a long time, and they allow for spontaneous intimacy. At the same time, they do have some disadvantages. Speak with your health care professional and weight your options before deciding on this, or any other, form of birth control method.


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