Intrauterine Devices (IUD)
An intrauterine device (IUD) is a form of long-term birth control for women. A small plastic T-shaped device is inserted into the uterus and can prevent pregnancy for 3 to 10 years depending on the type of IUD. An IUD is a highly effective form of birth control, but does not prevent sexually transmitted infections.
Insertion and Removal of an IUD
An IUD is inserted by your OBGYN in the office and will only take a few minutes. During the procedure, you may experience side effects like discomfort, cramping, or dizziness. Your OBGYN may recommend an over-the-counter painkiller before the procedure, or use a local anesthetic during the procedure to ease pain. The T-shaped IUD is left in the uterus, leaving 2 small strings outside the cervix for removal.
A follow up appointment may be scheduled after the procedure to be sure the IUD is still in place. Your OBYGN will show you how to check that the IUD is still in the correct position and tell you how often you should check the placement.
Your IUD will be removed when it has reached its expiration date, if you are experiencing a medical problem, or if you plan to become pregnant. It can be removed during a short procedure at your OBGYN’s office. Your gynecologist will gently pull on the IUDs strings to pull the IUD through the cervix and out of the vagina.
A copper IUD prevents fertilization by making the uterus and fallopian tubes produce fluid containing copper that is toxic to sperm.
Paragard is the only copper IUD, and it can prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years. It works by interfering with sperm movement, egg fertilization, and may prevent implantation. Paragard is hormone free and can be used whether or not you have had a child.
A hormonal IUD prevents fertilization by making the mucus in the cervix thick and sticky so sperm can’t get through to the uterus, as well as keeping the lining of the uterus too thin for a fertilized egg to implant.
Mirena is a hormonal IUD that prevents pregnancy for up to 5 years and can also treat heavy periods. It inhibits sperm from reaching and fertilizing an egg, thins the uterine lining, and thickens cervical mucus to prevent sperm from entering the uterus. Mirena is recommended for women who have had at least 1 child.
Skyla is a hormonal IUD made by the same company as Mirena, but this IUD is smaller. It may be less likely to be expelled in women who have never had a baby because of its smaller size. Skyla can be used for up to 3 years to prevent pregnancy.
Kyleena is a hormonal IUD that can prevent pregnancy for up to 5 years. Kyleena releases the lowest dose of hormones for the longest amount of time, compared to other IUDs. It can be used by women whether they have given birth or not.
Liletta is a hormonal IUD that is effective in preventing pregnancy for up to 3 years and women can use it regardless of if they have given birth.