As a woman, you have dozens of options when it comes to contraception. But choosing between methods like the pill, injections, diaphragms, and implants can be confusing.
For many, intrauterine devices (IUDs) are quite popular for their safety, efficacy, and ease of use. An IUD is 99% effective in preventing unwanted pregnancies.
Here at Women’s Care of Beverly Hills in South Bay, Redondo Beach, and Beverly Hills, California, our expert OB/GYN team offers both copper and hormonal IUDs. If you’re considering getting an IUD, here are three important questions to help you decide if it’s the right form of birth control for you.
IUDs are small, T-shaped devices that your provider places inside your uterus to prevent pregnancy. IUDs can prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years.
There are two main types:
Hormonal IUDs release a synthetic version of a hormone called progestin. This hormone thickens cervical mucus, inhibits sperm movement, and thins the uterine lining. All of these keep an egg and sperm from meeting and creating a baby. You’re protected for 3-6 years, depending on the brand.
Non-hormonal IUDS include copper, which creates an environment toxic to sperm, preventing fertilization. Copper IUDs work for 10 years.
You can have an IUD removed at any time and resume your natural cycle if you decide you’re ready to start a family.
Common side effects include irregular bleeding or spotting for several months, cramping, and changes in menstrual patterns. Hormonal IUDs can also cause PMS-like symptoms, including headaches, mood changes, acne, and breast tenderness. On the flip side, hormonal IUDs can sometimes lead to lighter and shorter periods over time.
IUD insertion and removal can both be done in our offices at Women’s Care of Beverly Hills. Your provider may offer local anesthesia or pain medication to minimize the discomfort.
You rest on an exam table with your feet in stirrups during insertion. Your provider puts the IUD in through the vagina, passes the cervix, and into the uterus.
The whole process only takes a few minutes but can cause some cramping that resolves quickly. You may want to take it easy the rest of the day and use a heating pad or over-the-counter medications to help with the immediate discomfort of placement. Removal is quick and causes minimal discomfort.
If you’re not ready for a family for a few years, an IUD is a good option. Once it’s placed, you are protected from pregnancy. It requires no daily care or management.
Remember, however, that it won’t keep you safe from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). If you have multiple partners or your partner does, it’s smart to use a condom along with the IUD to be protected from STDs and pregnancy.
An IUD is also not suitable if you have pelvic inflammatory disorder or an active STD infection. Women who are pregnant or who may be pregnant are also ineligible for an IUD. If you have abnormal bleeding, talk to our providers about whether an IUD is the right choice.
Whether you decide on an IUD or another form of contraception, the team here at Women’s Care of Beverly Hills is ready to help. Call today or use the online tool to book an appointment for contraception counseling or IUD placement.