The Guttmacher Institute, a leader in reproductive statistics, notes that the percentage of women who use long-acting, reversible birth control methods like intrauterine devices (IUDs) has risen in the past decade and is expected to continue to rise. Below are 7 crucial facts that women should know about IUDs to make an informed decision.
What Are the Advantages of IUDs?
Advantages of IUDs include the following:
• The device can prevent pregnancy for between 3-12 years, depending the kind of device.
• It is one of the most effective forms of birth control (over 99% effective).
• The IUD is reversible and a woman can get pregnant right after it is removed.
• It is convenient and there is no need to take a pill every day to prevent contraception.
What Are the Disadvantages of IUDs?
There are also a few disadvantages with this device, including the following:
• The cost can be substantial if a woman is paying out of pocket.
• It is necessary for a doctor or other medical professional to insert and remove the device.
• This device is not for women who have a copper allergy (if using Paragard) or for women who have cancer of the cervix or uterus or unexplained vaginal bleeding in between periods. IUDs can cause heavy menstrual bleeding or bleeding in between periods.
• IUDs offer no protection from sexually transmitted diseases.
• There’s a small 1/1000 risk of uterine perforation, which will require surgical repair
• If the string rides up into the uterus, the IUD must be surgically removed
Can IUDs Be Used for Emergency Contraception?
If an IUD is inserted within 5 days of unprotected sex, it is 99% effective for preventing pregnancy.
In short, if a woman is looking for an effective, convenient form of birth control that offers a high degree of protection in the long term, an intrauterine device is a good option to help prevent unwanted pregnancies and give women a higher degree of reproductive freedom.
Brian Wu is a current PhD graduate and MD candidate who enjoys writing about health, science, and the ways it can "hack" your life. He is currently working on the Health Stories For Kids-- Medical Ebooks that Educate and Entertain. Check out more at www.healthstoriesforkids.com.
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