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Turn Over a New Leaf With an IUD

Is your current birth control not working out as well as you like?

In the spirit of the Autumn season, why not consider something different - like an IUD?

 

The Basics About IUDs

An IUD is a tiny device that’s inserted in your uterus to prevent pregnancy. It’s long-term, reversible, and one of the most effective birth control methods out there. Keep reading to learn more!

Both copper IUDs and hormonal IUDs prevent pregnancy by changing the way sperm cells move so they can't get to an egg. If sperm can’t make it to an egg, pregnancy can’t happen.

The different types of IUDs

Hormonal IUD

The Mirena, Skyla and Liletta IUDs use the hormone progestin to prevent pregnancy. Progestin is very similar to the hormone progesterone that our bodies make naturally. They last 3 to 6 years.

Copper IUD

The ParaGard IUD doesn’t have hormones. It’s wrapped in a tiny bit of copper, and it protects you from pregnancy for up to 12 years.

Implant

Not an IUD but another long term option. The Nexplanon implant is a tiny, thin rod about the size of a matchstick. A doctor inserts the implant under the skin of your upper arm. It last up to 4 years.

How effective are IUDs when used as birth control?

IUDs are one of the best birth control methods out there — more than 99% effective. That means fewer than 1 out of 100 women who use an IUD will get pregnant each year.

IUDs are so effective because there's no chance of making a mistake. You can’t forget to take it (like the pill), or use it incorrectly (like condoms). And you're protected from pregnancy 24/7 for 3 to 12 years, depending on which kind you get. Once your IUD is in place, you can pretty much forget about it until it expires.

The ParaGard (copper) IUD is the most effective method of emergency contraception available. If you get it within 120 hours (5 days) after having unprotected sex, it’s more than 99.9% effective at preventing pregnancy.

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How much does an IUD cost?

There's a good chance you can get an IUD for free (or for a reduced price) if you have health insurance. Because of the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), most insurance plans must cover all methods of birth control, including IUDs.

Getting an IUD costs anywhere between $0 to $1,000. That’s a pretty wide range, but the good news is that IUDs can be free or low cost with many health insurance plans, Medicaid, and some other government programs.

Prices can also vary depending on which kind you get. The price of an IUD includes medical exams, the insertion, and follow-up visits.

Even if an IUD costs more than other methods up front, they usually end up saving you money in the long run because they last for years.

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What are the benefits of IUDs?

IUDs are VERY effective.

IUDs give you great, long-term protection against pregnancy — they’re more than 99% effective. They work as well as sterilization and the birth control implant.

IUDs are REALLY convenient.

Once your IUD is in, you barely have to think about it — it works until it expires or you have it taken out. That means no trips to the pharmacy, no pill to take or ring to put in, and nothing you have to do before sex to prevent pregnancy. Plus you’re protected against pregnancy for 3 to 12 years, depending on what kind you get.

You can get pregnant after taking out an IUD.

IUDs are reversible. If you decide you want to get pregnant, you can get it removed at any time. IUDs won’t affect your fertility or make it harder to get pregnant in the future. In fact, it’s possible to get pregnant as soon as your IUD is out.

IUDs can make your periods better.

Hormonal IUDs (Mirena, Kyleena, Liletta, and Skyla) can cut down on cramps and make your period way lighter. Some people totally stop getting periods at all. Hormonal IUDs can help treat people who suffer from severe cramps, really heavy periods, and anemia.

The copper IUD doesn’t have hormones.

Some people prefer non-hormonal birth control, or can’t use methods with hormones because of medical problems. Luckily, the ParaGard (copper) IUD is super effective at preventing pregnancy AND totally hormone free.

What are the disadvantages of IUDs?

IUD side effects.

Some people have side effects after getting an IUD. They usually go away in about 3–6 months, once your body gets used to the visitor in your uterus. So if you can stick it out for a few months, there’s a good chance the side effects will ease up.

Side effects can include:

  • mild to moderate pain when the IUD is put in

  • cramping or backaches for a few days after insertion

  • spotting between periods

  • irregular periods

  • heavier periods and worse menstrual cramps (ParaGard)

Pain medicine can usually help with cramping. If the bleeding or cramping gets pretty bad and doesn’t seem to get better, tell your nurse or doctor what's going on.

IUDs don’t protect against STDs.

While IUDs are one of the best ways to prevent pregnancy, they don't protect you from sexually transmitted infections. Luckily, using condoms every time you have sex reduces the chance of getting or spreading STDs. So the thing to do is to use condoms with your IUD.