The Many Benefits Of Iuds
- Theyre long-acting. Depending on the type, IUDs are FDA-approved to last anywhere from three to 10 years.
- Theyre more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy, a figure similar to permanent sterilization.
- You can have an IUD taken out any time and your fertility returns immediately.
- Hormonal IUD use often leads to lighter, shorter, less painful periods, which is why theyre prescribed for women who have heavy, painful periods. Up to half of women even stop having their periods altogether after three years on Mirena, though this percentage is lower with other hormonal IUDs, says Dr. Brant.
- Theres minimal effort required, an added bonus if youre forgetful about birth control. You just have to make that initial appointment to get it inserted.
- They can be used in any age population, from teens to menopausal women.
- Research shows that hormonal IUDs may reduce your risk of developing endometrial cancer.
- They can be inserted right after you give birth, though this does increase the risk of expulsion.
- The copper IUD can be safely used for emergency contraception up to five days after unprotected sex or birth control failure.
How Is An Iud Put In
The doctor or nurse practitioner puts the IUD in through the vagina, past the cervix, and into the uterus. This only takes a few minutes from start to finish. People usually feel some cramping during the placement, but it gets better within a few minutes.
Taking it easy for the rest of the day, using a heating pad, and taking over-the-counter pain medicine can help with any discomfort after the IUD is placed.
Which Works Better: The Pill Or Iud
Most clinicians agree that IUDs are more effective than oral contraceptives. IUDs are more than 99 percent effective, meaning fewer than one out of 100 women with an IUD will become pregnant each year. If it’s taken perfectly, the birth control pill is also 99 percent effective, but in reality that number drops to about 91 percent when you consider the fact that no one’s perfect and that because of human error, taking a pill at the exact same time every day is unrealistic.
Short answer: the IUD is better at preventing pregnancy than the pill.
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Will I Still Get My Period If I Have An Iud
Most women have some cramping and spotting with IUDs, but this goes away within three to six months. Hormonal IUDs can reduce period cramps and make them lighter. Some of my patients periods went away altogether. Copper IUDs can make periods heavier and cramps worse, but this usually goes away over time.
But There Are Potential Cons Too
- The insertion procedure can be mildly to moderately painful. I recommend that people take ibuprofen beforehand, says Dr. Brant. It doesnt actually help with the pain during the insertion, but it does help with the cramping afterward.
- With either type, during the first few months, you may experience irregular bleeding and/or cramping. You can continue to take 600 to 800 mg of ibuprofen every six to eight hours for this as well, Dr. Brant says. (NOTE: If the pain persists or gets worse and ibuprofen isnt cutting it, and/or youre soaking through a pad or more an hour, youll need to see your doctor right away.
- Irregular bleeding and/or cramping that hasnt gone away after three months may result in your doctor putting you on ibuprofen for one to three months to alleviate pain and decrease bleeding or temporarily prescribing birth control pills to help regulate your cycle.
- If you do get pregnant with an IUD , your risk of ectopic pregnancy is higher.
- Youll need to see your doctor for another procedure to get the IUD taken out.
- An IUD isnt recommended if you have an abnormally shaped uterus since placing it is more difficult and increases the risk of perforation.
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What Happens If I Get Pregnant While I Am Using The Hormonal Iud
It is important that you see a doctor or nurse as soon as possible and have the IUD removed. The doctor or nurse will also need to rule out a pregnancy in your fallopian tubes . If the IUD is removed, you can continue the pregnancy or have an abortion. If the IUD cannot be removed and you continue the pregnancy, there is a higher risk of losing the pregnancy.
What Happens If I Get Pregnant While Im Using An Iud
If you become pregnant while you are using an IUD, it is important that you see a doctor or nurse as soon as possible and have the IUD removed. The doctor or nurse will also need to rule out a pregnancy in your fallopian tubes .
If the IUD is removed, you can choose to continue or terminate the pregnancy . If the IUD is not removed and you continue with the pregnancy, there is a higher risk of losing the pregnancy or delivering the baby early.
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After Your Iud Is Put In You May Experience:
- Some temporary pinching or period-like cramping
- Can last for a few days
- Can be irregular for a few weeks, may last up to 3 to 6 months
What Are A Typical Womans Hormone Levels
When you say raging hormones, most people think about those awkward teenage yearcomplete with sprouting hair, inconveniently timed periods, and zits. This makes sense since its during the change from childhood to adulthood that womens ovaries start making the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone in large amounts.
For the average woman between ages 15 and 40 who isnt using hormonal birth control, heres what the sex hormones estradiol and progesterone do each day of a menstrual cycle.
Both hormones increase about 10-fold over a few days around the time an egg is released from the ovary. The amount and timing of estrogen and progesterone an individual woman makes changes from cycle to cycle depending on lots of factorsincluding age, health, stress level, and whether her body will release an egg that cycle or not. Between different women, there can be even bigger variations in the amount of these hormones they produce and when.
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What Are The Hormonal Intrauterine Devices
The hormonal IUDs are small T- shaped plastic devices that are inserted into the uterus . The hormonal IUDs contain progestogen. This is a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone made naturally by the ovaries. The hormonal IUDs have a coating that controls the slow release of progestogen into the uterus. There are two different hormonal IUDs available in Australia. They are sold as Mirena and Kyleena.
Mirena Side Effects Mood
Ill never forget my first patient years ago who told me she felt crazy when her IUD was placed. She was having panic attacks that alternated with depression. Her gynecologist told her the only option was to begin several mood altering drugs. She came to me in hopes of fixing her mood swings for good.
But she already had the answer.
She had tracked her symptoms and it was so clear that her mood swings began with the IUD. We worked for three months together to try to get her relief because she did not want to have it removed.
At month four, she was done.
She had her IUD removed and followed my Post-Birth Control Syndrome Protocol diligently. Within weeks she felt like herself again and all of her mood symptoms were gone. Remember earlier when when we were asking if Mirena messes with your hormones?
When she came back to my clinic she shared that her gynecologist dismissed the IUD had contributed in any way to her mood swings. I felt unheard and like what I was saying didnt matter to her at all. In her mind, I was the liar and the IUD was the perfect solution to every womans problems, she shared.
Heres the deal. These hormones can and do contribute to mood symptoms in women. Ask any woman who has lived through it and youll know how true that is. But there are also studies to support it!
Looking to support your body on or off hormonal birth control? Grab the Hormonal Birth Control Quick Start Guide
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How Do Hormones In Birth Control Work
The hormones in some methods of birth control are similar to the ones female bodies makeclose enough that the body recognizes them as estrogen and progesterone. There are multiple kinds of hormonal birth control, each with unique ingredients that are released differently.
The IUD, the implant, the shot, and the mini-pill
Hormonal IUDs release a small amount of a progestin hormone called levonorgestrel. Levonorgestrel is one of the longest-studied types of progestin, and all the scientific evidence to date shows it is super safe. For example, this chart shows the average amount of levonorgestrel measured in the blood of women who have used Mirena or Skyla for about a year. These are averages, and individual IUD users may have higher or lower amountsthats what the ± means. The amount of levonorgestrel released by these IUDs stays very steady day to day, but declines slowly to even lower levels after the first year. Almost all of the levonorgestrel stays in the uterus the chart below shows how little is in the blood stream.
How does this amount of levonorgestrel impact the body? Most women using Skyla have their usual changes in estrogen and progesterone each cycle, and most release an egg each month. Many women using the Mirena are having their usual hormonal cycles after a year and still releasing an egg. The main way these IUDs work to prevent pregnancy is by keeping cervical mucus thick so sperm cant get through the cervix to meet with an egg.
We Offer Iud Insertion And Removal
Interested in an IUD as a form of convenient birth control? Weve got the answers you need, and were happy to provide additional information that can help you make a decision. Well also remove your IUD if you decide you want to have children or if the IUD is expired and you want another one.
Want to know more? Contact us to schedule an appointment.
For more than 40 years, Chapel Hill OBGYN has served women in the Triangle area, sharing the joy of little miracles and supporting them during challenges. Our board-certified physicians and certified nurse midwives bring together the personal experience and convenience of a private practice with the state-of-the-art resources found at larger organizations. To schedule an appointment, please contact us for more information.
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Nonhormonal Or Copper Iuds
Copper IUDs do not use hormones. Instead, the copper damages sperm to prevent it from getting to the egg. It also creates an immune response that stops the development of healthy eggs and destroys any eggs that do develop.
In the United States, the brand name of the copper IUD is ParaGard.
ParaGard IUDs begin working immediately, so doctors may choose them when emergency contraception is necessary. The copper IUD can prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years and possibly longer.
As with any birth control, the IUD offers benefits but also carries risks. People may wish to talk to a doctor about their medical history and any plans regarding future pregnancy before deciding which IUD is right for them.
The pros and cons of different types of IUD include:
How Do I Use An Iud
Your doctor or nurse practitioner will write you a script and you can get the IUD from a pharmacy. Sometimes you can buy a copper IUD from the clinic providing the IUD insertion.
The IUD is inserted inside your uterus by a trained doctor or nurse. It has a fine nylon thread attached to it which comes out through the cervix . If you feel high up inside your vagina, you can check that the thread is there and know the IUD is still in place. Because it is high up in the vagina, the thread cannot be seen.
Its good to make a record of the date when you had the IUD inserted. You will need to make sure it is taken out before it expires .
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Which Releases Less Hormones: The Pill Or Iud
So how exactly do the hormones in the IUD compare to the those in the pill? IUDs have only progestin and most IUDs release less than 20 micrograms of the hormone each day. In comparison, the birth control pill has 1 milligram of progestin and 0.02 to 0.06 milligrams of estrogen. According to Dr. Howe, most studies have shown that in women with IUDs there are typically none of progestin in their bloodso the majority of the hormones do stay in the uterus and pelvic areahaving only local effects. “The copper IUD contains no hormones and the progestin-releasing IUDs have minimal amounts of progestin, when compared to oral contraception, and work primarily within the uterus with minimal absorption in the bloodstream,” said Dr. Ross.
Short answer: The IUD emits significantly less hormones than the pill.
Can You Feel The Iud During Sex How Will The Iud Affect My Sex Life
For many womenespecially if they tend to look for the most natural path possiblethe thought of a wiry device in their uterus can be a lot to wrap their head around. “Can you feel it?” or “Does it poke during sex?” are some frequently asked questions. According to Dr. Howe the strings on the IUD can be pulled, but it’s very rare. It is also possible that your partner will feel it during sex, but most of the time the strings soften and the device is impossible to detect. If a woman is extremely sensitive to progestin, the IUD can cause a reduction in natural estrogen, which can cause low libido and vaginal dryness. But again, this is very rare and can usually be remedied by your gynecologist.
Which Medications Stop Hormonal Contraceptives From Working
Progestin is a hormone that is a common ingredient in different types of hormonal birth control. It protects against pregnancy by stopping ovulation and/or thickening the cervical mucus.
In most birth control pills, patch, and vaginal ring, estrogen is combined with the hormone progestin in order to prevent ovulation.
And although human behavior and error is a common reason why hormonal birth control may fail, other factors including medications may also make them less effective.
Heres how these medications can interact with a certain type of hormonal contraceptive method:
How Much Does An Iud Cost
The hormonal IUD prescription is covered by the Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme in Australia. It costs around $6.50 if you are a Health Care Card holder and around $40.00 if you are not.
The copper IUD is not covered by a Health Care Card The cost in pharmacies can be around $70 to $120. There may also be an insertion cost from the health professional.The overall cost of the procedure will vary depending on whether you attend a private or public provider. If you don’t have a Medicare card or private health insurance, it will be more expensive.
Should We Still Use Hormonal Birth Control
So does this mean that we shouldnt use IUDs and other hormonal birth control forms? Not quite. While the Danish study does suggest that hormonal contraception leads to an increased risk of depression, the overall number of women affected is still quite small. More than anything else, the study demonstrates that healthcare professionals should be aware of this relatively hitherto unnoticed adverse effect of hormonal contraception and that they should inform patients of this potential risk before prescribing any kind of hormone-based birth control.
Every woman is different, and while many women, like me, have had great experiences with their IUDs after the initial adjustment period, others may not have such a positive experience. Its most important to have all the information necessary to make informed decisions about your body and your health. After all, you know your body bestits only fitting that you should be empowered to make the right choices for yourself.
Featured image by Abigail Berger
Insertion Can Be Difficult:
If you have never been pregnant or had a baby or it has been many many years since having babies sometimes the insertion of an IUD can cause discomfort and pain during the process.
Everyone experiences it differently and again in my opinion some temporary pain is totally worth the years of great protection you get but I definitely think its important to know in advance it can be tough during insertion.
I recommend taking advil a.k.a ibuprofen an hour or so before you go in for placement as well being ready to rest at home afterwards with a hot pack on your belly and cup of hot tea. I chose to take myself to breakfast afterwards and have a glass of champagne to toast the years of protection I just gave myself. Clink Clink thats the sound of freedom ladies.