Pro: Its Ready When You Are
Having an IUD means that as long as youre practicing safer sex, you can be spontaneous without worrying about pregnancy. Your IUD offers reliable contraception for years at a time. The copper IUD starts working instantly.
Hormone-releasing IUDs should be removed and replaced every 3-10 years, depending on the brand. The copper-wrapped IUD can stay in place and offer continuous protection for up to 12 years.
The Copper Iud Changes The Environment In Your Uterus To Make It Toxic To Sperm
It sounds like magic, but its just science. So how does the copper IUD work, exactly? Paragard is a plastic, T-shaped device that, like other IUDs, fits snugly inside your uterus. The difference is that while hormonal IUDs emit progestin, Paragard has copper wire coiled around it. That copper produces an inflammatory reaction that interferes with sperm movement, thus preventing pregnancy, according to the Mayo Clinic. You can think of it kind of like a long-lasting spermicide, Brett Worly, M.D., an ob-gyn at the Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center, tells SELF.
What Is Good About The Copper Iud
- It is an extremely effective method of contraception.
- Once inserted you will only need to check the string each month.
- It can last up to 10 years.
- You can use it while breastfeeding.
- No medications stop it from working.
- The device can be taken out at any time by a doctor or nurse.
- Once removed your fertility quickly returns to what is normal for you.
- It is a choice for those who do not want to use hormonal contraception.
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You Can Use The Copper Iud For Pregnancy Protection For Up To 10 Years
In terms of longevity, the copper IUD is the epitome of this set-it-and-forget-it form of birth control, offering a full decade of pregnancy protection.
By comparison, hormonal IUDs Mirena and Kyleena are recommended for up to five years, Liletta is recommended for up to six years, and Skyla is recommended for up to three years. While the longevity of your IUD is only one of the factors to weigh when making your decision, if youre wondering which IUD you can use for the longest amount of time, Paragard is your answer.
Insertion Can Vary From Feeling Like An Uncomfortable Pinch To Being Very Painful But Removal Is Generally A Breeze
During your IUD insertion, your medical practitioner will insert a speculum into your vagina, clean your vagina and cervix, then place the IUD, according to the Mayo Clinic. They do this by putting the device into an applicator tube, pushing the tube into your vagina and through your cervix, then releasing the IUD into your uterus. Once the IUD is in there, its wings will extend so it can assume its T shape, and it will start its pregnancy-preventing ways. Like all IUDs, the copper version has little fishing-wire-esque strings that hang down through your cervix.
People can experience a wide range of sensations during IUD insertion. Some have described the process as few seconds of discomfort, others like sharp, intense, nausea-inducing pain. You can ask your doctor about which pain medication they recommend taking before and after the procedure, since you may experience some residual cramping. Your provider may also be able to offer medications to help your cervix open or to try to numb it instead, although getting those drugs doesnt necessarily mean youll completely bypass any pain or discomfort.
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Are There Any Side Effects To Consider
The most common side effect of the copper IUD is heavier and longer periods especially the first 3 to 6 months after insertion, says Gaither.
After 6 months, many people find that their periods return to their pre-IUD state. But if your periods are already heavy, you may prefer a hormonal IUD.
Because copper causes an inflammatory response in the body, and period cramps are a symptom of inflammation, the copper IUD can also worsen cramps, says Gersh.
Neither protects against the transmission of sexually transmitted infections .
Ultimately, which option is right for you comes down to whether you have other menstrual symptoms youre trying to solve for.
Its also about how you feel adding synthetic hormones into your bod.
Iuds Arent Perfect Some Cons To Note
Relatively speaking, IUDs are not the most accessible form of contraception available today.;Unlike other methods, such as birth control pills or even a;self-administered;Depo Provera;shot , IUDs must be inserted by a trained medical professional in a sterile environment like a doctors office.
Other options, like the pill, are easier to get compared with an IUD. For women who want privacy, convenience, or who dont live near a physician, telehealth and telemedicine are great ways to access birth control, says Robin Watkins, the director of healthcare for;Power to Decide, a nonprofit that runs the online birth control support network;Bedsider. Remote consultations and mail delivery are not possible for birth control methods that require a trained professional to insert and remove the device, Watkins observes.
The most common risks for an IUD are infection soon after insertion. Fewer than one percent of users may get a serious pelvic infection called pelvic inflammatory disease . Theres also the possibility that it can be unexpectedly expelled from your body or embedded in your uterus; while the latter occurrence can be serious, it is extremely rare, Dr. Destephano says. Hormones in certain brands may cause symptoms such as acne, he notes.
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Hormonal Iud Side Effects
The progestin contained in the Mirena and other hormonal IUDs contribute to several side effects that can seriously interfere with your life. If you find yourself struggling with any of these then it is a good time to chat with your doc and determine if this is really the best birth control for you.
If you need help transitioning off and getting your hormones back in balance then I invite you to check out my free resource: Post-Birth Control Quick Start Guide.
What Are The Disadvantages
- Some people feel pain, cramps or dizziness when the IUD is put in or taken out.
There are some risks from having an IUD put in:
- There is a small risk of infection when an IUD is put in
- There is a very small risk of damage to the uterus
- A copper IUD might give you more bleeding and cramping during your period, but this usually gets better over time
- The copper IUD can cause an allergic reaction, but this is very rare
- The hormonal IUD might give you irregular or light bleeding
- The IUD can sometimes come out by itself . You can check the threads are still in the right place at any time.
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What Is An Intra Uterine Device
An IUD is a small object that goes inside your uterus.
There are two types of IUDs:
- Copper IUD – contains copper, a type of metal
- Hormonal IUD contains the hormone progestogen
The IUD is put in your uterus by an experienced nurse or doctor. This is simple and safe. The procedure itself takes about five to 10 minutes, but your appointment will take about 30 minutes. During this time the nurse or doctor will explain how the insertion is done and will give you instructions about what to expect once your IUD is in place.;
You cant feel it or tell it is there except by checking for the threads. If you are having penis in vagina sex, your partner should not be able to feel it. You can still use tampons.
The removal threads come out of your cervix and curl up inside the top of your vagina they dont hang outside.
Safe For Use In A Wide Range Of Women Including Women With Certain Medical Conditions
Before starting the Paragard IUD, you should share your full medical history with your healthcare provider to find out if Paragard is right for you.
According to the CDC recommendations, Paragard may be used with no restriction in over 20 preexisting characteristics and medical conditions including but not limited to:
- Breast cancer
- Cystic fibrosis
- Headaches including migraines with and without auras and menstrual migraines
- History of bariatric surgery
- History of high blood pressure during pregnancy
- Inflammatory bowel disease including ulcerative colitis and Crohns disease
- Ischemic heart disease
- Risk factors for cardiovascular disease including smoking
- Multiple sclerosis
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Whats The Insertion Process Like
First, you may be offered numbing cream for your cervix. Next, youll lie down, pants off, and your provider will insert a speculum into your vagina with the help of lubricant.
Your provider will then check the position and size of your cervix, and look for any potential problems with your uterus.
If everything is good to go, theyll fold the T arms of the IUD down, insert the IUD into a teensy tube, and slide the tube into the speculum.
Next, theyll use that tube to push the IUD past your cervix and into your uterus.
When they remove the tube, the arms will release. Viola!
All IUDs have a string that hangs down from the uterus into the vagina your provider will snip the string so its no more than an inch long.
In case you were wondering: That whole shebang usually takes less than 10 minutes.
How Do I Get The Paragard Iud
ParaGard requires consultation and a prescription from your doctor. During a consultation, ask your doctor any questions you may have about Paragard, and whether this IUD choice is the best one for you.
Once you receive your prescription, you can make an appointment with the appropriate medical professional to have the device inserted.
When you arrive for your appointment, your medical professional will take you through all of the steps and provide you with any additional information that you need to know. You can also use this opportunity to ask any further questions that you may have.
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Can My Iud Fall Out
Your doctor will check your device during your regular office visits. Your cervix should hold the IUD in place, but in rare cases, it can fall all the way or part of the way out.
This is more likely if:
- You don’t have children.
- Youâre under 20 years old.
- You had the IUD put in right after having a baby or after having a second-trimester abortion.
- You have fibroids in your uterus.
- Your uterus is an unusual size or shape.
IUDs are more likely to come out during your period. You may see the device on a pad or tampon. Check periodically to make sure you can feel the strings. If they feel shorter or longer or if you can feel the IUD itself pushing against your cervix, it may have moved. If this happens, contact your doctor.
Copper Toxicity From The Iud Is A Rare But Serious Side Effect
Although the copper IUD doesnt release hormones, it does in fact alter biochemistry in the body. As mentioned, copper levels are proven to increase in the body after IUD insertion, and considering other environmental factors and dietary choices, the IUD could be the thing that puts someone over a healthy copper level.
As it happens, this can affect a womans hormones. Dr. Izabella Wentz, author of Hashimotos Protocol: A 90-Day Plan for Reversing Thyroid Symptoms and Getting Your Life Back, wrote, copper is considered a less toxic heavy metal but has been associated with sabotaging thyroid function. The thyroidwhich has significant impact on our reproductive hormonescan be damaged by copper. So, while some tout the copper IUD as the hormone-free option, using it creates a risk of damaging the part of the body that regulates our natural hormones!
So while the copper IUD has been falsely praised as a natural birth control option, its worth remembering there is nothing natural about placing a foreign device in your body, and it isnt as side effect-free as your doctor may think. No one should have to settle when it comes to birth control. Women looking for natural, effective, and side effect-free options would benefit from learning about modern Fertility Awareness Methods of family planning. Not only do FAMs prevent pregnancy with effectiveness rates that rival pharmaceutical methods of birth control, they empower women to learn more about their bodiesnatural processes.
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How Is An Iud Removed
Your doctor will take out the IUD in their office. It should only take a few minutes. Youâll put your feet in stirrups and the doctor will use forceps to slowly pull the IUD out. You may have some cramping and bleeding, but this should go away in 1-2 days. Learn more about what to expect with IUD removal.
Association of Reproductive Health Professionals: Health Matters Fact Sheets: Copper T IUD,” “Non-hormonal Contraceptive Methods.”
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy: “IUD.”
American Academy of Family Physicians: “Intrauterine Device .”
Planned Parenthood: âIUD,â “When does an IUD start working?”
Sutter Health Palo Alto Medical Foundation: “The Intrauterine Device .”
American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists: “Long-Acting Reversible Contraception : IUD and Implant.”
U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Population Affairs: “Intrauterine Device Fact Sheet.”
FDA: “Birth Control: Medicines To Help You.”
The National Campaign to Prevent Teen and Unplanned Pregnancy: “Paragard Vs Mirena: Which IUD Is Best For You?”
Center for Young Womenâs Health: âIntra-Uterine Devices .â
Contraception: âThe safety of intrauterine devices among young women: a systematic review.â
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 Much Does It Cost
According to Planned Parenthood, an IUD can cost anywhere from $0 to $1,300. But because of the Affordable Care Act, most people with insurance can get Paragard for little to no cost.
Patients can check with their insurance company to see if Paragard is covered. If its not covered as a medical benefit, it may be covered as a pharmacy benefit, according to Cooper Surgical.
Paragard may also be offered for free or at a low cost for people with Medicaid or through other government programs. Contact your local Planned Parenthood health center or local health department for details.
How Effective Is An Iud
Both types of IUDs are more than 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy. Theyre one of the most effective types of birth control available.
Theyre also one of the most convenient forms of birth control because they work for between 3 and 10 years.
An IUD has many benefits. Among them are:
- convenience; IUDs dont require preparation before sex
- can be used while breastfeeding
- quickly reversible if you want to get pregnant
- inexpensive; after the initial cost of insertion, there are no more costs for 3 to 10 years
Mirena, Liletta, and Skyla can also help relieve:
- menstrual pain
- heavy periods
- pain from endometriosis
ParaGard can also be used as a form of emergency contraception. According to Planned Parenthood, it is 99.9 percent effective at preventing a pregnancy if inserted within 5 days of unprotected intercourse.
As with any birth control method, there are pros and cons youll have to weigh before making your decision on which to use.
IUDs have the following disadvantages:
- they dont protect against STIs
- insertion can be painful
- ParaGard may make your periods heavier
- ParaGard may also make your menstrual cramps worse
- Mirena, Liletta, and Skyla may make your periods irregular
These side effects usually go away within the first six months of use.
There is a risk of infection when you use an IUD. This risk is highest during insertion. You shouldnt get an IUD if you have, or may have, an STI.
In addition, IUDs arent recommended for women who:
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What Is Paragard
Paragard is a small, 100% hormone-free IUD that uses just 1 simple active ingredient to prevent pregnancy over 99% of the time.
Its placed in your uterus by a healthcare provider during a routine office visit in just a few minutes to prevent pregnancy for as short or long as you wantup to 10 years.