There are a lot of options when it comes to birth control. It can be overwhelming to sort through all the choices and find the one that’s right for you and your lifestyle. Maybe you have been using the same method for years and are wondering if there are new ones to consider.
A lot of women have heard of intrauterine devices (IUDs) but many have negative associations with them. Unfortunately, there were problems with the first generation of IUDs that were introduced to the market, leading many women to avoid them.
Today’s IUDs are much safer, are very effective, and are becoming more and more popular. It is estimated that 12% of American women who use birth control use an IUD.
At Shelnutt Gynecology in Athens, Georgia, Dr. Judson Shelnutt offers comprehensive contraception counseling. He takes the time to listen to you to understand your birth control needs and finds the best treatment option for you.
Today, our team at Shelnutt Gynecology will take explore the details of IUDs — what they are, why they’re safe, and their benefits.
What is an IUD?
An intrauterine device (IUD) is a form of birth control that consists of a small piece of flexible plastic that’s shaped like a capital letter T. A doctor inserts it inside your uterus to prevent pregnancy, and it stays there for many years unless you decide to remove it. There are two main types of IUDs: copper and hormonal.
Copper IUDs have a small amount of copper on them, and prevent pregnancy because copper repels sperm. Because the sperm isn’t able to access the egg, the egg is not fertilized, which prevents pregnancy.
Hormonal IUDs work by emitting tiny amounts of progestin, which is a chemical similar to a hormone your body produces called progesterone. This causes your cervical mucus to thicken, and blocks the sperm from accessing the egg. Hormonal IUDs can also prevent your eggs from leaving your ovaries, so there’s no egg available for the sperm to fertilize.
Why IUDs got a bad reputation
Many women who have heard about IUDs have a negative association with them. This is because the first generation of IUDs, which were introduced in the 1970s, had serious design problems. One particular IUD, the Dalkon Shield, was responsible for hundreds of thousands of women getting sick, and many died.
Today’s IUDs, along with all other devices and drugs, are carefully regulated and are much safer. They’ve been rigorously tested and have been used by millions of women.
Benefits of IUDs
IUDs have a lot of advantages, making them very popular with women today. Some of the benefits include:
- Can be used while breastfeeding
- Totally reversible — just remove it when you want to get pregnant
- Doesn’t interfere with sex
- You don’t have to remember to take a pill
- Protection is long-term (3-10 years)
Women today have so many birth control options that it can be a bit overwhelming. However, depending on your needs, preferences, and lifestyle, IUDs may be right for you. Dr. Shelnutt is available to answer any questions you have, and can fit you with an IUD if you decide you’d like to try it.
At Shelnutt Gynecology, we are here to provide you with compassionate, quality medical care. If you have questions about birth control options, call our office to set up an appointment or use our online booking tool today.