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The IUD is the most effective form of birth control, along with the Implant and sterilization. It also has the highest rate of user satisfaction. It is a small T shaped device inserted into the uterus. There are two types; hormonal and copper. The copper IUD is the only form of non-hormonal birth control. It can cost quite a lot, up to 1,000 dollars but the hormonal form lasts around five years and the copper lasts 12 years so it’s worth it.
The Copper IUD works by keeping the sperm from moving, preventing fertilization. The hormonal forms use progestin, which keeps eggs from being released, stopping ovulation, and thickens the cervical mucus which makes sperm not able to move.
The IUD is relatively controversial when it comes to its safety. Many doctors still prefer not to use it unless the person has given birth, even though new forms of the IUD have proven safe to use even if you haven’t given birth. Yes, some people have bad reactions and intense pain from the insertion, but every form of birth control has its risks and people react differently to every form. There is a new IUD coming out specifically for younger people who have not given birth called Skyla, so keep an eye out for that!
It is best not to use IUDs if you’ve had a recent pelvic infection, think you might be pregnant, have cervical cancer or uterine cancer, have unexplained bleeding in your vagina, or have pelvic tuberculosis. Also, it’s best to not use the copper IUD if you have a metal allergy. Occasionally the IUD can perforate the uterus during insertion but that is rare. Infections are also rare. More likely (although still not common) the IUD can move position or fall out. It has strings that come through your cervix and if everything is okay can be felt in the vagina. If at any point those strings disappear or change at all you should see a doctor. You should especially check after each period as that is when it’s most likely to shift.
Reasons to get IUDs may be sensitivity to hormones (for the copper IUD), bad periods (hormonal IUD), wanting the most effective form of birth control you can get, and not having to worry about birth control again for a long time. It has been used to treat endometriosis. It is thought that the copper IUD protects from cervical cancer and endometrial cancer. The hormonal IUD protects from endometrial hyperplasia, endometrial cancer, and fibroids. Plus, unlike other forms of birth control you can have sex right away. The hormonal kind is effective immediately if inserted within seven days after the start of your period. If it’s inserted at another point in your cycle, use back up for a week. There can be side effects, some people especially at first have irregular menstrual cycles or cramping. The copper IUD tends to lead to more bleeding or cessation of periods. Any time you are in a lot of pain or feel the IUD shift or have major menstrual changes see a doctor.
Of course, the IUD has to be inserted and taken out by a doctor. It’s usually a simple procedure that some people find quite painful but the pain should fade pretty quickly. It is common for cramping and light bleeding to occur for one or two days. You’ll probably be checked for infections before hand. You should also get regular check ups to make sure everything is as it should be. It’s important to use condoms for a few weeks after insertion if there is a risk of STI transmission as there is an increased risk of infection for the first few weeks that can lead to PID.
The copper IUD can even be used as emergency contraception up to five days after risky sex. In fact it’s considered one of the most effective forms of emergency contraception, although it is more expensive than other forms.
It is important to still use condoms and get tested regularly for STIs with the IUD. If at any point you think you may have an infection or think you may be pregnant or have heavy bleeding, see your doctor.
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- largestherb said: The IUD _affects_ sperm. The sperm suffer the _effects_. Not complaining, just correcting :) Learn something every day~!
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- quidditchncoffee said: This was so helpful! I am seriously considering getting one soon!