Birth Control Methods: An Introduction to the IUD

Are you tired of birth control being a daily commitment? Would you like to explore more permanent options? If you answered yes to either of these questions, continue reading for more information about the IUD, one of the longest-term forms of birth control that a woman can opt for, while still maintaining the prospect of pregnancy in the future.

An IUD stands for “intrauterine device” and is a small, T-shaped device that is inserted into a woman’s uterus to prevent pregnancy. Currently, there are two types of IUD available in the United States: ParaGard, which is made of copper and is effective for twelve years, and Mirena, which is designed to periodically release hormones into a woman’s body, and lasts for five years. Both types affect the way that sperm moves so that it is unable to join with an egg, thus preventing pregnancy.

ParaGard, as mentioned, contains copper, which is toxic to sperm. It is completely safe to have copper in your body,but the trick is that it is especially harmful to the sperm that try to fertilize the eggs in your uterus. In contrast, Mirena, as mentioned, is a hormonal IUD. This type also prevents fertilization by killing sperm but, additionally, keeps the lining of the uterus from growing thick enough to support the implantation of a fertilized egg that is looking to grow. The hormones in IUD methods such as Mirena produce multiple effects that impede the fertilization of an egg at the same time as reducing normal menstrual bleeding and cramping. Mirena is a win-win for menstruation and pregnancy prevention!

At Zeid Women’s Health Center, our physicians offer a variety of services including outpatient procedures such as the insertion of IUD. The process of insertion is relatively pain free, although many women do experience cramping during and immediately after insertion. It is unlikely that any other symptoms will be experienced, but each specific case should be discussed with a health care professional to be sure the IUD is the right option for you. Often, the device is inserted during menstruation since this is the time when the opening to the uterus is most open. Once inside, a string will hang down into the vagina, which is used to periodically check that the IUD is still in place, as there are cases when it can slip or adjust out of place on its own.

All in all, IUDs are some of the least expensive, longest lasting forms of birth control available to women today. It lasts for years without the hassle of remembering to take a pill at the same time each day and allows more freedom to be spontaneous when it comes to intercourse, since the fear of pregnancy is significantly reduced. It can be inserted at almost any time, including after childbirth, after an abortion or during your period. An IUD is a great option for those women who want to have children at some point, but know that now is not the right time. You can maintain your freedom and spontaneity for the moment and regain the ability to have children relatively quickly at any point down the road when you decide the time is right.

If you think the IUD might be a great option for you and would like to talk to a health care professional in East Texas, please don’t hesitate to contact us at Zeid Women’s Health Center. We would be happy to help you in your quest for convenient, affordable birth control!

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