How does an IUD prevent pregnancy?
An IUD prevents pregnancy by making it difficult for sperm to reach an egg to fertilize it. Some IUDs, like Mirena® and Kyleena®, use hormones to prevent pregnancy, and Paragard® uses copper. The hormones in the small, flexible, T-shaped IUD thicken cervical mucus to prevent sperm from traveling to fertilize an egg.
The copper in Paragard inhibits sperm from fertilizing an egg and alters the ability of a fertilized egg to successfully implant in the uterine lining. Paragard can also be a form of emergency contraception after unprotected sex. If you get Paragard inserted within five days of unprotected sex, this IUD is more than 99.9% effective at preventing pregnancy.
What are the benefits of IUDs?
In addition to being a powerful form of long-term birth control, IUDs also offer other benefits including:
- You can’t forget to use them
- Return to normal fertility after removal
- Lighter periods or none at all
- Easy insertion and removal
- Birth control for years at a time
- Lower risk of certain cancers
One of the greatest benefits of IUDs is that you don’t have to think about it on a daily basis. Once inserted, your IUD begins to prevent pregnancy immediately, or within seven days, depending on the type of IUD.
What can I expect when I get my IUD?
The insertion process for an IUD is simple. During an office visit, your provider inserts a speculum into your vagina and then uses a small tube with which to insert the IUD. The IUD goes through your cervix and into your uterus. The string on the IUD hangs down through the opening of your cervix so your provider can remove the IUD in the future.
The insertion process takes just a few minutes. You won’t feel the string or the IUD at all once it’s in place, though, typically you experience some cramping and pain for the first few minutes. Immediately following IUD insertion, you may have some back pain and cramping, but many people don’t experience any unpleasant symptoms at all.
While IUDs don’t protect you against sexually transmitted diseases, they are a great long-term birth control option if you’re in a long-term relationship with the same partner and don’t wish to become pregnant.
To learn more about IUDs and other forms of birth control, call the office to schedule an exam or request an appointment through the convenient online booking tool.