Choosing the right form of birth control is completely overwhelming, mainly because there are a lot of choices, and you never really know what’s best for you until you experiment. The hormones, the side effects, the insertion techniques of things like IUDs (I’m looking at you, NuvaRing)… these are just a few of the stressful parts of looking for the perfect method for you. A lot of times, your decision hinges on what your gynecologist or doctor recommends for you, and you’re subject to their individual biases and preferences. Hearing them spout out the list of potential side effects is enough to send you out of the office screaming.
An IUD is a type of LARC (Long Acting Reversible Contraceptives) that, I think, takes a lot of the stress out of birth control. With recent changes in healthcare, insurance ttypically covers the whole thing! An IUD is a small, t-shaped device that gets inserted into your uterus and protects you from pregnancy. No need to worry about pills, rings, or birth control reminders on your phone. HALLELUJAH. One brand of IUD, Paragard, is even hormone-free – it uses only copper to prevent sperm from fertilizing the egg.
We are in the middle of what’s been called an IUD Renaissance according to a new federal report. While the IUD is still more popular in other countries, currently around 11.6% of women in America use this method (which is double the amount in the past years). There are a couple theories as to why we’re seeing an increase. One, IUDs are much more accessible because of the Affordable Care Act. Also, women are choosing to have babies at a later age. Lastly, some of the fear and bias against this form of birth control is fading away.
An IUD may be the birth control method that matches with your lifestyle. Before you get one inserted, though, there are a few things you should know. Here are 10 things no one tells you about using an IUD:
It Might Make Your Period HeavierSome users of the Paragard brad of IUD (which is hormone free) have noticed a much heavier period, while IUDs with higher does of hormones yield lighter, shorter periods. Are monster periods an acceptable trade-off to not having extra hormones in your body? That's up to you to decide! Source: iStock
Some Girls Stop Getting Their Periods AltogetherMost women would rejoice at the thought of not having a period, but it may cause some of you to think twice. About 20 percent of women will stop having their period after the first year, 50 percent by the second and around 80 percent by the third. So, it's totally normal to go months without bleeding down there when you have an IUD. Source: iStock
Getting An IUD Inserted Can Be PainfulI've personally heard some horror stories from friends about the pain during IUD insertion. Of course, this varies from person to person, but it tends to be worse if you've never had a baby. Scheduling your insertion during a time when your cervix is more open (during ovulation or your period) can help with the cramping. Source: iStock
You Have To Sometimes Make Sure It's Still In PlaceUnfortunately, you don't get an IUD inserted and say, "See you in seven years, Mrs. Gynecologist!" Within three months, you have to come back to the office to make sure it's still in place and that all your side effects are normal. You also have to check on the string once every three days in the beginning to confirm that it hasn't moved. Yes, it's an inconvenience, but compared to the inconvenience of pills it's pretty negligible. Think about the bigger picture! Source: iStock
IUDs Can Push Through The Walls Of Your UterusUpon insertion, it's possible that the IUD can puncture the walls of the uterus. Ouch. If this happens, the device will need to be removed right away or you'll risk infection or damaging your organs. You can read one person's account of this on Cosmopolitan.com Source: iStock
It Won't Get Rid Of AcneOne of the great benefits of taking the birth control pill is it's positive affect on your skin. The Pill is known to get rid of acne and is sometimes prescribed just for that purpose. Unfortunately, IUDs are either hormone-free or contain a type of hormone called Levonorgestrel. Pills that contain both estrogen and progesterone are the really the only type of birth control that will clear up acne! Source: iStock
If An IUD Slips, You Could Get PregnantFewer than one out of a hundred women will get pregnant using the IUD each year (much less than the pill, which has a nine percent failure rate). Still, if the IUD slips out of place, it no longer protects you against pregnancy. If you're worried, you can reach in and feel the strings to make sure it's still in its original position. Source: iStock
There's No Minimum Requirement For How Long It Stays InContrary to popular belief, you don't have to leave the IUD in for an extended period of time (although they last for many years!). If you feel like it's not the right fit for you or you decide you want to have a baby, you can get it removed immediately. Source: iStock
It May Cause SpottingSpotting within the first three to six months of insertion of the IUD is pretty common. Usually, though, the spotting lessons with time. You might have to get used to wearing a panty liner during that initial period of time. But this is a pretty common side effect of any birth control method! Source: iStock
Fertility Returns Quickly After RemovalFor some reason, rumors abound that it can be difficult to get pregnant after removing an IUD. Even my own gynecologist said it might be difficult to get pregnant after removal! However, fertility after an IUD is comparable to that of a woman getting off the pill - it returns soon after the usage stops. Once it's out, you're ready to have those babies! And while you might not be thinking about that right now, one day it will be a valid concern. Source: iStock
Have you or anyone you’ve known gotten an IUD inserted? What is the experience like? Let me know in the comments below!