Over the past couple of months, chances are good that you’ve heard a thing or two about IUDs. In fact, I would say that there is an almost certain possibility that you have heard at least one thing about IUDs because, in the two months since Donald Trump was elected president of the United States, the demand for IUDs in the U.S. has gone up a whopping 900 percent.
There’s a pretty good reason for this. IUDS–AKA an “intrauterine device,” or a tiny contraceptive that gets placed inside the uterus to prevent pregnancy–are the longest-lasting form of birth control, with some lasting up to twelve years after insertion. And, under the Trump Administration, many women’s rights of choice and birth control appear to be under attack. The (sort of) solution? An IUD. Get one now, don’t worry about getting it removed until the next presidential administration (or, you know, until we are all nothing but the ashes left behind from the nuclear holocaust).
To be clear, IUDs are not for everyone. There are some annoying side effects that can go along with them, like pain upon insertion and spotting and cramping for a few months afterwards, that make some women not want to get IUDs. I am also not the person who should be telling you equivocally what kind of birth control you should be on–you know your body and habits best, so the final decision on whatever kind of birth control you should be on should happen in conversation between you and your doctor. But, if you’re grappling between going on birth control pills and getting an IUD, check out some reasons in favor of the IUD:
It Lasts A Long TimeThe IUD's main selling point is also its most well-known: It lasts a really, really long time. Exactly how long depends on what version you get (there are five brands of IUDs that are approved for use in the United States) but no matter which kind you go for, you're looking at years-long pregnancy protection. Skyla and Liletta are two hormonal IUDs (which means that they release the hormone progestin to prevent ovulating and pregnancy) that have the shortest timespan of three years. Paragard is a copper IUD (meaning that it doesn't release any hormones) that lasts the longest, up to twelve years. Mirena and Kyleena are two other hormonal options that prevent pregnancy for six and five years, respectively. The point is, you've got a lot of options, so you can pick and choose from the timespan that works best for you. Image source: iStock
But It's Not PermanentWith all of the talk of years-long pregnancy protection, you might be feeling freaked out that this actually means you won't be able to get pregnant, like, ever. Not true! An IUD will last you a long time, sure, but it won't last forever, and it won't prevent you from getting pregnant later on. You don't have to wait the allotted time to get rid of your IUD, and it is a simple procedure to remove (when done by a doctor or nurse, obviously). Once it's removed, you can theoretically get pregnant right away. Image source: iStock
It Has A Super High Pregnancy Prevention RateIUDs have significantly higher rates of preventing pregnancy than the pill. It has less than a one percent failure rate, which makes it as successful a procedure as sterilization. (Except, if you recall--it's not actually permanent.) Image source: iStock
It's Cheaper Over TimeGetting an IUD inserted can cost anywhere from zero to a thousand dollars. This latter number sounds like a lot of money--and, truthfully, it is--but birth control pills can cost as much as fifty or sixty dollars a month, which means that the IUD could end up being cheaper after about a year and a half. Even if you don't have to pay much for birth control now, there's a chance that those rates could go up with the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, so an IUD may end up being cheaper in the long run. Plus, Planned Parenthood offers pricing for this procedure on a sliding scale based on your income, so if you can't afford the thousand dollars, you probably won't have to pay that much. Image source: iStock
It Works As An Emergency ContraceptiveWhen you think of an emergency contraceptive, you probably think of something like Plan B. But if you get a ParaGard IUD inserted up to five days after having sex, this can prevent pregnancy. In fact, this procedure has a 99 percent success rate, which makes it the most effective emergency contraceptive that there is. Image source: iStock
You Won't Forget To Take ItIf the idea of taking the same exact pill at the same exact time every single day sounds like something you're going to forget to do (which is most of us, right?), you might want to think about getting an IUD instead. You won't have to set an alarm on your phone or put a note on your wall to take your birth control, since, you know, an IUD is in you. You can't forget about it--or, to be more exact, you can, but it won't stop preventing pregnancy for you. Image source: iStock
You'll Have Lighter PeriodsIf you're using a hormonal IUD, you might find that your period gets lighter and possibly even goes away--many women say that these kind of IUDs make their periods much easier. (Bad news if you have the copper version, though--these can lead to heavier periods and cramping.) Image source: iStock
Are you thinking about getting an IUD? Do you have a birth control preference? Let us know in the comments!