IUD Insertion

IUD Insertion

iud insertionOne of the common questions we get are questions concerning birth control methods. One of the more popular long term birth control methods in the United States is the IUD — or the intrauterine device.

The IUD, a form of birth control, is a T-shaped device that is wrapped in copper or hormones. It is inserted into your uterus by your Raleigh OB GYN. The IUD is able to block sperm from fertilizing an egg. The IUD can be inserted at any time provided it has been confirmed that you are not pregnant at that time.

There are 2 types of IUDs:

  • Hormonal IUDs release the hormone, levonorgestrel, a form of the hormone, progestin. Research shows that the hormonal IUD is slightly more effective in preventing unwanted pregnancy than the copper IUDs.

  • Copper IUDs tend to be the most commonly used IUD of the two. Copper is wrapped around the stem of the IUD to help protect against pregnancy. Copper IUDs can remain in place and continue to be effective for up to 10 years.

How do IUDs work?

Both the hormonal and the copper IUDs prevent pregnancy by either damaging or killing sperm before it meets the egg. The IUD is also able to prevent an egg from implanting itself on to the uterine wall. Here is an explanation of how hormonal and copper IUDs function differently from one another:

  • Hormonal IUDs provide double pregnancy prevention by damaging or killing sperm and increasing the mucus around the cervix so that sperm cannot enter.

  • Copper IUDs are effective because copper is toxic to sperm. It also makes your uterus and fallopian tubes produce a fluid that can kill sperm.

Why do women prefer IUDs over other methods of birth control?

Women prefer the IUD over other methods of birth control because

  • It works over the long term. An IUD can continue working up to 10 years.

  • It’s reversible. When you decide you want to start a family, the IUD can be removed.

  • It’s safe. IUDs are the most commonly used form of birth control after the pill.

  • It’s 99% effective.

However, IUDs are not without their risks and complications.

  • You may experience menstrual problems for the first few months after the insertion of the IUD. Some brands may help to lighten your menstrual flow afterwards, while others may increase it.

  • Some women experience pain and cramping during insertion of the IUD. Taking a mild pain reliever before the procedure should relieve some of the pain.

  • There is an increased risk for PID, or pelvic inflammatory disease, after the IUD is put in place. It is important to treat PID as soon as possible. Leaving it untreated may result in infertility or an ectopic pregnancy.

  • If you are exposed to gonorrhea or chlamydia while using the IUD, you may develop pelvic inflammatory disease.

  • Implanting an IUD may result in the tearing of your uterine wall. If this happens, a surgery will be required to retrieve the IUD.

  • Between 2% and 5% of women experience the IUD spontaneously falling out. This is more prevalent in women who have never been pregnant.

  • In the small percentages of instances that the IUD fails, the pregnancy is more likely to be a tubal pregnancy.

  • IUDs do not protect against sexually transmitted infections.

What should I expect after treatment?

Some women experience dizziness after the IUD is inserted into the uterus. Please plan on having someone accompany you back home following the procedure.

You will be instructed to follow up with your gynecologist four to six weeks after the procedure is complete.

You will be required to check the placement of your IUD after every menstrual cycle. To do this, insert a clean finger into your vagina and feel for your cervix. You should be able to feel 2 strings hanging down. If you cannot feel it, reach a little farther as it may be wrapped around your cervix. If you are still unable to feel it, call your gynecologist immediately.

Do you have questions about whether or not IUDs are the long term birth control method for you? Contact your specialists in women’s health care in Raleigh, NC today.