IUD’s (Intrauterine Devices) are one of the most effective forms of birth control on the market. They have a failure rate of less than 1% and are incredibly simple to use. An IUD is a T-shaped piece of plastic with a small tail that uses either copper or the hormone progestin to prevent a pregnancy. The device gets implanted into the uterus and is then good to go for 5-10 years depending on which type you get. The implant is also easily removable should you decide that you want to have children. They are simple, easy, and effective, yet less than 6% of women in America use them.
Many myths surround the IUD and may be the cause of this. One is the idea that IUD’s cause a higher risk of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. This mostly stems from an older style of IUD that hasn’t been in use since the 70’s. Its design included a braided tail which allowed bacteria to flourish, thus creating the higher risk for PID. The current, t-shaped model has done away with the braided tail; it is actually very safe and poses minimal risk of infections.
It was also thought that getting an IUD immediately after giving birth, having a miscarriage or after an abortion could also increase risk of infection and decrease effectiveness. Recent studies have found that to be untrue, it is safe to have an IUD inserted immediately after one of these events. In fact, according to the CDC’s new guidelines, IUD’s are actually recommended for post-natal women over other hormonal based birth control methods. This is based on studies that show women who have just given birth are at a higher risk of venous thromboembolism (VTE) if she takes hormone based birth control.
Many women still prefer the pill for its other benefits like minimizing menstrual cramps, lighter periods and sometimes even helping with acne. They may also choose the pill because it has lower upfront costs. Regardless of the form of contraception a women chooses, it’s good to know there are so many options.