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iud birth controlWhen we say “birth control” what's the first type that comes to mind? Probably the pill. But what if there were an alternative that's safe, more effective, and long lasting? That's the intrauterine device, or IUD.

An IUD is a small, T-shaped piece of plastic that could fit in the palm of your hand. It is inserted into the uterine lining. The IUD has a short string attached to it to make removal easy for your doctor. Except for the string, the IUD cannot be felt and will not interfere with sexual activity.

IUDs come in two general types – with or without hormones. The non-hormonal IUD uses a wrapping of copper wire that releases ions to disrupt sperm and keep it from fertilizing the egg. The hormonal IUD uses a small amount of a synthetic hormone that goes into the wall of the uterus to prevent fertilization. Both types are inserted and removed the same way.

An IUD is more effective in preventing pregnancy than the pill or shots. In fact, the IUD is nearly as effective as permanent sterilization, but it's temporary. Your doctor can remove an IUD and the contraceptive effects stop immediately. An IUD is also foolproof because it's implanted once and you're done. You don't have to remember to use it every day, and it lasts much longer than other contraceptive method. A non-hormonal IUD can work for up to 10 years and a hormonal IUD can be effective for up to five years.

If you've had unwanted side effects from the pill or just want to avoid using hormones, a non-hormonal IUD may be right for you. If you'd like to minimize the symptoms of a period, a hormonal IUD may help to reduce or eliminate menstruation.

So who's using this amazing method of birth control? Not many American women. Only about seven out of 100 use an IUD, but a special group of women are the exception. Surveys show that female OB/GYNs are three times more likely to personally use an IUD than any other form of contraception.

If you want to learn more, talk with your health care provider about all forms of birth control and find out if the IUD is the right birth control choice for you.

 

Northline Women's Health Center Locations:

15675 Northline Road

Southgate, MI 48195

(734) 282-3600
(734) 282-3603 - Fax

23050 West Road, Suite 210

Brownstown Twp., MI 48183

(734) 362-7000
(734) 362-7077 - Fax