You have any number of contraception options, depending on what fits your lifestyle. Take a pill daily? Wear a patch and change it weekly? Use a male or female condom each time you have intercourse?
When you’re looking for a way to prevent pregnancy that combines 99% effectiveness, lasts for years, and doesn’t require day-to-day attention, an IUD is likely a good choice for you. This is a uterine implant that stays in place from 3-10 years, depending on the specific type.
At New England Women’s Healthcare, with offices in Woburn and Wilmington, Massachusetts, our team gives you many choices when it comes to birth control. Our team of eight OB/GYN specialists is here to provide the option best suited to you.
What is an IUD?
An intrauterine device (IUD) is a tiny implant that’s placed in your uterus for long-term pregnancy prevention. An IUD is often made of a strong plastic material, so it can withstand your uterine environment. It has the shape of a T, which allows it to stay inserted in your uterus.
IUDs are separated into two categories — copper IUDs and hormonal IUDs. The types work differently to prevent sperm from fertilizing an egg so you can’t conceive.
How does the IUD work?
Hormonal IUDs release small amounts of progestin, which is a synthetic form of the natural hormone progesterone. Each type of IUD has different amounts of this hormone, which affects how long they last.
Progestin works in several ways to prevent pregnancy. First, it thickens your cervical mucus, which makes it difficult for sperm to move. Progestin also thins your uterine lining, making it hard for an egg to implant itself if it did become fertilized.
Some hormonal IUDs also prevent ovulation — the release of an egg from your ovaries. Without an egg for sperm to fertilize, pregnancy can’t happen.
Since the copper IUD doesn’t contain any hormones, how exactly does it work? Sperm cells actually are repelled by copper. The copper that’s released from the IUD makes your uterus an impossible place for sperm to live, so it can’t reach your egg. The brand name of the copper IUD is Paragard®.
Each type of IUD is effective, so it’s a matter of what fits your health and lifestyle. Our team of specialists helps you decide if the copper IUD or the hormonal IUD is the best choice.
Benefits of an IUD
The IUD has a number of benefits over other forms of birth control. For example, some options require you to remember to take a pill or insert a ring into your vagina. The IUD is inserted in the office, and stays in for years at a time.
Your IUD also lasts a long time compared with other forms of birth control. Paragard prevents pregnancy for up to 10 years, while hormonal IUDs range from three years (Skyla®) to five years (Kyleena®) to seven years (Mirena® and Liletta®).
The IUD is also completely reversible. This makes it a great option when you’re looking to prevent pregnancy for a limited time. When you’re ready to finally have a baby, our team simply takes the IUD out so you can once again conceive a child.
Further, it’s safe to breastfeed while your IUD is in place. This helps you prevent pregnancy after having a baby, without worrying about the health of your little one.
If you’re interested in learning more about an IUD for birth control, call one of our offices in Wilmington or Woburn, Massachusetts, to schedule a consultation. You may also request an appointment on our webpage.