Getting an IUD is a big decision. To help you determine whether an IUD is right for you, our expert obstetricians and gynecologists at New England Women’s Healthcare put together this FAQ article on IUDs.
If you still have questions, or if you would like guidance on any other women’s health issues, you can always come in for a consultation with one of our providers.
What is an IUD?
IUD stands for intrauterine device. It’s a type of long-acting birth control for women that rests in the uterus and blocks the entrances to your fallopian tubes.
How does an IUD work?
There are two types of IUDs: hormonal and non-hormonal.
There’s only one non-hormonal IUD — the Paragard® IUD, which is made of copper. The Paragard IUD works twofold even though it’s non-hormonal: It blocks the entrances to your fallopian tubes, and it’s made of copper, which is toxic to sperm and eggs due to an inflammatory reaction in the body.
You have several options for hormonal IUDs, which work by blocking your fallopian tubes as well as emitting a slow, steady release of hormones that prevent you from getting pregnant. As of 2020, all five brands of IUDs currently approved by the FDA for contraception use the hormone levonorgestrel, a progestin hormone.
How long do IUDs last?
Most IUDs last for several years. Here’s a rundown of how long each type of IUD lasts:
- Paragard or copper IUD: Up to 10 years
- Skyla®: Up to three years
- Mirena®: Up to six years
- Kyleena®: Up to five years
- Liletta®: Up to six years
Is an IUD right for me?
If you’re considering long-term birth control, an IUD is probably on your list of methods to check out. Before committing to an IUD, you’ll want to consider several factors. If any of the following scenarios apply to you, you should ask your doctor questions about your situation before pursuing IUD insertion.
- There’s a chance you may be pregnant
- You have a sexually transmitted disease (STD) or pelvic infection
- You have unexplained vaginal bleeding
- You deal with severe pelvic pain, especially during your period
- You have uterine fibroids, endometriosis, or other uterine conditions that may affect insertion of an IUD
- You tend to get infections easily
- You have any sort of cancer in the pelvic region
- You have breast cancer or have had breast cancer in the past
- You want to control when you get your period or you want a period every month
On the other hand, here are some reasons you might be a good candidate for an IUD:
- You want effective birth control — IUDs are one of the best options
- You want long-term contraception but want control over when your fertility returns
- You want a lighter (or nonexistent) period and enjoy benefits like fewer cramps and mood swings
- You want low-maintenance birth control that you don’t have to think about
- You’d prefer birth control without hormones (only Paragard can offer this)
- You’d prefer birth control without estrogen (all hormonal IUDs use progestins)
- You’re generally in good health and don’t have any issues with pelvic infections or health complications
Do you want to learn more about IUDs or ask a doctor if an IUD is the best choice for you? Come on in to our Woburn, Massachusetts, clinic. Make an appointment by calling 781-787-3003, requesting a time slot online, or sending a message to our team.