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Understanding the Two Types of IUDs

Understanding the Two Types of IUDs

When it comes to birth control, there are a lot of different options for you to choose. However, an implantable IUD is one of the best options if you’re looking for safety and convenience.

At New England Women’s Healthcare, our team helps you decide what type of birth control is the best option for your needs. One of our eight board-certified OB/GYN specialists gives you the information you need on IUDs when looking for a reliable form of birth control.

What is an IUD?

An IUD, also known as an intrauterine device, is a form of long-term birth control. The IUD is a tiny implant that goes into your uterus to prevent pregnancy.

The IUD is typically placed during a minimal procedure in our office. The device is shaped like a T and sits inside of your uterus. It’s relatively maintenance-free and is also very effective in preventing pregnancy.

This form of birth control is convenient and one of the most used birth control forms available. It’s inserted in the office and can be left in from three to ten years, depending on the type of IUD you choose.

The facts on the two types of IUDs

Several brands of IUDs on the market approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) prevent pregnancy. In the United States, the five types of IUDs approved for use are Kyleena®, Paragard®, Mirena®Skyla®, and Liletta®. 

Kyleena, Mirena, Skyla, and Liletta are all hormonal IUDs, while Paragard is considered a copper IUD. These are the two main types of IUDs, and they differ in the way they prevent pregnancy.

Hormonal IUDs contain progestin, a hormone used in many forms of birth control. The progestin in the IUD prevents pregnancy by thinning the lining inside your uterus and thickening your cervical mucus, which makes it difficult for sperm to reach an egg.

The hormones in this type of IUD also may stop you from ovulating or releasing an egg from your ovaries. Without an egg, fertilization by a sperm can’t occur. It’s important to know that a hormonal IUD takes up to a week to start preventing pregnancy.

Copper IUDs don’t contain any hormones at all. They are made of plastic wrapped in a small amount of copper. The copper acts as a spermicide and begins working as soon as it’s in place.

Sperm don’t like copper, which is why copper IUDs are so effective. When the sperm try to reach an egg, they come across the IUD, where the copper eliminates them. Even if one does manage to sneak by, the copper also makes it nearly impossible for a fertilized egg to implant in your uterus.

Which one is right for you?

There are certain things to consider in choosing what type of IUD you want. Cost is one of the main factors when deciding which type of IUD is right for you. Hormonal IUDs are typically more expensive, but if you have insurance, it can cover some or all of the cost.

Another consideration is how long you want to leave the IUD inside your uterus. A copper IUD can be left in place for up to 10 years while effectively preventing pregnancy. 

Hormonal IUDs are only effective for three to five years, depending on the type of hormones used. If you’re looking to have children in the future, this type of IUD may be better than the longer-lasting copper IUD.

A hormonal IUD is also the better option when you’re looking to ease symptoms of your period. This type of IUD helps control period cramping and pain, while copper IUDs sometimes have the opposite effect.

Both IUDs are effective in preventing pregnancy and are safe to keep in your body for an extended period. Our team at New England Women's Hatlhecare can remove them whenever you want, allowing for the convenience of starting a family.

Ultimately, the choice is yours when deciding on an IUD. Our team helps you weigh the pros and cons of both types to help you make an educated decision based on your health and needs.

If you’d like to find out if an IUD is right for you, don’t hesitate to call one of our offices in Wilmington or Woburn, Massachusetts, to make an appointment with our team. You may also send the team a message on our website.

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