Considering an IUD? What to Know Before Making the Decision

Millions of women have chosen an IUD as their preferred contraceptive method. It’s not a decision you should make on a whim. If you are thinking about getting an intrauterine device, but you’re unsure, let us give you information to help you make an informed choice.

Two Types of Intrauterine Devices

An IUD is small, made of plastic, and shaped like a T. It is inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy, and they remain there until removed.

Copper Releasing IUD

One type of IUD releases copper ions which are toxic to sperm. It starts working immediately. Due to its T-shape, it blocks sperm from reaching the egg and can remain in place for up to 10 years.


Young Woman holding IUD

Progestin Releasing IUD

This IUD becomes effective after 7 days. Progestin is a hormone used in many kinds of birth control pills, and it prevents the ovaries from releasing an egg. It has the same T-shape to block sperm from reaching an egg. It can stay in place from 3 to 8 years, but this is dependent on the brand used and the dosage. All About Women OB/GYN can explain which brand might be best for you.

In addition, it thickens mucus around the cervix making it harder to get inside the uterus, and it also thins the lining of the uterus to make it more difficult to attach.

Long-Term Effective Contraception, Plus Other Benefits

Using an IUD for contraception has a 99.97% efficacy rate. Nothing is better.

Using an IUD for contraception has the following benefits:

  • It is the least expensive form of birth control lasting 3 to 10 years.
  • It provides freedom from worry about pregnancy.
  • It has no long-term effect on fertility. Fertility returns as soon as the IUD is removed.
  • It lowers the risk of cervical cancer.
  • There are no hormonal side effects with copper releasing IUDs, and it may help protect against endometrial cancer.

Know About Negative Side Effects

Some side effects are possible. They include the chance of an ectopic pregnancy, perforation of the uterus, some infections, and it does not protect against STDs. You must remain in a monogamous relationship or use a condom.

Other types of side effects usually dissipate after a few months. With the Progestin IUD, there may be more PMS symptoms like acne, breast tenderness, headache, moodiness, and nausea. On the positive side, periods may be lighter, shorter, and less painful.

With copper infused IUD, you may have heavier periods and cramps. The good news is there is less of a risk of gain weight.

IUDs may increase the risk of yeast infections.

You may develop benign ovarian cysts, but they are asymptomatic and usually resolve on their own.

It is possible to have cramps and pain during the insertion process. Mostly it is short-lived. Take an over-the-counter pain medication prior to appointment.

The decision to use an IUD for contraception is yours, but All About Women OB/GYN can help you with all the questions plus all the pros and cons.

Call All About Women OB/GYN at (703) 437-0001 to schedule your appointment at our women’s health clinic in Reston and Leesburg today!

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