What is it about an IUD that results in a reflexive cringe across the female populace?
No, really. I am asking.
OK, perhaps the name choice could have been less reminiscent of an explosive.
Ill give you that, my friend.
But ask any Ob/Gyn Kanobi about IUD’s and if they don’t go Smeagol on you over it (even a little) well then, they just don’t know what’s up.
Yes, I referenced Star Wars and LOTR, all in one sentence. You’re welcome.
But all awesome sci-fi nerdisms aside, the IUD is one of my favorite contraceptive options available. Hands down. So much so, that I have one myself-the Skyla.
What is it?
An intrauterine device (IUD) or contraceptive (IUC) is a non-biodegradable device that goes directly into the cavity of your uterus. It is placed in the doctors office and usually takes less than 5 minutes. Though there is more than one kind of IUD, it’s predominant way of functioning is by altering the environment in your uterus to be unfavorable for sperm or a fertilized egg. It’s impact on the hormonal balance of the rest of your body is minimal to nil. It can last anywhere from 3 to 10 years and is the least likely to fail among all reversible contraceptives on the market. Period. ( Menstrual pun!)
How does it work?
Progesterone : Mirena (5yr), Kyleena (5yr), Liletta (3yr), Skyla (3yr)
The Progesterone containing IUD’s work by making the lining of your uterus very thin and cervical mucus very thick. ( Think: Arid like a desert)
The result? Even if a super mutant sperm was to manage to by pass the barricade that is your cervix, and fertilize an egg, that egg would not be able to snuggle up into your barely there uterine lining.
Awesome side effect? Makes your periods non existent. (Think: Mirage)
Copper : Paraguard (10yr)
The copper IUD works by causing major inflammation of the lining of your uterus. (Think: Hostile combat zone)
The result? Neither sperm nor fertilized egg can survive in those trenches.
Notable side effect? It is the only IUD approved as an emergency contraceptive for use up to 5 days after unplanned intercourse. (Think: Plan C)
It can affect your fertility: Nope
The effect of the IUD is reversed within one month of removal. There is (almost) no ovulatory suppression or long term systemic effects that require waiting to get back on the pregnancy horse.
It can cause PID: Nope
In fact, it can REDUCE the likelihood of developing a pelvic infection because most bacteria don’t stand a chance on the glory trail any more than sperm do.
It can move by itself: Nope
If placed correctly in the office, it doesn’t suddenly go magic school bus on your uterus.
My partner can feel it: Ummmmmmk…
Sure, maybe your partner may (think they) feel the strings. Return to the office for an as needed snip snip. Of the strings of course.
I can feel it: Its called “forgettable contraception” for a reason.
If placed correctly, most people need a reminder on their phone to have it removed when it expires.
It will cause weight gain/mood swings/acne/migraines/reduce breast milk/reduce libido: NOPE.
Remember- the systemic effect of the progesterone IUD is minimal, and the copper IUD, none.
It causes abortions: Oh boy, I’m going there.
IUD’s are NOT abortifacents.
Imagine that your egg and Mr.XY were to go on a first date ( fertilization). Make it Facebook official ( migrate along the Fallopian tube into the uterus). Become engaged ( implantation), married ( fetus), and honeymoon ( fetus with a heart beat!!!)…
1. This analogy made my brain feel like a Russian nesting doll. Equally proud and in pain over it.
2. The IUD most often intercepts at the level of the first date, occasionally warding off any relationship status changes, and even less frequently by PREVENTING any unwanted proposals. It does not cause annulments or divorces, people!
( I pray that you are all still tracking at this point)
What are the risks?
Perforation: During the placement of the IUD, a hole is poked through the wall of your uterus by the applicator being pushed too far. ( <1/1000)
(You are more likely to get into a car accident on your way to the pharmacy to get your alternative birth control refilled)
Who should NOT get the IUD?
Women with a history of Breast cancer: avoid the progesterone IUD
Women with an abnormally shaped uterus: avoid either IUD’s.
How to make it an easier placement?
Talk to your OB/GYN Kanobi about options of “prepping” your cervix the night before using a drug called Cytotec. You can also ask for a para-cervical block using lidocaine ( just like at the dentist!). Lastly, consider pregaming with Motrin and Tylenol before your placement.
What to expect after?
Cramping for a short lived period of time after placement.
Sporadic spotting for up to 3-6 months ( consider it your buy in for super light periods)
Excellent, fool-proof contraception
Financial savings ( cost of IUD ~$4/month vs. cost of birth control pills ~$15-50/month)
I hope after reading this, you have a more favorable ( Read: Realistic) perspective on the notorious IUD
Thanks for reading and please watch my YouTube video for a quick recap!
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