16 Things You Should Know Before You Get An IUD News


1. First
things first, there are two types of IUDs: hormonal and
non-hormonal.

First things first, there are two types of IUDs: hormonal and non-hormonal.

View this image ›

Lalocracio / Getty Images

The hormonal IUD is made of plastic and releases a
small amount progestin (a synthetic hormone involved in
menstruation and pregnancy) into the uterus. This helps
prevent sperm from getting into the uterus and thickens
cervical mucus to make it a hostile environment for sperm. It
may also thin the lining of the uterus, making it harder for
an egg to attach. There are a few brands of hormonal IUDs
including:
* Mirena: the most
popular one, which lasts up to five years.
* Skyla: a
slightly smaller option with a little less progestin in it,
which lasts up to three years.
*
Liletta: a newer version that lasts up to three
years.
* Kyleena: a newer
version that lasts up to five years.

The copper (non-hormonal) IUD, called Paragard,
is a plastic rod covered in a copper coil that releases
copper into the uterus, producing an inflammatory reaction
that makes it harder for sperm to move and survive in there.
This method can last up to 10 years.

ID: 10545894

4. If you
get really heavy periods, the hormonal IUD might be a good
option.

If you get really heavy periods, the hormonal IUD might be a good option.

View this image ›

If you run through a box of super tampons or heavy duty pads
like it’s your job every month, the hormonal IUD can help
with that. In fact, a lot of women stop getting their periods
completely after a while, says Minkin.

That’s because the progestin being released from the IUD
helps thin the lining of the uterus so there isn’t as much to
shed each month, says Howe. However, both experts mentioned
that the Skyla IUD might not lessen your periods as much as
the others, since it contains less progestin.

ID: 10567307

5. The
copper IUD, on the other hand, won’t do anything for a sucky
period, so it’s a better option for someone who doesn’t
really mind them.

View this image ›

Since the copper IUD is hormone-free, it won’t do anything to
regulate your periods. In fact, some people report heavier,
longer periods on Paragard, though that should let up
after the first few months.

This is a major thing to keep in mind if, say, you started
taking birth control pills as a teenager and now you’re
considering an IUD, says Minkin. You might be able to think
back to what your periods were like before you started birth
control, but it’s also possible that your cycle changed over
time. When you switch to a hormone-free method, you might be
surprised by what your cycle is really like.

It could even reveal a hormonal imbalance (like
hypothyroidism) or endocrine system disorder (like

PCOS), says Howe, if your periods ran like clockwork
while on hormonal birth control and are suddenly irregular
after switching to a hormone-free method. If this happens,
she suggests checking in with your doctor.

ID: 10567309

6. The IUD
might be a better option for you than other birth control
methods if you have certain health conditions or risk
factors.

The IUD might be a better option for you than other birth control methods if you have certain health conditions or risk factors.

View this image ›

The copper IUD is obviously free of all hormones, so it’s a
great option for someone who needs a long-lasting,
non-hormonal birth control method; for instance, it’s

recommended that people with a history of breast cancer
avoid hormonal methods.

The hormonal IUD is also a good fit for certain people who
can’t take combined birth control (ones that contain both
estrogen and progestin), including people with a history of
blood clots or stroke, high blood pressure (that isn’t well
controlled), migraines with aura, and several
other health conditions. It’s also recommended over birth
control pills for anyone who is over 35 and also a smoker.

ID: 10567343

7. IUDs
probably won’t help with acne and horrible PMS.

View this image ›

FOX

Fun fact: the hormonal IUD doesn’t actually stop you from
ovulating. You’ll still experience the typical ups and downs
of a regular menstrual cycle, but with a lighter (or
nonexistent) period due to a much thinner lining of the
uterus.

So if you suffer from bad PMS — cyclical mood changes or
headaches, monthly breakouts, lots of bloating and discomfort
— that will probably continue to happen with an IUD, whether
you have the hormonal or copper one, says Minkin. This is
also the case with premenstrual
dysphoric disorder (PMDD) as well as
mittelschmerz (pain during ovulation). That said, period
cramps may be better with the hormonal IUD since your flow
will be lighter, says Howe.

And while we know that combined birth control pills (with
both estrogen and progestin) can help treat
acne, that same effect hasn’t
been shown for the hormonal IUD, which just contains
progestin.

ID: 10567317

8. With the
hormonal IUD, you’ll probably experience some spotting during
the first three to six months.

With the hormonal IUD, you'll probably experience some spotting during the first three to six months.

View this image ›

Irontrybex / Getty Images

So it might not be the best idea to get a hormonal IUD put in
right before a big vacation, your wedding, or basically any
time you’ll want to wear white. Be prepared to ruin a lot of
underwear during this time, says Minkin.

This spotting between periods should lessen over time, but if
you experience a lot of bleeding and it’s not letting up, be
sure to check in with your doctor.

ID: 10570636

9. Your
partner might feel the strings. It just happens.

Your partner might feel the strings. It just happens.

View this image ›

Especially in the first few months, your partner may be able
to feel the tips of the strings if they get near your cervix.
Just give it some time, says Howe. Eventually, the strings
will become a little softer and wrap up behind the cervix, so
you won’t feel them unless you really go looking for them.

You could ask your doctor to trim them shorter, but that
might make it a bit harder to remove the IUD when the time
comes. Plus, shorter strings might end up poking your partner
even more, says Howe, who recommends just leaving them be.

ID: 10570841

10. An IUD
might be free under your insurance. But even if it’s
not covered, it’s still a pretty cost effective option.

View this image ›

Under the Affordable Care Act, most insurance plans have to
cover all FDA-approved methods of contraception at no
cost (although they can choose to only cover the generic
version). This applies to you whether you get your health
insurance through your job or through the Marketplace, though
there are some exceptions for grandfathered plans and
religious employers.

Before you decide on an IUD, talk it over with your insurance
company and your doctor to find out what’s covered. Without
insurance, IUDs can be several hundred dollars. Still, $700
for a birth control method that lasts 60 months comes out to
less than $12 a month.

ID: 10545916

11. Your
doctor will typically want to schedule a consultation before
they actually insert the IUD.

Your doctor will typically want to schedule a consultation before they actually insert the IUD.

View this image ›

They’ll ask about your periods and medical history and
discuss the different options you have available to you.
“It’s not because I’m trying to discourage anybody, but it’s
not an obvious choice,” says Minkin.

Once you’ve decided on a method, they’ll clear it with your
insurance company and schedule a visit for the insertion. If
possible, some doctors prefer to insert an IUD while you’re
on your period, since your cervix opens up a little.

ID: 10570368

12. The
insertion doesn’t take long, but it can range from mildly
uncomfortable to very painful (depending on the person).

The insertion doesn't take long, but it can range from mildly uncomfortable to very painful (depending on the person).

View this image ›

Keith Brofsky / Getty Images

For the vast majority of people, the insertion will be a
little crampy at times, and you’ll probably experience some
cramping (like a bad period) for a few days afterwards, says
Howe. Her biggest advice is to relax, take some ibuprofin
before the appointment, and try not to tighten up.

Before you go, let your doctor know if routine pelvic exams
are super painful for you; they may offer a numbing injection
during your visit or have other suggestions, says Howe. And
if you’re vasovagal (you tend to pass out when getting blood
drawn, seeing blood, etc.), that could happen during
insertion, says Minkin, so give your doctor a heads up and
have someone drive you to and from your appointment.

ID: 10570357

13. There
are some risks associated with IUDs that, while rare, are
important to talk to your doctor about.

There are some risks associated with IUDs that, while rare, are important to talk to your doctor about.

View this image ›

During the insertion procedure, there’s a very small risk (1
in 1,000) of perforation, where the IUD penetrates the
uterine wall or cervix, explains Howe. The risk of this is
slightly higher in women who are lactating. If this happens
(or if it migrates somewhere else), surgery may be necessary
to remove it.

After the insertion, there’s about a 5% chance of partial or
complete IUD expulsion, where the IUD is pushed out of place.
Howe says the most common signs of this are bleeding and pain
that isn’t getting better. This could decrease the
effectiveness of the IUD, so it’s important to check in with
your doctor if you’re experiencing any weird symptoms.

Finally, there is a very very tiny of risk of pregnancy with
the IUD. But if you do get pregnant while you have an IUD,
there’s a good chance it will be ectopic, meaning a
fertilized egg implanted somewhere outside the uterus and
cannot proceed. If the pregnancy is not ectopic, there is an
increased risk of miscarriage unless you remove the IUD, says
Minkin.

ID: 10570633

14. IUDs do
not protect against STIs or HIV, so you’ll probably need to
keep using condoms.

IUDs do not protect against STIs or HIV, so you'll probably need to keep using condoms.

View this image ›

Unless you’re in a monogamous relationship and you’ve both
been recently tested, the IUD is best used in conjunction
with condoms.

It’s also super important to continue getting tested for any
STIs you may be at risk for. That’s because untreated pelvic
infections (like chlamydia and gonorrhea) can lead to
pelvic
inflammatory disease (PID), which can be particularly
dangerous when you have an IUD in place, and it can lead to
scarring and infertility if untreated. Symptoms of PID can
include pelvic pain, bleeding, fever, and unusual discharge.
See your doctor immediately if you experience any of these,
says Howe.

ID: 10576402

15.
Obviously IUDs aren’t for everyone.

Obviously IUDs aren't for everyone.

View this image ›

As we’ve discussed, IUDs might not be the best choice for
someone who gets really bad PMS, who also wants their birth
control to fight acne, or who likes the reassurance that
comes with a monthly period (hey, some people miss it when
it’s not there!).

In addition to that, there are some cases where you should
not get an IUD, for instance:
* If you’re pregnant.
* If you have uterine abnormalities that make it hard for the
IUD to stay in place.
* If you have unexplained vaginal bleeding.
* If you have liver disease, a liver tumor, or cancer of the
uterus or cervix
* If you have pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or a history
of PID, you might not be a good candidate for an IUD, but
talk to your doctor about your history.
* If you have untreated pelvic infections (like chlamydia or
gonorrhea) or are at a high risk of these infections, you
might not be a good candidate for an IUD. Talk to your doctor
about your risks.
* If you have breast cancer or a history of breast cancer,
you cannot use the hormonal IUD.
* If you have Wilson’s disease (a rare disorder related to
how the body handles copper), you cannot use the
copper IUD.

ID: 10570198

16. IUDs
can be taken out by your doctor at any time, and it’s
possible to get pregnant as soon as they’re out.

IUDs can be taken out by your doctor at any time, and it's possible to get pregnant as soon as they're out.

View this image ›

You don’t need to wait 3, 5, or 10 years before taking your
IUD out. If, for whatever reason, you’re done with it, just
make an appointment with your gynecologist and they’ll remove
it for you.

Minkin swears this part is easier and less painful than the
insertion: they just grasp the strings with a little
instrument and pull it out; the IUD arms fold upward to allow
it to come down easily.

Keep in mind that you can get pregnant as soon as the IUD is
removed, so if that’s not on the agenda for you, you’ll need
to lock down another form of birth control.

ID: 10570683

The bottom line: The IUD might be a great choice for you…or
it might not be. Birth control is not one-size-fits-all.

Before you decide on a method — even if it sounds like the
best option ever — talk to your doctor about your health,
your lifestyle, your insurance, and all your wants and needs
from a birth control. They’ll help you decide which method is
right for you.

And if you’re not sold on the IUD but you still want a
long-acting method, don’t forget about the contraceptive
implant, which is also over 99% effective at preventing
pregnancy.

ID: 10578982



Source link