The world of birth control doesn’t lack for options, and it often comes down to a lifestyle choice. If you’d like to guard yourself against unwanted pregnancy, but you don’t like the idea of daily pills or on-the-spot protection, an intrauterine device (IUD) may provide the perfect solution. At Capital Women’s Care, Judith Gurdian, MD, Michelle Spector, MD, Tanya Ghatan, MD, and the rest of the team offer several types of IUDs to women in Rockville, Maryland. To find out whether an IUD might be a good birth control option for you, call the office or schedule an appointment online to learn more.
An intrauterine device (IUD) is a small, T-shaped insert that your gynecologist places inside your uterus in order to stop sperm from fertilizing your eggs.
There are two types of IUDs:
With a hormonal IUD, the device emits small amounts of progestin into your body. By regulating your hormones, this type of IUD prevents ovulation, and also thickens the mucus on your cervix to block sperm. Because of the hormone regulation, this type of IUD often leads to lighter periods, which may be a benefit if you suffer from heavy bleeding and painful periods.
If you’d rather not use hormonal birth control, this type of IUD is wrapped in copper, a material that interferes with the way sperm move and helps prevent fertilization.
IUDs are some of the most effective birth control options available with an efficiency rating of 99%.
At Capital Women’s Care, the OB/GYNs insert the device in a quick, in-office procedure. Using a speculum, your doctor uses a special inserter to place the IUD inside your uterus. The entire process takes about five minutes.
Some women feel some minor cramping while the doctor inserts the IUD, while other women may experience longer and more intense cramping afterward. If you fall into the latter group, over-the-counter medications usually do the trick to alleviate any pain or discomfort.
The answer to this depends upon your choice of IUD and the manufacturer. Most IUDs offer anywhere from 3-12 years of protection against unwanted pregnancy. Copper IUDs typically last longer, since they don’t release hormones.
For most women, IUDs are perfectly safe. One of the advantages of an IUD is that it comes with a string at the end, which your doctor uses to remove it if a problem arises.
While most women can use an IUD without any problems, there are a few risk factors that preclude the use of an IUD, including:
When you first talk with your gynecologist at Capital Women’s Care, she reviews your medical history and performs a physical exam to make sure that an IUD will work for you.
If you’d like to explore an IUD, call Capital Women’s Care, or request an appointment online.