What Is an IUD?
“IUD” stands for “intrauterine device.” Shaped like a “T” and a bit bigger than a quarter, an IUD fits inside your uterus. It prevents pregnancy by stopping sperm from reaching and fertilizing eggs.
How effective are IUDs?
If you use an IUD correctly, your chance of getting pregnant is less than 1%.
What are the benefits of IUDs?
*They last a long time.
*They’re mostly hassle-free. Once you have one inserted, you don’t have to think about it, and neither does your partner.
*It’s one cost, upfront.
*They’re safe to use if you’re breastfeeding.
Who can use them?
Most healthy women can use an IUD. They’re especially suited to women with one partner and at low risk of contracting an STD. IUDs don’t protect against STDs. You shouldn’t use one if:
*You have an STD or had a recent pelvic infection.
*You have cancer of the cervix or uterus.
*You have unexplained vaginal bleeding.
How is an IUD inserted?
Your doctor will insert the IUD during an office visit. She may suggest you take over-the-counter pain medication such as ibuprofen a few hours before the procedure to offset cramping.
The procedure starts out similar to getting a Pap smear. You’ll put your feet in stirrups. The doctor will then place a speculum in the vagina to hold the vagina open. The doctor will put the IUD in a small tube that she’ll insert into your vagina. She’ll move the tube up through the cervix and into the uterus. Then she’ll push the IUD out of the tube and pull the tube out. Strings attached to the IUD will hang 1-2 inches into the vagina.
The procedure is uncomfortable, and you may have cramps and bleeding, but they tend to go away in a few days. Some women may also feel lightheaded from the pain.
You can have most IUDs placed at any time in your cycle. But it may be more comfortable to have one inserted while you’re having your period. This is when your cervix is most open.
How is an IUD removed?
Your doctor will take out the IUD in her office. It should only take a few minutes. You’ll put your feet in stirrups and the doctor will use forceps to slowly pull the IUD out. You may have some cramping and bleeding, but this should go away in 1-2 days.
Categories: Reproductive health