If there’s one amazing thing about living in the 21st century, the wide variety of birth control options offered for women has got to be it. The various forms of contraceptives available can help so many people safely manage not only their sexual activity, but their health in general.

One birth control option that has grown in popularity in the US has been the intrauterine device (IUD). An IUD is a T-shaped device that is inserted into the uterus. There are two types of IUDs on the market, and in this blog, Neuman GYN discusses the pros and cons of both. Read on to learn more, and contact us to learn more about our gynecological services!

IUD Overview

Part of why IUDs have become increasingly popular is due to their efficacy. IUDs last for years (depending on the type), are over 99 percent effective (compared to 95 percent for the pill), and are reversible at any time. If a woman with an IUD decides she wants to get pregnant, she can see a gynecologist for IUD removal—fertility is not affected by IUDs.

Additionally, many women opt for IUDs because they require little to maintain effectiveness. Whereas the pill needs to be taken every day (and often, the same time every day), all that is needed for an IUD to stay effective is to have it placed.

Copper IUD

The copper IUD available in the US is the ParaGard. This form of IUD is wrapped with copper, which is a natural spermicide.

Pros

  • Lasts for 10-12 years. This is perhaps one of the greatest draws to the copper IUD. Having one placed means not having to worry about birth control again for at least a decade.
  • No hormones. This is ideal for women who have struggled with side effects from hormones in the past. The list of potential side effects from hormonal birth control is practically a mile long (though many women use birth control pills and experience no negative side effects whatsoever). With a copper IUD, many women find the lack of hormones to be a relief, and a more natural approach towards contraception.

Cons

  • Possibility of heavier periods. One of the biggest drawbacks to the copper IUD is that women can experience some fairly aggressive cramping, and heavier menstruation. However, this is a side effect that does show to improve over time, in most cases. That being said, a woman with existing moderate to severe periods might not find the copper IUD to be the best option. Talk with a gynecologist to see what would work best for you.

Hormonal IUD

A hormonal IUD is plastic, and uses hormones to prevent pregnancy. Mirena is a well-known example of a hormonal IUD.

Pros:

  • Equally effective to ParaGard. The hormonal IUD is also over 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy.
  • Lighter periods. Many women who opt for a hormonal IUD experience significantly less severe periods, or stop having a period altogether.

Cons

  • Doesn’t last as long. Whereas ParaGard is good for 10-12 years, IUDs such as Mirena are good for only up to five years. That being said, being covered for almost five years is still pretty good.

If you are thinking of switching to an IUD for your method of birth control, you are not alone. Both copper and hormonal IUDs prove to be highly effective forms of contraception. Call Neuman GYN of Jacksonville and speak with a gynecologist about the best birth control method for you!