Notes from the Contraceptive Queen-Lizzy

“My partner and I don’t like condoms.”

“I never remember to take the pill at the right time.”

“I’m not sure I want children, certainly not for the next five years.”

“Is there a birth control option for us?”

You bet! It’s called an IUD-Intrauterine Device, and it has been around in varying forms for centuries. An IUD is a small, T-shaped device that your medical provider inserts into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. The IUD has become extremely popular for several reasons. First, it is VERY effective. In fact, it is often rated as more effective than even sterilization! With an IUD, you never have to worry about remembering to take a pill or go to your doctor for a shot. It can be inserted during a routine exam, immediately following birth or at another scheduled appointment. Once it is inserted, you don’t have to worry about birth control for years! Plus, over time it is cheaper than any other form of birth control.

There are currently two types of IUDs on the market, Mirena and ParaGard.

Mirena IUD 006
• Low-dose of a hormone called Progestin and is good for up to five years
• Frequent spotting during the first few months which is very normal, but then most or many women report that their periods stop altogether.

• ParaGard has no hormones and lasts for twelve years
• ParaGard users sometimes have heavier periods than they had before, especially in the first six months.

An IUD only takes about ten minutes to insert by a medical professional. Both brands have the rare-possibility of being ejected from the uterus or causing an ectopic pregnancy (i.e. a pregnancy in the fallopian tubes).
This isn’t your grandma’s IUD or even your Mother’s IUD–the IUDs on the market today are safer and don’t have as many of the side effects they used to. Have a specific question about a side-effect, ask us.

An IUD does have strings that hang out of the cervix and into the vagina; this is important because you’ll want to check them once a month or so to ensure the IUD is still in place. By the way, most often partners will not feel the strings; occasionally, a partner may be able to feel it but it will not hurt them.

Even if you don’t like condoms, it’s important to note that this method does not protect against Sexually Transmitted Infections. Condoms should therefore, still be worn with an IUD to prevent STIs. The exception to this is, of course, if you and your partner are mutually monogamous.

At Planned Parenthood of Indiana (800-230-PLAN or click here) we offer IUDs as one of the many reliable birth control options at a low cost. Our friendly staff will answer any remaining questions you might have.

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