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Hormonal vs. Copper IUDs: Which Is Right for You?

An intrauterine device (IUD) is a popular and long-lasting form of contraception that offers many benefits. Our gynecology team at The Guirguis Obstetrics & Gynecology Group offers both hormonal and copper IUDs to meet your needs.

If you’re not sure which IUD is right for you, our providers will review your medical history and family plans to help you decide.

More about IUDs

An IUD is a small, T-shaped medical device that fits inside your uterus to interfere with insemination. Both the copper and hormonal IUDs prevent unwanted pregnancy by making it difficult for sperm to meet with the egg for fertilization.

To get an IUD, you can’t be pregnant at the time. For the procedure, your gynecologist places the IUD in your uterus during a quick, in-office visit. They insert the device through your cervix and can use an anesthetic to make you feel more comfortable during your procedure.

Because there is a possibility that an IUD can dislodge from the uterus, your provider will show you how to check your IUD, which involves reaching into your cervix to feel the string ends of the IUD with your finger.

If at any time you wish to become pregnant, we can remove your IUD, and it will be possible for you to become pregnant right away. While an IUD is highly effective at preventing unintended pregnancies, they don’t protect you from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). You will still need to use condoms if you have sex with multiple partners.

Choosing between hormonal and copper IUDs

There are several factors we consider when recommending IUDs and copper or hormonal options. These factors include the following:

Hormone tolerance

Not all women can tolerate hormonal birth control. Copper IUDs don’t use hormones to prevent pregnancy. Rather, the copper materials trigger your immune system, which causes inflammation in the lining of your uterus, which is toxic to sperm. This reaction also ensures your uterus isn’t able to support implantation of an egg if fertilization does occur.

Hormonal IUDs work like oral birth control pills, releasing a steady stream of hormones that thin the lining of your uterus and thicken cervical mucus to prevent sperm from traveling into your fallopian tubes to fertilize your egg.

Side effects

Side effects are a risk with most birth control options. However, both hormonal and copper IUDs have fewer side effect risks than other forms of contraception, including the pill.

Copper IUDs might increase period pain and bleeding. Hormonal IUDs, on the other hand, can cause irregular or heavy periods. Your period might also stop completely. The hormones in the IUD can also cause other side effects, including acne.

Either type of IUD can also move or dislodge from your uterus, although this is a rare occurrence.

Efficacy in pregnancy prevention

IUDs offer long-term protection against unwanted pregnancy. Copper IUDs have an efficacy rate of 99.2% and can last up to 10 years.

Hormonal IUDs have an efficacy rate of 99.8% and can provide protection for 3-5 years depending on the brand.

To learn more about the benefits of IUDs for pregnancy prevention, book an appointment online or over the phone with The Guirguis Obstetrics & Gynecology Group today.

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