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Understanding the Different Types of IUDs

Understanding the Different Types of IUDs

An intrauterine device (IUD) is a popular form of contraceptive that offers lasting protection against unintended pregnancies in women.

If you’re interested in a low-maintenance, effective birth control method, our providers at The Guirguis Obstetrics & Gynecology Group can determine if you’re a candidate for an IUD. We also offer guidance to help you decide which type of IUD is right for you.

What to know about IUDs

An IUD is a small, T-shaped device that fits inside your uterus. Our experienced gynecologists place an IUD during a simple, nonsurgical office procedure, and it can remain in place for several years.

There are two primary types of IUDs:

Hormonal IUDs

Hormonal IUDs work by releasing a steady stream of progestin hormones. These hormones stop your ovaries from releasing eggs to prevent ovulation.

Hormonal IUDs also thicken the mucus in your cervix to keep sperm from traveling to your eggs for fertilization, and they also thin the lining of your uterus to prevent the implantation of a fertilized egg.

Copper IUDs

Copper IUDs contain no hormones. These devices utilize copper, which is toxic to sperm and prevents fertilization of the egg.

Choosing the best IUD for you

The choice between hormonal and copper IUDs depends on several factors, including your lifestyle, plans for family, and overall health. Our OB/GYNs discuss which IUD is a better fit for your needs after a comprehensive health evaluation and a discussion about your family planning goals.

You might benefit from a hormonal IUD if you’re looking for long-term pregnancy protection. Popular hormonal IUDs can provide protection for 3-5 years, depending on the brand you use. In addition to being an effective form of birth control, hormonal IUDs can also reduce the severity of monthly menstrual cramps and lighten your period.

Copper IUDs may be an option for women who can’t tolerate hormonal birth control because of underlying health issues. Copper devices can prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years.

Both types of IUDs are reversible if you change your mind about having children. Many women are able to become pregnant soon after removal of the IUD. You can also have your IUD removed if you experience uncomfortable side effects and want to try another contraceptive method.

Why an IUD may not be the right birth control option

IUDs are safe and effective for many women. However, there are some circumstances that might prevent you from using an IUD.

Our team may recommend against using an IUD if you have any of the following conditions:

Women who have large cysts, fibroids, or other uterine obstructions may also not be candidates for IUDs. Furthermore, if you try an IUD and experience unwanted side effects, such as weight gain, pain with sex, acne, or vaginal discharge, we can recommend other birth control options. In any situation in which an IUD may not work for you, we can recommend other options, such as pills, patches, or injections.

To learn more about IUDs or any of our other birth control options, book an appointment online or over the phone with The Guirguis Obstetrics & Gynecology Group today.

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