IUD (Intrauterine device)

Kuvira Ramdeen and Kaylyn Castro (Time block 2)

What is it?

A T-shaped piece of plastic about a size of a quarter that is placed inside the uterus to prevent pregnancy.

How does it work?

The IUD does not allow the sperm to fertilize the egg. It may also makes it harder for a fertilized egg to implant in the uterus. When its coated with progesterone, it works in a similar way, but the IUD also thickens the cervical mucus- preventing the sperm from entering the uterus and possibly prevent ovulation (the release of an egg during the monthly cycle.)

How well does it work?

Over one year, less than one out of one hundred typical couples using an IUD will have an accidental pregnancy. Studies indicate is an effective method of birth control, although it can come out of place so it should be checked regularly to be sure it is in place. The copper IUD allows some flexibility for girls who cannot use a hormonal method of birth control (the Pill, ring, or patch). The IUD can also provide a long- term form of birth control.

What does it protect against?

The IUD does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) . For those having sex, condoms must always be used along with the IUD to protect against STDs. One of the concerns with the IUD is that girls who have multiple partners and do not use condoms can be at greater risk for STDs and there's the possibility that these diseases could develop into a pelvic infection.

What are the Side Effects?

Side effects of IUD include spotting in between periods, heavier periods with more cramps with the copper IUD, irregular or loss of period with use of the hormonal IUD. Also expulsion, or loss of the IUD. For some IUD users- particularly teens- the IUD can fall out or become displaced and not work properly. Acne, breast tenderness, headaches, and nausea occur with the hormonal IUD. Some rare problems are perforation of the uterus (there's a very minimal risk of the device perforating the wall during its insertion) or an infection from the bacteria getting into the uterus during insertion. There's also a type of IUD that increases a risk of pelvic inflammatory disease. And also women with IUDs have the possibility of ectopic pregnancies (when a fertilized egg implants somewhere other than the uterus).

Who uses it?

IUDs are safe and effective, so it's common among teenage girls or women who hadn't had a baby.

How do you get it?

An IUD must be inserted into the uterus by a doctor. It is easier to be inserted during a girl's period. Copper IUDs must be replaced by a doctor every ten years, IUDs with hormones must be replaced more frequently, up to every five years.

How much does it cost?

And IUD costs about $200 to $400, plus the cost of having a doctor insert and remove it, and the follow-up visits. Many health insurance cover these costs, and family planning clinics (an example would be Planned Parenthood) may charge less, and the IUD is effective for many years.