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IUD Use And Female Health

September 14th, 2016

IUD Use And Female Health

IUD Use And Female Health

Intrauterine devices are perhaps the safest and most highly recommended birth control methods that are trusted by millions of women across the globe. Although the use of IUD is not as common as other birth control methods (such as contraceptive pills, patches or rings); but it has been observed that obstetricians and gynecologists especially prefer it for certain demographics; such as busy professional women or teenagers. In addition, most healthcare professionals also rely on intrauterine devices over other cost-effective and short-term birth control solutions. Is there a particular reason why IUDs are considered superior contraceptives?

Let’s here from the doctors:

Dr. Sara Pentlicky is a gynecologist and a family planning specialist at the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Pentlicky shared that among female doctors in her practice, 80% use IUD for contraceptive purpose because it is more safe, effective and convenient in use. Another healthcare professional from Kentucky shared that many women are not ideal candidates for the oral contraceptives use (due to estrogen). This could be due to personal preferences or health reasons. Needless to say that all such females can be ideal candidates for intrauterine devices.

What Should You Know About IUDs?

Intrauterine devices are supposed to be inserted by a doctor and once they are inserted, they can be effective for a considerable period of time. Most current IUDs offers contraception for a period of up to five years; but some are effective for up to twelve years; depending upon the type of IUD inserted. On the other hand, contraceptive pills are required to be taken every day, which most women find inconvenient.

In United States, there are two types of IUDs available; ParaGard and Mirena. ParaGard is an IUD device that is free from hormones and is made up of copper. Once inserted, it can prevent pregnancy for up to 12 years. On the other hand, Mirena contains synthetic progestin hormone which is released in consistent but little amounts. Once inserted, Mirena is effective against an unintended pregnancy for up to 3-5 years.

Unlike Contraceptive pills, paraGard does not stops ovulation due to which a woman can easily become pregnant just a month after the removal of IUD.

Are There Any Side Effects Of IUDs?

Female Condoms – What Should You Know About It? image

It would be wrong to say that these IUDs are 100% safe and does not carry any side effects. Various clinical studies and population based surveys suggests that long term use of IUDs is associated with some side effects or risks. These include:

  • Hormonal side effects like mood changes, increased weight gain and acne can occur due to Mirena use.
  • Likewise, ParaGard use can cause inflammation in vagina, excessive bleeding and severe uterine cramps. It is noteworthy that intra uterine devices are only effective for contraceptive purposes and they cannot prevent the transmission of STDs.

IUDs are not much popular among American women regardless of the fact that IUDs are highly recommended by reproductive health experts. The low use in females is attributed mainly to the misconception that IUDs can increase the risk of infertility in women. Some women also believes that IUDs are designed for women who do not wish to have children in future. The first intrauterine device was invented in 1970s and was named Dalkon Shield. At that time IUD were thought to be linked with pelvic inflammatory disease and an independent risk factor for infertility which further heighten these misconceptions. But later on it was concluded that the disease was not due to the device itself. At the time of testing of Dalkon shield, sexually transmitted infections were highly prevalent and active history of STDs aggravated the rate of infections in women who used IUD; thereby leading to PID. Furthermore, Dalkon shield had a braided string for the removal of device which further led to the accent of bacteria to the uterine cavity.

Today’s IUDs contain thin single- filament string and women are examined for signs of active pelvic infections prior to the insertion of the device. Such interventions minimizes the risks associated with IUDs. In addition, Mirena device can reduce the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease because it thickens the mucus in cervix which interferes with the mobility of bacteria.

Cost Of Therapy

These devices range in cost from $500 to $1000. Comparing the price of IUD with oral contraceptive pills or condoms may give the false impression that former is an expensive option since most US insurance policies does not offer any coverage for IUDs. But a single device when inserted can be effective for several years, making it a reliable and economic method in the long term.

Recent study shows steady increase in the use of intrauterine devices and hopefully, in coming days it will become a commonly used method among American women.


1. Chuang, C. H., Mitchell, J. L., Velott, D. L., Legro, R. S., Lehman, E. B., Confer, L., & Weisman, C. S. (2015). Women’s awareness of their contraceptive benefits under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. American journal of public health, 105(S5), S713-S715.

2. Hubacher, D., & Grimes, D. A. (2002). Noncontraceptive health benefits of intrauterine devices: a systematic review. Obstetrical & gynecological survey, 57(2), 120-128.

3. Potter, J., Rubin, S. E., & Sherman, P. (2014). Fear of intrauterine contraception among adolescents in New York City. Contraception, 89(5), 446-450.

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