The Intrauterine Device and Birth Control

If you're looking for an effective birth control method, consider using an intrauterine device, also known as an IUD. Although it's not for everyone, IUDs that are used today are considered safe, effective and long-lasting.

An IUD is a T-shaped device, slightly bigger than a quarter that can fit into your uterus. It works by stopping sperm from reaching and fertilizing the eggs. 

Several types of IUDs exist, most release progestin hormone in small bits, which controls pregnancy. It's ideal if you have heavy periods as it makes it lighter. Few IUDs are hormone-free, such as the copper T IUD.

The copper stimulates your system to prevent pregnancy. It lasts relatively longer than hormonal IOUs, but it causes your periods to be heavier. Find out more about IUDs from a competent obgyn in Lafayette, LA.


If used correctly, the chances of getting pregnant are less than 1%. IUDs are beneficial in that they last longer than most methods of birth control. They are also hassle free because once you've inserted one, neither you nor your partner has to think about it anymore. They are safe to use when breastfeeding.

The Ideal Candidate

IUDs can be used by most healthy women, especially those who are sticking to one partner and are at low risk of contracting STIs.

The devices don't protect from contracting STIs and should not be used in one of the following circumstances; if you've had a recent pelvic infection or STD, if you're expectant, if you have cancer of the uterus or cervix, or if you have unexplained vaginal bleeding. 

Additionally, copper IUDs should be avoided if you're allergic to copper, or if you're suffering from Wilson's disease, a condition that causes your body to retain too much copper.

If you have breast cancer or you're at a high risk of getting breast cancer, and/or liver disease, avoid hormonal IUDs. The size of your uterus may also make it difficult to insert an IUD comfortably, but this happens in very rare cases.

Insertion Procedure

The procedure is usually done during an office visit. It may be uncomfortable, and you may experience some cramping and bleeding but these tend to disappear after a few days.

The doctor may suggest that you take some medication such as ibuprofen, a few hours before the procedure to offset cramping. Similar to a Pap smear exam, the procedure starts by placing our feet in stirrups and inserting a speculum inside your vagina to hold it. The IUD will then be placed in a small tube, which will be inserted in. 

The IUD will be pushed out of the tube and the tube removed. The IUD strings will hang one or two inches inside the vagina. IUDs can be placed at any time during your cycle, but it would be uncomfortable to have it placed during your periods.


Depending on the type of IUD used, it may last anywhere from three to ten years. You will tend to have fewer cramps and irregular spotting within the first few months. Most women eventually end up with lighter periods or none at all.

Pregnancies rarely happen with IUDs but if missing your periods will make you worry about being pregnant, consider a copper IUD. Your partner will feel nothing and if there is something, it would be the strings attached to the IUD.

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