Birth Control | IUD in Los Angeles & Orange Country, CA
Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) are a highly effective form of contraception, with a success rate of over 99% in preventing unwanted pregnancies. However, they remain a relatively unknown or uncommon choice, with only about 14% of women opting for this method of birth control.
At AllSafe Medical Group, we’re committed to providing comprehensive information to aid in your family planning decisions. Our seasoned experts are available for consultations to discuss your unique needs further, explaining IUDs and showcasing their benefits and how they might be the right choice for your family planning needs. Schedule a consultation to discuss your unique needs further with one of our leading experts.
What Are IUDs?
Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) are small, T-shaped devices meticulously placed inside the uterus to prevent pregnancy. They stand as a long-term, reversible form of contraception, making them a dependable ally for those seeking extended protection. IUDs come in two main variants: hormonal, which releases progestin to thicken the cervical mucus, maintain a thin uterine lining and occasionally prevent ovulation; and copper, which releases copper ions to deter sperm survival in the uterus.
What Different Types of IUDs Are Available?
There are two main types of IUDs, each working very differently. Which one suits you will depend on several factors that should be discussed with your family planning clinic and consultant.
- Hormonal IUDs release a form of the hormone progestin, specifically levonorgestrel, which works by thickening the cervical mucus, deterring sperm from entering the uterus.
- Popular brands include Mirena, Kyleena, Skyla, and Liletta.
- They are effective for between 3 to 8 years, depending on the brand.
- Copper IUDs operate by releasing copper ions, creating an unfriendly environment for sperm.
- Paragard is a familiar brand of copper IUD.
- Paragard extends its protection for up to 10 years.
Both types share a T-shaped design and are inserted into the uterus by a healthcare provider during a routine office visit. The choice between a hormonal and a copper IUD may hinge on individual preferences, medical history, and the desired length of contraception.
How Do IUDs Work?
IUDs work by creating a barrier that prevents sperm from reaching and fertilizing an egg, although the exact mechanism varies slightly between hormonal and copper IUDs.
Hormonal IUDs release a progestin hormone called levonorgestrel into the uterus. This hormone has a two-fold effect; firstly, it thickens the cervical mucus, making it difficult for sperm to enter the uterus and reach an egg. Secondly, in some cases, it can suppress ovulation, the process where an egg is released from the ovary. Without an egg to fertilize, pregnancy cannot occur. However, not all women using hormonal IUDs will experience suppression of ovulation. An additional benefit of the hormonal IUD is that it can help to maintain a thin endometrium, the lining within the uterine cavity, which can reduce menstrual bleeding and lead to lighter periods.
On the other hand, copper IUDs function differently. They release copper ions into the uterus, which are toxic to sperm. The presence of copper changes the uterine environment, so sperm cannot survive long enough to fertilize an egg. Unlike hormonal IUDs, copper IUDs do not interfere with the menstrual cycle or ovulation. They provide a hormone-free option for individuals who prefer or require non-hormonal contraception. The copper IUD is effective as soon as it’s inserted and doesn’t alter hormone levels in the body.
What Are the Benefits of Using an IUD?
IUDs offer patients a plethora of benefits. These range from:
- Long-Term Protection. They offer long-term contraception, ranging from 3 to 10 years, based on the type and brand.
- Reversibility. If you want to become pregnant, IUDs can be removed, and fertility usually resumes quickly.
- Effectiveness. They are among the most effective forms of contraception, with a failure rate of less than 1%.
- Low Maintenance. After insertion, IUDs require little to no maintenance.
- Cost-Effectiveness. Although the upfront cost may be higher, their long-term nature makes them a cost-effective choice.
- Non-Hormonal Option. Copper IUDs provide a hormone-free contraception choice.
- Privacy. Being inserted into the uterus, they offer a discreet form of contraception.
- Reduced Menstrual Cramping and Bleeding. Hormonal IUDs may lessen menstrual cramping and make periods lighter.
Who Is an Ideal Candidate for an IUD?
Many considerations go into determining an ideal candidate for an IUD. In particular, these include:
- Preference for long-term, reversible contraception
- Desire for a low-maintenance birth control method
- Good overall health to minimize risks associated with insertion
- Being in a monogamous relationship as IUDs do not protect against STIs
- Having completed childbearing or not wanting children soon
It’s vital to have a thorough consultation with your healthcare provider to determine if an IUD is the proper contraceptive method for you based on your health, lifestyle, and personal preferences.
What Are the Potential Side Effects and Risks of Using IUDs?
The potential side effects and risks associated with using IUDs vary based on whether a hormonal or non-hormonal IUD is used.
We must emphasize that when selecting a provider with extensive experience, such as the expert team at AllSafe Medical Group, these risks are minimized to the absolute smallest chances. We’ve included these risks here so that all our patients have the most comprehensive and thorough understanding of IUDs possible before committing to any procedure.
Here are some potential side effects and risks associated with IUD use:
- Insertion Discomfort. Pain, dizziness, and cramping may occur during or after the IUD insertion procedure.
- Spotting and Irregular Bleeding. Spotting and irregular bleeding are common in the first few months following IUD insertion, particularly with hormonal IUDs.
- Heavy Menstrual Bleeding and Severe Cramping. Non-hormonal IUDs, such as the copper IUD, might lead to heavier menstrual bleeding and increased menstrual cramping.
- Hormonal Side Effects (Hormonal IUDs). These may include headaches, nausea, breast tenderness, mood changes, and acne.
- Expulsion. There’s a small chance that the IUD could slip out of the uterus, either partially or completely. This is more likely to occur soon after the IUD is inserted.
- Perforation. Rarely, the IUD can perforate (puncture) the uterine wall during the insertion. It’s a rare but serious occurrence.
- Infection. There is a small risk of infection following the insertion procedure.
- Ectopic Pregnancy. Although IUDs are highly effective in preventing pregnancy, if pregnancy does occur, there’s a higher chance that it could be ectopic (a pregnancy that occurs outside the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube).
- Missed Periods. Hormonal IUDs may lead to lighter periods or suppressed periods altogether.
- Pregnancy While Using an IUD. It’s very rare, but if pregnancy occurs while an IUD is in place, it may lead to severe complications, including severe infection, miscarriage, or premature delivery.
Birth Control | IUDs in Orange County & Los Angeles, CA
Choosing a suitable birth control method, such as an IUD, will significantly contribute to managing your reproductive health, providing you with a reliable and long-term solution for pregnancy prevention.
Every patient’s experience with IUDs is different, but as discussed here, the common factor is adhering to the medical advice and guidelines provided by your healthcare provider to ensure optimal effectiveness and safety. If you have any questions or concerns about IUDs or other birth control options, the expert team at AllSafe Medical Group is here to support you. We are dedicated to delivering compassionate, confidential, and comprehensive care to all our patients.
Take the proactive step in managing your reproductive health by exploring the suitability of IUDs for your birth control needs. Reach out to schedule your consultation at AllSafe Medical Group today.