IUD stands for intrauterine device. An IUD is a small, plastic T-shaped device that is inserted into a woman’s uterus. There are two brands available in the United States: ParaGard and Mirena. ParaGard contains copper, while Mirena releases the hormone progestin.

An IUD must always be inserted and removed by a healthcare professional. ParaGard is approved to last for 10 years, but it can be effective for up to 12 years before it needs to be removed. Mirena is effective for up to five years.

Why Choose the IUD?

Once an unpopular method of birth control, IUDs have increased in popularity in recent years due to their low cost, long life and high rate of effectiveness. The number of women using an IUD has tripled since 2002.

When used properly, IUDs are shown to be at least 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. They do not protect against HIV or other sexually transmitted diseases.


The IUD is a very inexpensive and reversible birth control method over the long-term. For the medical exam, the IUD, insertion of the IUD and follow-up visits, the cost ranges from $500-1000.

Risks & Side Effects

  • An IUD can be moderately painful when inserted. Women are often advised to take ibuprofen before their appointment. Some women will experience cramping and other discomfort for several months.
  • It is possible for the IUD to become dislodged from the uterus, which is called “expulsion.” A professional must insert the device again.
  • In rare cases, an IUD can perforate the wall of the uterus, posing a health risk. If it is not removed promptly, the device can move to elsewhere in the body and require surgical removal. Infection is also possible.
  • While the hormones in Mirena can be effective in minimizing heavy menstrual bleeding, ParaGard can do the opposite, increasing bleeding and cramps for a few months after being inserted.

Like any form of birth control, a woman must weigh the pros and cons and decide for herself which option is best.

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Do You Know Which Birth Control Method is the Most Effective?

Friday 10/18/2013

Do You Know Which Birth Control Method is the Most Effective?

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How effective is your birth control?

For sexually active women, he effectiveness of birth control depends on how perfectly they use it. For this reason, there are two kinds of effectiveness rates. One measurement is for perfect use, as the method is tested in the lab or used in real life with no mistakes.

The other is typical use, the average including people who don’t always use the method correctly or every time sexual intercourse takes place.

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