Back to Blogging: IUDs

I bet y’all thought my blogging machine was broken. 

Turns out new jobs are exhausting.  (Mine is amazing, though).  So I took a break from blogging because something had to give.  But I’m back baby! 

I have been undecided what to write about…should I talk about how you don’t need antibiotics for bronchitis?  Or maybe I should write about how the flu shot isn’t as effective this year but it still helps to get it….

Nah – lemme just jump right back onto my soapbox and talk about IUD’s.  That’s right, women’s health – comin’ atcha!

First off – lemme say I am a huge proponent of whatever birth control works for you.  Wanna use condoms every time you get busy?  Cool.  Wanna take a pill everyday?  That’s cool too.  But I just want to spread the message that IUD’s are safe, effective and can help regulate menstruation and stop unplanned pregnancies.  And they take all the thought and work out of birth control.  In the 70’s IUDs got a bad rep for uterine perforation and pelvic inflammatory disease.  Those are still worries but much less.  IUD’s have come a long way in the past 40-50 years!!

Let’s walk through the process – first off: who is an IUD right for?  Well basically most women.  Its safe for women who have had kids and those who haven’t had kids.  Its safe for women with hypertension, history of DVT’s and women who get migraines.  Its ok if you have endometriosis, or have had pelvic infections that are now cured.  Basically if you have a uterus and don’t want a baby – it’s a good option.  It’s not safe if you are currently pregnant or have an active pelvic infection. 

Then once you determine if an IUD is right for you – how do you decide which one to get implanted?  Well, my recommendation is talking with your medical provider – they know you best.  But let’s review the options because this is an informational blog after all.  The big choice is Copper or Hormone based. 

  • Copper IUD: The brand name is called Paragard.  It works because sperm doesn’t like copper.  The Paragard works for a long time (think up to 10 years!).  It’s cheap and effective.  Its hormone free, meaning it’s just a piece of metal with no other ingredients.   The bummer about the Paragard is you still get a monthly period.  In fact, for the first 2 or 3 months it might even be a heavier period than what you’re used to.
  • Hormonal IUD: There are currently 4 FDA Approved brands for IUD’s: Mirena, Kyleena, Liletta and Skyla.  They range in timing, but hormonal IUDs are good anywhere from 3 – 7 years.  Remember, they can be removed at anytime and you can get pregnant again, but they can last up to 7 years.  They work in 2 ways: they thicken cervical mucus making it a less than ideal environment for implantation and sometimes the hormones even stop ovulation – and where there is no egg, there is no fertilization.  The cool thing about hormonal IUDs – your period lessens over time and many women have no period at all!  That’s right, there’s usually a few months of spotting after implantation but then nothing.  Nada.  One patient of mine called them “ghost periods.”  I mean, how cool is that?!
Lots of Options for Birth Control!

So has the word “implanted” scared you at all?  Well, worry not, it is less intense than you think.  Basically the IUD is a little T-shaped device about the size of a quarter.  It’s implanted in your doctor’s office.  Its uncomfortable but nothing us ladies can’t handle.  You can take a dose of ibuprofen before if you’re worried about pain.  Then expect some spotting/bleeding.  Most women have some bleeding because your body is trying to figure out what’s going on. 

And remember folks – this is completely reversible.  That means if a baby is on the horizon – you can have this removed at your provider’s office and you’re back in the baby making business.  Its over 99% effective while implanted.  The biggest risk is spontaneous expulsion.  This is much more common if the IUD is implanted right after birth. 

One downside to IUD’s is they sometimes provide a false sense of security – they don’t protect against STI’s though.  It might seem like you don’t need a condom, but if you’re hooking up with someone new, or multiple partners, condoms are still the safest bet. 

So let’s review: IUD’s rock.  If you think it might be a good choice for you please consider it and at least chat about it with your GYN Provider.  Message me if you have more questions!  And message me with any topics you might want to read about!

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