Check Your Health: IUDs and reversible contraceptives

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Check Your Health: IUDs and Reversible Contraceptives (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) When women think about birth control, they most likely think of “the pill.” However, there are many reversible birth control options, such as an IUD. This is why it’s important to talk with your provider and find the best fit for you based on your individual goals.

“We typically think of birth control as a means of preventing pregnancy,” Dr. Lauren Coyle, OBGYN at Alta View Hospital said.

In addition, birth control can also help with conditions like polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, or irregular menstrual cycles. Birth control can help prevent and treat those type of conditions.

If, like most women, pregnancy prevention is your primary goal, effectiveness should be a priority. The birth control pill, when used perfectly, is 99 percent effective; but based on typical use, it’s actually only 91 percent effective because humans, aren’t perfect.

“This means that one in 10 women will become pregnant in one year when they use the birth control pill,” Coyle said.

However, other options, such as an IUD, take out the human error and remain 99 percent effective.

“When a human being uses the IUD, it still retains all of its success. We essentially can’t screw it up,” Coyle said.

For mother of twins, Kathryn Baird, the IUD was her best option.

“I think one of the biggest benefits of the IUD is that I don’t have to worry about taking a pill every night,” Baird said.

Many women are also fans of IUDs because hormonal side effects are typically minimized. Instead of receiving both estrogen and progesterone, the Mirena IUD for example, contains only progesterone. It also is locally released meaning instead of hormones throughout the body, these hormones are only released throughout the uterus.

“I was really grateful to have the IUD as an option because I could still breastfeed, and I didn’t have to worry about another pregnancy any time soon,” Baird said.

IUDs take about 15 minutes to place, are effective for up to five or even seven years, and can easily be removed at any time.

“It is now the most common form of reversible contraception used worldwide. Unfortunately, in the United States, only 10 percent of women use it,” Coyle said.


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