An intrauterine device, or IUD, is a method used as a means to prevent pregnancy. The device fits inside the uterus. It is in a "T" shape and is slightly larger than a quarter. The IUD works to prevent pregnancy by stopping sperm from reaching and fertilizing eggs. In the United States, there are four options available for IUD use. The patient can speak to the doctor about which one might be the best method for them. In most IUD’s the hormones that are used are the same used in many birth control pills. These types of IUDs tend to make periods lighter and may be a good option for those who have heavy periods.
If they are used correctly, IUD’s offer many benefits including:
Most women who are healthy can use an IUD effectively. The doctor will insert the IUD during an office visit. Over-the-counter pain medication, such as ibuprofen, might be recommended a few hours before the procedure to offset cramping. The IUD is especially suited to women with one partner and at low risk of contracting an STD. The IUD does not protect against STDs. It should not be used if:
If it is decided later that pregnancy is desired, or that someone does not want to have the IUD anymore, it can easily be removed by a nurse or doctor. Once the device is removed, they will be able to get pregnant right away.