Are IUD's a good idea?
“Hi! I'm currently 17 and from Holland. I've got an IUD (mirena) since a few months because I'm quite forgetful and was afraid that I'd forget to take the pill. For me a IUD was a great solution: you can't see anything and you'll be safe for 5 years. For me it hurt quite a bit getting it placed but after a week I didn't feel it anymore. However, and I don't know if this would be the case with your boyfriend, my boyfriend is quite big. Sometimes he can feel it being there when he's very deep in. It's nice for me to know it's still there but not always a pleasure for him :) Furthermore I'd definitely recommend it, but don't know what your doctor says and would recommend. Good luck!”
When Klonick felt done with the Pill for a variety of reasons, she, too, went shopping for something that would give her equal contraceptive control with as little hassle as possible.
That was my question when, after eight years and more than a dozen different incarnations of oral contraceptives, I decided to go back to the drawing board. I had never been good at taking the pill every day, and while my doctor suggested the patch and the ring, both were still under patent, making them more expensive than my monthly grocery bill. I needed something cheap, un-mess-up-able, and, ideally, hormone-free. So I did what any modern girl would do: I Googled. And thus began my research into the IUD and its mercurial history in the U.S. market.
Notably, her gynecologist didn't suggest an IUD — a relatively common experience for childless women our age. One reason is its association with infertility, stemming from a specific device no longer on the market and a lack of STD testing protocols prior to insertion."The major reason why women in the United States aren't using IUDs and doctors aren't recommending them is due to the erroneous belief that they're highly dangerous," says Dr. Katharine O'Connell, a gynecologist at Columbia University who specializes in contraception.
Many in my mother's generation remember the IUD's heyday, when the contraceptive was linked to the horrors of pelvic infection, hysterectomy, and possible death. That negative rap stems from a particular device known as the Dalkon Shield. Heavily marketed in the early 1970s, it was the most popular model in the United States until a number of deaths from septic miscarriages caused the manufacturer to halt sales.
A study at the time linked the shield and other IUDs to pelvic inflammatory disease, and lawsuits were promptly filed.
But, Klonick points out, research since (as well as the experience of women in other countries) has shown those beliefs to be invalid.
Eventually, stateside science caught up to the IUD witch hunt. In the early 1990s, a study in the Journal of Clinical Epidemiology challenged the validity of the research that had condemned the IUD. It's now generally understood that the problems in the 1970s were due largely to the Dalkon Shield's faulty design, which made users more susceptible to infection, as well as a lack of testing for sexually transmitted diseases before insertion, says O'Connell.
One thing Klonick doesn't mention — though it's important, as it comes up often at my gynecological exams — is that routine STD-testing, rigorous condom use (outside of a committed monogamous and STD-tested relationship) is still important for IUD users, as there is evidence that women with IUDs who contract (or have) particularly chlamydia are at increased risk for Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, which can cause infertility. This, too, is one reason that gynecologists often don't recommend IUDs for women outside of monogamous relationships.
On top of that, as with too many women's health issues, medical schools seemingly ignore teaching students about IUDs.
Many medical schools limit their classes on contraception to one lecture, says O'Connell, leaving insertion and removal of an IUD to be taught during rotation, if it's taught at all.
This lack of training can leave many doctors feeling uncomfortable recommending the once-controversial devices to their patients, which might explain why only 58 percent of family-planning clinics in the United States offer the IUD.
Some doctors are also not keen to recommend IUDs to patients who've never had children, in case they are unknowingly infertile and might later sue alleging their infertility is the fault of the doctor and the IUD.
Certain doctors who do know how to insert and remove an IUD still refuse to recommend it to childless patients because of the device's checkered history.I experienced this with the first two doctors I visited. Though recent scholarship shows that the risk of an IUD creating infertility is almost nonexistent, some doctors prefer to insert them in patients already known to be fertile-so the IUD (and the doctor) can't be blamed for any future infertility.
Although my gynecologist at the time I chose an IUD was both knowledgeable and willing to provide me with one (possibly due to her medical training outside of the United States), we actually drew up and notarized an agreement that if I did later turn out to be infertile, I wouldn't sue her — without it, she would not have agreed to do the procedure.
While Klonick may have had an easy insertion — she doesn't say — she brings up the discomfort only in passing.
Though the insertion hurt and her periods were heavier and more crampy for a few months afterward, she describes it as a "very small price to pay for the peace of mind, money, and time" she saves with the IUD.
While I agree with the sentiment that it was worth it, I would like to highlight something: having the IUD inserted was exceedingly unpleasant. If you are squeamish about your vagina or your cervix (you have to check for the presence of the string once a month), or you are a wimp about pain and discomfort or pain or discomfort in your genitals is triggering to you in some way, having an IUD put in might not be a good idea for you (despite it being good for Klonick, her friend and I).
“I might be a bit biased but I absolutely love my IUD. I did not have fun at all with hormonal birth control as it decreased my libido, caused depression, increased weight gain, etc. If you have any emotional side effects from birth control, I strongly advise you NOT to get the depo shot because that lasts for 3 months and when I was on birth control, I had a really bad reaction and cried constantly (crying for 3 months would have not been fun at all if I had depo). The only downfall to the IUD is insertion but that lasts under 5 minutes. The cramping for me lasted a day; my period increased the first month but after 3 months, it returned to its regular cycle. I never had cramping before so I always know I'm about to have my period as I get some cramps the day before. Otherwise, the IUD is a great birth control; it's has a much higher rate of protection than any other birth control. Plus, you only check on it once a month (which is far better than having to take a pill at a specific time every day). The good thing about this is also you get to make sure it's there physically (unlike hormonal BC where you hope it's working). Of course, this is something you should talk over with your gyn because there are risk factors, such as PID (but IUD users only have an increased risk in the first couple of months). Oh, did I mention it can last for up to 8-10 years? The upfront cost for the IUD was definitely worth my mental well-being and the birth control! I would recommend it to my sister and my close friends. Oh, here's a really good site to look out to decide whether or not you want an IUD (it's a community of IUD and non-IUD users): type in 'IUD Divas' into google to find them. :) ”
“My personal experience with an IUD was a textbook horror story. I cannot in any good conscience recommend it. A lot of women like it however. Be aware that it is not a one-size-fits-all birth control; while the unit comes in only one shape and size, every woman has different dimensions to their uterus...so sometimes it's just a bad fit.
Have you looked into Nuva Ring? Its a hormone BC, but it takes less planning and remembering than the pill because you insert the ring for 3 weeks and take it out for one, and that's it. This might be a viable alternative to other methods.”
“I can't believe I am answering this question. My spouse used the IUD as a birth control measure. It was the same as having an abortion every month it keeps it from staying in the womb. But it doesn't keep the ovum from being fertilized.
She liked it because bleeding for 7 days every month helped her keep her weight down. She never realized what she was doing to the baby. Or to her self. Then we got married and wanted to have children. She has so much scar tissue that now to have a child is impossible. So we adopted a child.
Even though we both wanted to have one of our own so desperately. Please use the birth control pill and do something to remind yourself. Her girl friend used the pill and immediately after stopping she had no problem having a baby. Food makes you fat. many women who take the pill are skinney.”
Women who want to become pregnant may have their IUD removed at any time. While most women who stop using IUDs are able to become pregnant, IUDs can have negative effects on a woman's fertility. If perforation, embedding, or pelvic infection occurs, the uterus or tubes may become damaged and lower the chance of pregnancy. In cases of severe damage or infection of the uterus, a hysterectomy (removal of the uterus) may be required, resulting in permanent sterility. The synthetic hormone in the Mirena IUD can cause a delay in return of menstruation and fertility after it is removed.”
- Does not protect against sexually transmitted infections, including HIV/AIDS.
- Insertion and removal require clinic visits.
- Can be expelled.
- Can cause more difficult menstrual periods.
- Possible risk to future fertility.”
Getting any vaginal infection while using an IUD can increase the risk of developing a serious pelvic infection. This can result in a loss of fertility. For this reason, women need to assess their own risk for infection. If you have multiple partners or if your partner has multiple partners, your chance of infection is much higher.
Piercing or perforation of the uterine wall may occur during insertion of the IUD. Over time, an IUD may become imbedded in the uterine wall. An Embedded IUD is still effective, but it can be painful and may need to be removed. There is a risk of surgery and/or sterility if an IUD becomes imbedded.
If a woman becomes pregnant while using an IUD, it is highly recommended that she have the IUD removed, whether or not she wants to carry the pregnancy to term. An IUD increases the risk of having a miscarriage or premature birth.
A woman who becomes pregnant while using an IUD is also more likely to have an ectopic pregnancy. An ectopic pregnancy occurs when a fertilized egg attaches and grows outside the uterus. This can be very dangerous and requires emergency medical attention.”
If you are interested in learning more about Mirena, I recommend researching this one very carefully before trying it out as many doctors refuse to remove it early once it is inserted.
“I wouldn't chose Mirena. I don't really trust the hormones, to be honest. Plus, even though getting a period is annoying,. I like the reassurance that all is working right and that I am not pg. (Mirena can cause really light or non existent pds). The mood swings people have reported on here have been a big turn off too.
I chose copper because it lasts longer than Mirena and no hormones. Heavier periods the first few cycles then back to my normal. I'm really happy with it.
“I have Mirena. Its been 3 years now. I had spotting alot for about 6 months, and now I very rarely have it. Maybe 2x a year? And not enough to use anything. Havent noticed mood swings.”
“I went with the Mirena over the copper because I already have very bad cramps and the copper can make them worse. With the Mirena my periods are practically non-existent and I'm quite happy with that. I'm actually on my second one. I had one between DD1 and DD2 and then again after DD2 was born. I love it, so much so that I might go with another rather than a more permanent method.”
“If you don't want any more children, I'd say paraguard would be nice , since there are no hormones.
That said, I was on Mirena between ODS and the twins and was fine on it. I suffer from very bad periods and I had none on Mirena.
now that the twins are here, I know I really want to try to go hormone-free in terms on BC. I'm not ready to decide just yet.”
“With any IUD there is always the possibility that it might be dislodged or embedded too deeply in your uterus that it might cause perforation. In some rare cases the IUD implant perforated the uterus so severely that the implant migrated to other organs of the body and had to be removed by surgery. If you're afraid of the potential side effects of using a Mirena IUD, even at the age of 15, you should ask your doctor about other options for birth control that you can use. For many women types of birth control is just a matter of trial and error to pick which one works the best for you. You may try to check http://www.mirenaiudlawsuit.net to see related information.”
“It should be fine, it's placed in there pretty securely by a professional. Just be careful if it comes to taking hits to the stomach or what not!”