An IUD is a T-shaped device that’s inserted into your uterus through your cervix (the uterine opening) to significantly reduce your risk of becoming pregnant. There are two types of IUDs:
In some women, traditional copper IUDs can cause heavy menstrual bleeding or very painful periods. IUDs that use hormones can help avoid these side effects.
IUD insertion begins like a pelvic exam: You lie on your back on the exam table with your feet in the supports, and Dr. Tureanu uses a lubricated speculum to gently widen the vaginal canal. The IUD is inserted through the cervix, with the shorter end of the “T” acting as an anchor to hold the device in place. The longer part of the “T” extends into the vaginal canal. IUD insertion takes just a few minutes. You might have some pinching or minor discomfort during the procedure, and if you’re very sensitive or nervous, Dr. Tureanu can use a local anesthetic to numb your cervix before inserting the IUD.
Once in place, IUDs are secure, but (rarely) they can fall out. To be sure your IUD is in place and providing you with birth control protection, you should feel for the long tail inside the vaginal canal before having intercourse to make sure the device is still in place.
IUDs that use hormones need to be replaced about every five years. IUDs that rely solely on copper need to be replaced about every 7 years in most women.
Yes, IUDs have been used for decades to safely and effectively prevent pregnancy, and studies show they’re more than 99% effective in preventing conception. Like any type of birth control, IUDs come with potential risks, including perforation of the uterus, which is rare. Dr. Tureanu explains all the pros and cons of IUDs (and other forms of contraception) during your office visit.