After recent election events, it’s only natural that I’d discuss the whole IUD craze with you.
Immediately after the election, women, publications and blogs dedicated to women began encouraging each other to get IUDs. The reason for this? Well, during the early stages of the election, President-elect Donald Trump promised he would repeal the affordable care act (which offers free birth control to women). Now, that doesn’t mean birth control will vanish from your local pharmacies or cease to exist, but it does mean it will be much harder to access. Oh, and much more expensive too.
Although you could stock up on Plan B, or other forms of birth control, you should remember they do have expiration dates. This led to women promoting the use of long-acting birth control options such as intrauterine devices (IUDs). Just hours after Trump was declared a winner of the 2016 presidential election, online searches for IUDs “spiked significantly.” The phrases “iud Trump” and “get an iud now” were the top two rising search terms, since many women feared they would no longer have access to free birth control. Even more recently, Planned Parenthood reported an extremely high demand for IUDs:
“We’ve had a 900 percent increase in women trying to get into Planned Parenthood to get an IUD because they are desperately concerned that they might lose their access to health care, and they know that Planned Parenthood is the place that can provide it,” Richards told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour.
Whether it will be taken away or not, it’s always better to be safe than sorry, especially when it comes to pregnancy prevention. Getting an IUD might just be the best possible thing right now, but before you jump the gun here’s everything you need to know about getting an IUD.
What is an IUD?
Q. Okay so I know it’s long-lasting, but what exactly is an IUD and how does it prevent pregnancy?
A. Well an IUD is a tiny “T” shaped device (like the one in the picture above) that is inserted in your uterus. It is long-term, reversible, and one of the most effective forms of birth control. They prevent pregnancy by changing the sperm’s path… It basically blocks sperm from reaching your eggs. If the sperm can’t make it to an egg, pregnancy can’t happen.
Q. How long is long-lasting?
A. Well depending on the type you get (more on the different types in just a sec.), it can last anywhere from up to 3 years to 12 years!
Q. Reversible you say?
A. Yes, an IUD is completely reversible. Let’s say you went with the 12 year IUD, but decided just a year into getting it that you were ready to have children. All you have to do is walk your pretty butt back into your doctor’s office and get it taken out. Once it’s removed you’re able to get pregnant immediately.
The Types Of IUDs
The FDA has approved 5 different brands of IUDs to be used in the United States: ParaGard, Liletta, Mirena, Skyla, and Kyleena. There are 2 types: copper IUDs (ParaGard) and hormonal IUDs (Liletta, Mirena, Skyla, and Kyleena).
ParaGard does not have hormones. This IUD is wrapped in a small amount of copper, and it prevents pregnancy for up to 12 years. The other 4 brands (Liletta, Mirena, Skyla, and Kyleena) use the hormone progestin to prevent pregnancy. The hormone stops pregnancy by thickening the mucus on the cervix, which then blocks the sperm from reaching an egg. Progestin also prevents pregnancy by completely stopping eggs from leaving the ovaries.
Milena is good for up to 6 years, Kyleena up to 5 years, and Skyla and Liletta up to 3 years.
This Is What It Feels Like
The process of getting an IUD inserted might be a little uncomfortable. I mean, no one wants a stranger putting tiny foreign things inside your vagina. Unless you do, then you don’t have to keep reading this part. If you’re like most of us women, you have to remind yourself that this is for your own good. Plus the entire procedure only takes between 5-10 minutes.
Your nurse or doctor will ask you basic questions about your medical history. Then he/she will check your vagina, cervix, and uterus. You might even get tested for STDs. Before the IUD is inserted, you might get offered medicine to numb your cervix. Many women have said the insertion part is very painful, but others say it’s fairly mild. If you know you’re not good with pain, I’d recommend taking Motrin or Advil beforehand, and take the numbing cream if it’s offered.
Once all is set and ready, your doctor will insert a speculum in your vagina and then use an inserter to push the IUD through the opening of your cervix and into your uterus. This part usually takes less than 5 minutes. It might sound pretty graphic, but once it’s over you won’t have to worry about birth control for several years!
Once its in you should not feel the actual IUD. That goes for both you and for your partner. If you do feel it, you should call your doctor or nurse, because the IUD might be out of place. However, you might be able to feel the strings attached to the end of you IUD if you place a finger inside your vagina. Your partner might also feel the strings during sexual intercourse.
You also don’t have to wait any amount of time to have sex. You and your partner can have worry-free sex as soon as you want after getting an IUD.
Your Fertility Won’t Be Affected In The Future
When you use any kind of birth control, the question of what it could be doing to your reproductive system might come up. I’m here to tell you that you that an IUD will not change your fertility. Back in the 70s and in the earlier stages of IUDs, the Dalkon Shield caused all kinds of misconceptions about IUDs. The now banned IUD had a flaw that allowed bacteria to form in the uterus. This particular device caused serious pelvic infections that led to infertility or even death.
Wait! Don’t let that scare you because the year is 2017 and you have nothing to worry about. Modern IUDs don’t have the same flaws or risks. They are completely safe and reliable. Researchers in China found out that once these devices were removed, women were instantly able to get pregnant. In fact, they even had relatively high pregnancy rates and normal pregnancy results.
Yes, There Are Side Effects
Like everything else in life, IUDs aren’t perfect (although they are pretty damn close). Some people have side effects afree getting an IUD, which is completely normal. The downside about these effects? Well, it might take about 3-6 months for them to wear off. Remember, your body needs to get used to a new member living in your uterus. Oh, and IUDs DO NOT protect against STDs!
Side effects include: mild to moderate pain at the time of an IUD insertion, cramping or backaches, spotting, irregular periods, and heavier and worse menstrual cramps.
Possible risks with an IUD are rare, but it can happen. An IUD might slip out of the uterus, either partially or completely, allowing for a possible pregnancy. Even though IUDs are over 99% effective, pregnancies are rare but still possible. There is also a risk of infection if bacteria gets into the uterus while it is being inserted.
It’s a new year, and we have a new President with new views on healthcare. Birth control may or may not be costly in the near future, but do you really want to sit around and wait to find out? Besides, using an IUD might be better than the birth control you’re taking now. I’m not saying you should run to your nearest Planned Parenthood or clinic, but it’s definitely something to consider. Like with any other form of birth control, it’s important to do your research and think about your own medical history. Consult your doctor and find out what’s best for you!