Birth Control Options: IUD

couple with iud birth control
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Every sexually active woman should know the importance of birth control, and be able to make an informed decision about what is best for her.  Today continues a multiple-day series about the most popular forms of birth control, including their risks and benefits.

An intrauterine device (IUD) is a more permanent form of birth control.  It is a T-shaped device that fits into the uterus and works by damaging or killing sperm and renders the uterus unfit for egg implantation.  An IUD must be fitted and put into place by a doctor; it also needs to be removed by a doctor.  While it is in place, it can be checked by feeling for a string that hangs down into the cervix.

There are two basic types of IUDs.  One contains hormones and the other is lined with copper.  Copper is deadly to sperm.  They both are inserted and function in the exact same way.  A copper IUD is effective for about ten years, while a hormonal IUD lasts about five years.  The hormonal IUD has proven to be slightly more effective than the copper type.  Neither offers any protection from sexually transmitted diseases.

An IUD is a suggested form of birth control if a woman is in a long term committed relationship and does not want to have to deal with taking pills every day or receive other hormonal birth control.  It is also very easily removed when and if children are desired.

nurse in blue smock with stethoscope

When using an IUD, there is a slim chance of complications such as an IUD slipping out, the IUD causing damage to the uterus (both of these are most likely happen shortly after or during insertion), or the IUD causing more painful periods.  There is always the rare chance of infection or more serious health problems connected to the IUD, but again, these are very rare.

Women who have already experienced childbirth are better candidates for the IUD as a form of birth control.

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