In 1957, the FDA approved synthetic progesterone – “the pill” – for women with severe menstrual disorders. That year, a record number of women visited their doctors complaining of severe menstrual disorders. By the early 1960s the pill was approved by the FDA for contraceptive use, launching a sexual liberation movement, as well as the option for couples to plan their pregnancies. But while the pill opened up a whole new world of reproductive autonomy and choice, it also brought with it side effects ranging from decreased libido and weight gain to blood clots, heart attack and stroke.
By the late-1980s the high-dose pill was removed from the market, replaced by a much lower but still effective dose pill that also showed to have many benefits – to include decreasing risk of ovarian cancers and anemia. However, women continued to search out other forms of birth control for any number of reasons, ranging from cost to convenience. One form of birth control that started to gain popularity is known as the Intrauterine Device – the IUD. And for women seeking an alternative to the pill, the IUD became a godsend. If you are looking for an alternative to the pill, consider the IUD. If you aren’t familiar with what an IUD is or how it could be right for you, read on.
What is an IUD?
The IUD is a “T” shaped contraceptive device that that is inserted into a woman’s uterus to prevent sperm from accessing her eggs. When inserted by your gynecologist, IUDs are a proven safe and highly effective form of birth control for women. Inserting an IUD is not a surgical procedure; rather the procedure feels very similar to a pap smear and can be performed during a short office visit.
Benefits of IUDs
IUDs offer a variety of benefits that you should consider when comparing different birth control methods for yourself. Here are some examples.
- Highly Effective – IUDs are popular because they are very effective as birth control. In fact, with more than a 99% success rate, IUDs are considered one of the most effective birth control methods.
- Rare Side Effects – For women who experience bloating, cramping, nausea or weight gain from their oral contraceptives, IUDS may prove a good alternative. Except for some cramping or nausea immediately following insertion, rare if any side effects can be expected.
- Long-lasting Results – Unlike birth control pills that must be taken every day and may take some time to build up in the body to be effective, IUDs are effective the day they are inserted and remain effective until they expire (depending on the brand, from 3 to 10 years’ time) or are removed by your doctor.
- Low Maintenance – IUDs are low maintenance. Once they are inserted, that’s it. No daily doses of pills; no renewing monthly prescriptions. Your doctor will insert the IUD and remove it at your request. With that in mind, IUDs are a great option for women with busy schedules, hectic lifestyles, or those who want an easy form of birth control that requires little attention.
- Non-medicinal. IUDs are excellent for women who are concerned with taking medication; no drug interactions are expected.
- Cost Effective – While the one-time cost of an IUD may seem a little steep, remember you will no longer need to pay for your monthly prescription, as well as the doctor’s office visit to retrieve your scripts. Over the course of the IUD’s lifetime, that could be thousands of dollars. Plus, most insurance companies cover IUDs for free or at a reduced priced, and IUDs are covered by the Affordable Care Act.
- Lighter Flows – IUDs are not just beneficial for birth control. They can also help manage menstrual cycles for women who experience heavy or painful periods. This means women with anemia, lower tolerance for pain, or those who would like lighter periods will benefit from this method of birth control. Some even report having no period at all when using an IUD.
Should you decide that the IUD is right for you, consider the board-certified obstetricians and gynecologists at University OBGYN Associates. Our doctors are highly qualified medical professionals who care about you and your unique healthcare needs. If you are in the greater Syracuse area and looking for well-rounded care – ranging from gynecology and obstetrics to infertility care, breast health and gynecological oncology – University OBGYN Associates is the right place for you. Call us (315) 464-5162 to make an appointment today. You can also request an appointment online.