Pills. Injectables. Implantables. Condoms. Diaphragms. Even the rhythm method. With so many contraceptive choices available to today, how can a woman know which choice is right for her and her body? What most women want to know when making this decision is what method do most health care professionals choose for themselves? The answer: An implantable device known as an IUD.
A recent study published in the journal Contraception found that 40 percent of surveyed family planning providers between the ages of 25 and 44 who currently utilize protection use an intrauterine device, or IUD. In comparison, 16 percent reported using oral contraception, while only nine percent reported using condoms as their primary birth control method.
What is an IUD? An IUD is a small contraceptive device, often t-shaped, which is inserted into a woman’s uterus by her doctor. It is considered a long-acting, reversible contraceptive method. In addition to the study published by Contraception, IUDs have been endorsed by the American Academy of Pediatrics as an excellent method to prevent teenage pregnancy. What makes the IUD such a population choice among experts?
- It’s highly effective – Studies have shown the IUD to be 99 percent effective. Compare that to oral contraceptives that are only 91 percent effective, and condoms that are only 82 percent effective.
- Set it and forget it – Oral contraceptives require a woman to remember to take a specific pill at the same time every day. With life’s uncertainties, even the most disciplined woman can accidentally skip a dose. Once inserted, a woman does not need to do anything to maintain her IUD, and some can even be effective for as many as ten years.
- It’s reversible – Once an IUD is removed, a woman’s regular hormonal cycle will take over, and a woman can begin to attempt to conceive.
- There are options – There are multiple IUD products available for women to choose from. There are hormone-free options that can be effective for up to ten years, or versions that release low-doses of progesterone that can be safely used for five years, depending on a woman’s needs.
- It’s safe – Women considering IUDs are screened by their doctor to ensure that they are good candidates for the device, which decreases the risk of pelvic infections which have been associated with the devices in the past
With so many contraceptive options available to women, the IUD can be a convenient, safe, and effective solution for women of all ages and lifestyles. For more information on IUDs and options that may be available to you, speak to your doctor or make an appointment at WNY Ob-Gyn during your next visit.