If you’re looking for a long-term birth control solution that isn’t permanent, you may be a good candidate for an intrauterine device, or IUD. After it’s placed in your uterus, this small, T-shaped device can remain in place for several years. At Discover Health in San Francisco, Dr. Radha Lewis provides a complete range of contraception options, including long-lasting IUD devices, for patients in the North Beach area. To learn more, call or book your appointment online today.
How does an IUD prevent pregnancy?
An intrauterine device, or IUD, is a small T-shaped birth control implement that’s positioned in the uterus to prevent sperm from reaching an egg. IUDs are a type of long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) designed to be left in place for several years, but a gynecologist can remove them at any time. The two types of IUDs are:
As an IUD, this device physically prevents sperm from reaching an egg. It also releases copper ions, which are toxic to sperm. Copper IUDs start working immediately and can stay in place for up to 10 years.
In addition to preventing sperm from reaching an egg, this type of IUD also releases progestin, a hormone used in many kinds of birth control, to prevent your ovaries from releasing an egg. Progestin IUDs begin working seven days after insertion and can stay in place for 3-5 years.
What are the benefits of an IUD?
Rated more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy, IUDs are even more effective than popular short-term hormonal methods like the pill or the patch.
IUDs are suitable for almost all women, and using one means you won’t have to think about contraception every day or each time you have sex. It won’t interfere with your sexual activity either, as neither you nor your partner will be able to tell it’s there.
An IUD can be put in place any time, including immediately following childbirth, miscarriage, or abortion. A gynecologist can also remove it at any time.
Progestin IUDs can help regulate your period and reduce menstrual symptoms, and copper IUDs are the most effective form of emergency contraception available. Both types of IUDs may reduce your risk of cervical cancer.
How is an IUD inserted?
After performing a comprehensive physical exam to verify that you’re a good candidate for an IUD, Dr. Lewis places the IUD in a thin plastic tube and inserts it into your vagina. She then guides it through your cervix and into your uterus, withdraws the tube, and leaves the T-shaped device in place.
IUDs have two small strings that are left hanging from your cervix, inside your vagina. These strings, which you can’t feel or see, are what allow Dr. Lewis to remove the device when the time comes. If you’d like to find out if an IUD is right for you, call Discover Health or book your appointment online.