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What’s The Deal With IUDs?

Ever since the inauguration of President Trump in 2016, the fear that birth control could be regulated, or worse, has grown. In January of 2019, the federal court barred Trump from interfering with access to birth control under the Affordable Care Act. 

That being said, long-acting forms of birth control have gained popularity. Women who fear their access to the pill could be restricted opt for implants like Nexplanon and Intrauterine Devices like Kyleena, Mirena and the Paragard.

According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, the uptake in IUD usage specifically can also be linked to younger clientele: young women and teenagers without children.

The IUD is, by definition, a tiny device that is implanted into your uterus to prevent pregnancy. The procedure is done by a gynecologist. Currently, there are five types of IUDs available on the market: Paragard, Kyleena, Mirena, LILETTA, and Skyla.

Though 25% of women rely on the pill, according to Heathline, many cannot rely on taking it the same time every day, consistently. IUDs are a long-lasting form of birth control that do not require constant thought for everyday use, actively working for up to ten years.

An IUD can cost up to 1,000 dollars depending on your insurance, according to Planned Parenthood. That being said, it has no additional costs. When choosing an IUD, there are a few things to consider. The first is whether you want a hormonal IUD or the copper IUD. 

The copper IUD (ParaGard) is the only non-hormonal form of birth control. Once in place, it can work for up to ten years. The device is wrapped in copper wire, which produces an inflammatory reaction toxic to sperm and eggs, thus preventing pregnancy.

Though the copper IUD is void of many side effects that come along with its’ hormonal counterparts, it does have a few. These can include bleeding between periods, cramps, and severe menstrual pain or heavy bleeding. Often, heavy periods will return to one’s normal cycle after six months of insertion. 

The hormonal IUDs (LILETTA, Skyla, Mirena, Kyleena) all contain the same hormone called Levonorgesteral, a type of progestin. All four are extremely effective at preventing pregnancy. Mirena and LILETTA are the most effective of all four hormonal IUDs as they have the highest dose of hormones. Skyla, Mirena, and Kyleena are just different brands for a near-identical product.

LILETTA is made by a non-profit pharmaceutical company called Medicines360.  It is available at discounted rates for those without insurance or with low income. LILETTA can be utilized for up to six years while Mirena and Kyleena must be removed after five years. Skyla can be used for three years, making it the IUD with the shortest life span. 

Hormonal IUDs tend to cause spotting, light bleeding, and irregular periods. Many women cease to get their period entirely but will still ovulate. They begin to work within seven days of insertion. Other side effects can include weight gain, acne, tender breasts, and mood changes. 

The insertion is identical for all five IUDs. It takes about ten minutes and one may experience cramping throughout the procedure. Two-thirds of women reported feeling discomfort throughout the process, according to Healthline

IUDs will not prevent against STIs, however, they are a safe, effective method of birth control. Fewer than 1 out of every 100 women with an IUD will get pregnant every year, according to Healthline. 

Featured Image by Sarah Mirk on Flickr

Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)

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