An intrauterine device (IUD) is a small, T-shaped contraceptive device that is inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. IUDs are long-lasting and reversible forms of contraception. They are typically inserted by a healthcare professional and can provide effective birth control for several years, depending on the specific type. IUDs are known for their high effectiveness, convenience, and low-maintenance nature. However, they may not be suitable for everyone, and it's important to consult with a healthcare provider to determine the best contraceptive method based on an individual's health and preferences.

Copper IUDs and hormonal Mirena IUDs are two distinct types of contraceptive devices that offer women reliable, long-term birth control options. The primary difference lies in their mechanisms of action. Copper IUDs do not contain hormones but instead release copper into the uterine environment. This creates an inhospitable environment for sperm, preventing fertilization.

On the other hand, hormonal IUDs like Mirena release a low dose of progestin, a synthetic form of the hormone progesterone. Progestin thickens cervical mucus, inhibits sperm mobility, and thins the uterine lining, preventing both fertilization and implantation. While copper IUDs are hormone-free and generally have fewer hormonal side effects, hormonal IUDs may provide additional benefits such as reduced menstrual bleeding and cramps.

Both the copper IUD and Mirena IUD are outpatient procedures performed at the Kindred Clinic. The choice between the two depends on individual preferences, health considerations, and desired contraceptive effects.

Read on to learn more about your IUD options at Kindred, both hormonal and non-hormonal:

Copper IUD

At Kindred, we have two variants for the Copper IUD Insertion Packages. Basic insertion packages include the procedure itself together with a follow-up OBGYN consult to ensure that there are no complications and to observe any changes. The comprehensive packages have these inclusions, with the addition of a transvaginal ultrasound to confirm the IUD’s placement.

Mirena IUD

Patients seeking the Mirena IUD option also have a choice between basic and comprehensive packages. The Basic package includes 2 OBGYN consults, one for an initial consultation and the other for a follow-up. 

The OBGYN first conducts a pelvic examination to assess the size and position of the uterus. After cleansing the cervix and vagina, a specialized inserter is used to carefully place the Mirena IUD through the cervical canal and into the uterine cavity. Once correctly positioned, the device's flexible arms open to anchor it securely within the uterus.

Prior to the insertion, patients will also be asked to take a pregnancy test in-clinic. Following the procedure, patients will be given medication (Dexketoprofen 25mg x 9 to take 3 days post insertion) and a menstrual pad. The Comprehensive Mirena IUD Package has the same inclusions as the Basic Package, with the addition of a transvaginal ultrasound post-procedure.

Who is an IUD for?

Choosing to get an IUD is a personal decision that should be made under the guidance of your healthcare provider. Your OBGYN can provide personalized advice based on a person's medical history and needs. They can discuss the potential risks, benefits, and alternatives to help individuals make informed decisions about their reproductive health.

However, IUDs may be suitable for the following individuals:

Women seeking long-term contraception

IUDs are highly effective at preventing pregnancy and can last for several years, depending on the type. 

Women who have completed their family planning

If a woman has completed her desired number of pregnancies or has decided not to have children, an IUD can provide long-term contraception without the need for daily attention.

Women who prefer a low-maintenance contraceptive option

Once an IUD is inserted, it requires minimal maintenance compared to other contraceptive methods.

Women who cannot or prefer not to use estrogen-containing contraceptives

Copper IUDs and hormonal IUDs (levonorgestrel-releasing) are suitable for women who cannot or prefer not to use estrogen-containing contraceptives.

Women with medical conditions necessitating a hormonal IUD

Women who suffer from heavy bleeding, cramps that disrupt their daily activities, and those with endometrial hyperplasia may benefit from the Mirena IUD.

Women who want a reversible contraceptive method

IUDs are reversible, and fertility usually returns quickly after removal.

Benefits of getting an IUD

Intrauterine devices (IUDs) offer several benefits as a form of contraception, making them a popular choice for many individuals. Here are some of the benefits of getting an IUD:

Highly effective

IUDs are among the most effective forms of contraception. Once inserted, they provide long-term protection against pregnancy, with a very low failure rate.

Long-term contraception

Depending on the type of IUD, they can provide protection against pregnancy for several years. This makes them suitable for individuals who want a reliable, long-term contraceptive method without the need for daily attention.

Convenient

Once an IUD is inserted, there's no need for daily or monthly maintenance. It provides continuous contraception without requiring action on the part of the user.

Reversible

IUDs are reversible, and fertility typically returns quickly after removal. This makes them a suitable choice for individuals who may want to conceive in the future.

Hormone-free option (Copper IUD)

The copper IUD is a hormone-free option for those who prefer to avoid hormonal contraceptives. It releases copper into the uterus, creating an environment that is toxic to sperm and preventing fertilization.

Reduced menstrual bleeding (Mirena IUD)

Hormonal IUDs, such as the Mirena IUD that contains levonorgestrel, can lead to lighter and less painful menstrual periods. Some individuals may even experience a reduction in menstrual bleeding or stop having periods altogether.

Privacy

IUDs provide discreet contraception without the need for daily or intimate routines, as is the case with some other methods.

Lower risk of user error

Unlike methods that require daily attention (such as oral contraceptives), IUDs have a lower risk of failure due to user error, making them a reliable option.

Protection against endometrial cancer

The use of hormonal IUDs has been associated with a reduced risk of endometrial cancer.

Potential side effects of an IUD

While intrauterine devices (IUDs) are generally safe and effective, they can be associated with some side effects and risks. It's important to note that individual experiences with IUDs can vary, and not everyone will experience these side effects. Here are some potential side effects of IUDs:

Cramping and discomfort

Some individuals may experience cramping or discomfort, especially during and shortly after the insertion of the IUD. This is usually temporary and can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers.

Irregular bleeding

Changes in menstrual bleeding patterns are common with both hormonal and copper IUDs. This can include irregular periods, spotting between periods, or heavier or lighter bleeding. For some individuals, menstrual bleeding may become more predictable and lighter, while others may experience increased bleeding.

Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)

While the risk is low, there is a slight increased risk of developing PID during the first few weeks after IUD insertion. This risk is higher in individuals with multiple sexual partners or a history of sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Prompt treatment of any suspected STIs is important before getting an IUD.

Expulsion

In some cases, the IUD may partially or completely come out of the uterus. This is more likely to happen in the first few months after insertion. If expulsion occurs, the individual may become at risk of pregnancy.

Perforation

In rare cases, the IUD may puncture the uterine wall during insertion. This is a serious but rare complication. It may require surgical intervention to remove the IUD.

Hormonal side effects (for hormonal/Mirena IUDs)

Some individuals using hormonal IUDs may experience hormonal side effects such as mood changes, breast tenderness, or changes in libido.

Allergic reaction (for copper IUDs)

While uncommon, some individuals may be allergic to the copper in copper IUDs, leading to an adverse reaction.

In conclusion

In conclusion, intrauterine devices (IUDs) offer a highly effective, convenient, and reversible contraceptive option for many individuals. Whether opting for a hormonal or non-hormonal IUD, the choice depends on personal preferences, health considerations, and future family planning goals. With their low user-dependent failure rate and long-term protection, IUDs provide a discreet and reliable solution for those seeking a hassle-free and effective contraceptive method. Open communication with a healthcare provider is crucial for tailored advice, ensuring that the chosen contraceptive aligns with an individual's unique health needs and lifestyle.

Book IUD Insertion Packages, both hormonal and non-hormonal today on mykindred.co!*

*A recent copy of your doctor’s prescription is required before checking out.

 

Last medically reviewed on February 6, 2024.