I am sick of worrying about birth control and know I don’t want to get pregnant for at least 3-5 years. What do lady doctors use? I mean they must know a thing or two about birth control and their lady parts, right?
Dear SuzyKnew Reader:
The IUD is one of the most popular methods among female physicians- the ultimate busy professional woman.
IUDs are safe, highly effective and low-maintenance. There are two types, hormonal and hormone-free. Here are a few IUD facts:
*IUDs are classified as LARCs or long-lasting reversible contraceptive methods, meaning they work for a long time, but are reversible at anytime. Many women report getting pregnant the first month or two after the IUD is removed. Many women keep their IUDs in for the maximum time and then get a new one.
*Looking for a highly effective birth control method? The IUD ranks in at 99%.
*They are easy to start using, and immediately effective with no wait time. An IUD can be inserted in a few minutes in your doctor’s office. Pain associated with the procedure is highly individualized, but most patients experience mild cramping.
*No need to re-up your supply or obtain a script with the IUD. Once it’s in you just check the strings every month and see your doctor once a year for your annual exam.
*It’s affordable and most insurance plans pay for the device, as well as insertion and removal. Even if your plan doesn’t pay, you may look at the cost of the IUD over spread over several years of no cost for contraception (besides condoms for safe sex!).
*IUD use has increased among American women in all age groups and races over the past several years. Maybe it has to do wit the increase in busy professional women. It’s used by a lot of European women- 27% of women in Norway and 19% of women in France.
So if you are ready for a IUD, how do you choose which one? There are two products available in the U.S.- Mirena and ParaGard. I developed a little chart to help you. Also, please refer to My Method, a great interactive tool that can help you find the best method for your lifestyle and needs.
|Effectiveness in years||Up to 5 years||Up to 10 years|
|Contains hormones||Releases progesterone only so it can be used by breastfeeding women and does not have side effects related to estrogen||Does not contain hormones. The copper-filament makes it more effective.|
|Use by women with no children (nulliparous)||Package insert says it’s intended for women with at least one child, although there is debate on this. Best to go with your doctor’s advice.||Package insert was changed in 2005 to allow for use among nulliparous women.|
|Side effect- bleeding||Most women have lighter periods that can stop altogether.||Many women have heavier periods for the first six months. This may be a factor if you are anemic or are starting off with heavy periods.|
|Side effect- cramping||Most women have little or no cramping.||Many women experience longer, crampier periods on ParaGard.|