Birth Control IUD

Consumers today have a plethora of options when it comes to birth control.  However, with so many choices out there, it can be difficult for the average consumer to even know where to start. Because of this, Nurx is developing a series called “Birth Control FAQs,” where their goal is to empower consumers by answering the most frequently asked questions for each birth control type.  Whether you’re looking to learn more about how the patch works or common side effects from taking “the pill,” Nurx has you covered…starting with IUDs. Nurx doesn’t carry the IUD as a birth control option, but we would be happy to speak to you today to get you started on the pill that’s right for you, at only $5 for your first pack.

What Is an IUD?

If you’ve tried pills, patches, or rings from Nurx and found that they just weren’t right for you, then you might want to consider an IUD. IUD stands for intrauterine device. It’s a small, implantable device that a doctor will insert into your uterus to prevent you from getting pregnant. Currently, they are five types of IUDs available in the United States: Skyla, Mirena, Kyleena, Liletta, and ParaGard. IUDs are extremely effective with low risks of side effects.

How Does an IUD Work?

Image via Flickr by Sarah Mirk

The majority of IUDs (Skyla, Mirena, Kyleena, and Liletta) work by secreting small amounts of the hormone progestin into your uterus. This is the same hormone used in many of the birth control pills we offer at Nurx (such as Safyral), and it helps to make your periods lighter and less symptomatic.

ParaGard works a little bit differently. Instead of using hormones, it is made of copper, which stimulates your immune system to prevent pregnancy.

How Can I Get an IUD?

Unfortunately, an IUD is a little harder to get than many of the birth control pills available through Nurx. When using Nurx, you can order safe and affordable birth control from the comfort of your home. However, to get an IUD, you’ll need to make an appointment with your doctor, as they’ll need to insert the device at the office.

During the procedure, the doctor will go through your cervix to place the IUD into your uterus. Without insurance, this procedure can be pricey — around $900. However, most insurances do offer at least partial coverage of this cost. 

What Are Some Precautions When It Comes to IUDs?

As with all methods of birth control, you should discuss with your doctor whether an IUD is right for you. IUDs do have particular precautions that might make them less ideal than other methods of birth control. For example, they don’t protect against STDs, and they are often slightly painful to insert.

If you’re thinking of taking ParaGard, you also need to make sure you don’t have a copper allergy or Wilson’s disease. This is a problem where your body holds too much copper. If you get an IUD and you have these issues, you could experience headaches, muscle aches, fatigue, mood swings, and problems thinking.

Do IUDs Have Any Side Effects?

IUDs do come with some side effects, though luckily, most are not serious. If you choose ParaGard, you might find that your periods become heavier and you suffer more severe menstrual cramps. For many women, this can be a turnoff, which is why they choose birth control methods that reduce their period pain, such as the combination pill Seasonale. For the other four hormonal IUDs, the main side effect is irregular periods. 

Luckily, nearly all of these side effects go away within six months of implantation as your body adjusts to the device.

There is a very small risk that an IUD can slip out of place. This can cause you to get pregnant, which is why you should check once a month to make sure you can feel your IUD string at the end of your cervix.

Is There Anything Else I Should Know About an IUD?

No matter which type of IUD you choose, it is 99 percent effective at preventing you from getting pregnant. This makes IUDs one of the most effective birth controls on the market. Best of all, IUDs are extremely long-lasting, with effectiveness varying from three to 10 years after insertion depending on the type you choose.

There are some medications you should avoid taking while you have an IUD inserted. You’ll want to skip blood thinners, St. John’s wort, and certain HIV or AIDS medications. To know for certain if your medication is ok to take, get in touch with your doctor or one of our Nurx professionals today.

What Are Some Common IUD FAQs?

Do IUDs cause acne?

Unfortunately, many women do report an increase in acne after having an IUD inserted. This is because progestin gets converted into progesterone in your body, which changes into testosterone and leads to painful, cystic acne in some people. However, every person is different, and if you do experience this side effect, your doctor can prescribe medications to help you better regulate hormones.

Do IUDS hurt?

Once your IUD is inserted, you won’t notice it’s there at all. However, having the IUD inserted can be a bit painful. Right after the procedure, you might have some cramps or bleeding, but this should clear up in one to two days. Because the IUD first has to pass through your cervix before being placed inside your uterus most women experience an uncomfortable feeling during the procedure.

Do IUDs help with cramps?

If you choose one of the hormonal IUDs, they can definitely help with cramps. The progestin in the IUD makes your period lighter and less of a problem on a month-to-month basis. Some women experience cramping when the IUD is first inserted but these subside with 48-72 hours.

Do IUDs Work Right Away?

The good news is that IUDs are effective immediately if they’re inserted within seven days of the start of your last period. Otherwise, you might have to wait a week for full protection. If you’ve chosen ParaGard, it’s always effective immediately.

Will my IUD work when taking antibiotics?

Antibiotics taken for a short term will not reduce the effectiveness of your IUD. For common illnesses, a short term dose of antibiotics will won’t put you at risk for pregnancy.