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While intrauterine devices (IUDs) have been available since the early 1900s, they’ve become a far more popular choice for birth control in the last 15 years. For example, in the 1990s, only 1.5% of women* used an IUD, and now 7.8% of American women use IUDs for birth control. In fact, since 2016, the insertion rate for IUDs has increased from 13.4 insertions per day per 100,000 women to 16.3 per day per 100,000 women.
So why are IUDs so popular?
An IUD is a small T-shaped contraceptive device that your women’s health provider places into your uterus. Unlike many other types of contraception, you can choose between hormonal and nonhormonal IUDs. Nonhormonal IUDs are an excellent option for women who have struggled with unwanted side effects from birth control pills and other hormonal options.
Nonhormonal IUDs are wrapped in copper wire, which repels sperm and prevents it from reaching and fertilizing your egg. It doesn’t interfere with your menstrual cycle or ovulation. It simply prevents pregnancy.
Hormonal IUDs slowly release hormones that work much like birth control pills and other hormonal contraception options. They thicken your cervical mucus to block sperm. Some brands of hormonal IUDs also stop ovulation.
IUDs are popular contraceptive choices for many reasons.
IUDs are more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. There is no chance of human error with an IUD. For example, you can’t forget to take a pill or have another medication interfere with the effectiveness of your birth control. IUDs also won’t slip out of place like a condom.
When you have an IUD, you don’t have to think about birth control at all. While the device is in place, it’s working. You don’t have to remember to take a pill or interrupt foreplay. However, IUDs don’t protect you from STDs, so make sure to use a condom with new partners or if you’re in a non-exclusive relationship.
IUDs can stay in place and provide effective contraception for up to 10 years. The hormonal options need to be replaced every 3-7 years, while the nonhormonal option can remain in your uterus for a decade.
Another benefit of an IUD is that your fertility returns as soon as your healthcare provider removes the device. You don’t need to wait for your hormones to rebalance before trying to get pregnant.
There are a few theories about the increasing popularity of IUDs. A medical historian at the University of California – San Francisco believes the increase in IUD use is due to information being more readily available. As an example, she mentions that one of the hormonal IUD options has over 1,300 user reviews on drugs.com. In addition to talking to their healthcare providers, women are doing their own research about their bodies and their options.
Additionally, the Affordable Care Act made contraceptive options such as IUDs a much more affordable option for many women. While IUDs are less expensive in the long run, women may not have had the cash to cover the upfront cost before.
If you’re interested in an IUD and want to find out if it’s right for you, contact Maiden Lane Medical. The team of women’s health care providers offers comprehensive consultations and exams and provides information to help you make an informed and empowered decision about contraception. Call Maiden Lane Medical or schedule an appointment online today.
Heather Jones, MD
Board Certified Gynecologist
90 Maiden Lane, Suite 300, New York, NY 10038
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