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Intrauterine Device: IUD FAQ

Intrauterine devices (IUDs) have become a popular choice for individuals seeking a reliable and long-term method of birth control. Placed within the uterine cavity, these small T-shaped devices prevent pregnancy by offering long-term contraceptive benefits.

If you’re considering an IUD or have questions about your reproductive health, the experts at Walk-In Gynecology & Women’s Care by Maiden Lane Medical are here to help. Our experienced gynecologists can provide personalized advice and guidance tailored to your unique needs. Visit our walk-in clinic in Murray Hill, NY to take the first step towards informed and empowered reproductive health decisions.

A woman wondering how IUDs work.

What is an IUD?

An intrauterine device (IUD) is a small, T-shaped contraceptive device that is inserted into the uterine cavity to prevent pregnancy. There are two main types of IUDs: hormonal and non-hormonal (copper). 

  • Hormonal IUDs release a low dose of progestin, a synthetic form of the hormone progesterone, which thickens cervical mucus, inhibits sperm movement, alters the lining of the uterus (endometrium), and may partially prevent ovulation. 
  • Copper IUDs, on the other hand, do not contain hormones; instead, they release copper ions, creating an environment that is toxic to sperm, thus preventing fertilization.

IUDs are considered highly effective, long-lasting, and reversible forms of contraception. Unlike birth control pills, IUDs require minimal maintenance and provide continuous protection, making them an attractive option for many.

How Effective are IUDs in Preventing Pregnancy?

IUDs are among the most effective forms of birth control, with a success rate of over 99%. This is because, once inserted, IUDs work continuously to prevent pregnancy, making them a reliable choice for individuals seeking a hassle-free contraceptive method.

Once inserted into the uterus, IUDs act as a reliable, long-term contraceptive method. Hormonal IUDs release progestin, inhibiting sperm from reaching the egg, while copper IUDs create an environment hostile to sperm.

Their set-and-forget nature makes IUDs a convenient choice, eliminating the need for daily attention. With less than 1% of users experiencing unintended pregnancies, IUDs stand out as a highly efficient and reversible option for those seeking a dependable way to prevent pregnancy.

Who is an Ideal Candidate for an IUD?

An ideal candidate for an IUD is often someone seeking long-term and highly effective contraception. Individuals who may find IUDs particularly suitable are those looking for a low-maintenance option that doesn’t require daily attention, such as remembering to take a pill.

Women who prefer hormonal birth control may opt for hormonal IUDs—like Mirena, Skyla, or Kyleena—as they release a steady, low dose of hormones locally. IUDs generally cause patients to have lighter menses. However, one of the most common side effects of an IUD is unscheduled spotting or bleeding.

Potential candidates must consult with their healthcare provider to assess individual health considerations and determine if an IUD aligns with their contraceptive needs and preferences.

A gynecologist explaining how an IUD is inserted.

Does IUD Insertion Hurt?

IUD insertion is a quick and relatively simple procedure performed by a healthcare provider. While some individuals may experience mild discomfort, the process is generally well-tolerated.

Pain during IUD insertion is subjective and varies among individuals; however, the process is generally well-tolerated. Some may feel minor discomfort, similar to menstrual cramps, while others may not experience any significant pain.

If you’re considering an IUD, discussing the procedure with your healthcare provider can alleviate any concerns you may have.

Why is an Ultrasound Needed for an IUD Placement?

Ultrasound plays a crucial role in the accurate and safe placement of intrauterine devices (IUDs). Before insertion, healthcare providers often use ultrasound imaging to assess the size, shape, and position of the uterus. This helps ensure the IUD is suitable for the individual’s anatomy.

During the actual insertion procedure, real-time ultrasound guidance allows the healthcare provider to visualize the precise placement of the IUD within the uterine cavity. This helps prevent complications such as perforation or improper positioning.

Ultrasound technology enhances the overall precision and effectiveness of IUD placement, contributing to the reliability and safety of this popular contraceptive method.

How Much Does IUD Insertion Cost?

The cost of an IUD can vary depending on factors such as location, healthcare provider, and insurance coverage. For IUD users, both the Mirena IUD and hormonal IUDs (like Skyla or Kyleena) typically range from $0 to $1,300. Many insurance plans cover the full cost or a significant portion of it.

A copper IUD, such as ParaGard, can be a more cost-effective option for some users, with prices ranging from $0 to $1,300 as well. It’s important for individuals considering an IUD to check with their insurance provider and healthcare professional to get accurate cost estimates and determine the most suitable option for their needs.

What are the Risks and Side Effects Associated with IUDs?

While intrauterine devices (IUDs) are generally safe and effective, they do carry some risks and potential side effects. Common side effects may include cramping, spotting, and changes in menstrual cycle bleeding patterns, which may be temporary and improve over time.

Some users may experience pelvic pain or discomfort, especially during the initial days after insertion. In rare cases, IUDs can lead to more serious complications, such as uterine perforation during insertion or expulsion of the device.

Additionally, hormonal IUDs may cause hormonal side effects like breast tenderness, mood changes, or acne—similar to those associated with other hormonal birth control methods. It’s essential for individuals considering an IUD to discuss their medical history with a healthcare professional to assess potential risks and choose the most suitable contraceptive option for them since copper IUDs can occasionally cause a mild increase in menstrual bleeding and cramping.

Take Care of Your Reproductive Health!

For expert guidance on IUDs and your reproductive health, schedule a consultation with our expert gynecologists at Walk-In Gynecology & Women’s Care by Maiden Lane Medical. Our dedicated specialists are ready to address your concerns and provide personalized advice.

Schedule a consultation today or visit our walk-in clinic in Murray Hill, New York, to make informed choices about your contraceptive needs. Your reproductive health matters, and we’re here to support you every step of the way! 

Medically Reviewed By

Fernando Mariz, MD
Obstetrics and Gynecology

Expert Medical Services

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