IUD (cont.)

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What are the advantages of an intrauterine device (IUD)?

The advantages of the IUD include the fact that it is highly effective in preventing conception, is reversible, and starts working almost immediately. A woman with an IUD does not need to use other birth control methods before she has sexual intercourse, and once the IUD is removed, there is a quick return to fertility. The levonorgestrel-releasing IUD (99% effectiveness) is replaced every five years. The copper IUD is also 99% effective and only needs to be replaced every 10 years.

What are the side effects of an intrauterine device (IUD)?

Side effects of the IUD are limited primarily to the uterus. These include:

  • cramps,
  • spotting,
  • heavy menstrual flow,
  • infection,
  • pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and
  • infertility.

It is also possible for the IUD to pass through (perforate) the uterine wall and enter the abdominal cavity, where it must be retrieved surgically. Perforation of or trauma to the uterus by the IUD occurs in 1/1,000 insertions. Warning signs of possible complications from an IUD include abdominal pain, heavy bleeding, abnormal spotting or bleeding, and a smelly vaginal discharge. If a woman experiences any of these signs, she should contact her health care professional.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/10/2014

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Birth Control - IUDs Question: Do you or your partner use an intrauterine device for birth control? Have you found it effective?
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