How Does an IUD Prevent Pregnancy?

July 6, 2015

The IUD, which stands for intrauterine device, is a form of birth control becoming more and more popular for women in the United States. These devices, made of flexible plastic, are inserted into the uterus by a healthcare professional. Considered one of the most effective forms of birth control available, IUDs can last between three and 12 years, depending on the type. Learn more about IUDs and how to they prevent pregnancy, here:

Hormonal IUDs Vs. Copper IUDs

There are two types of IUDs, both of which work by preventing the sperm from reaching the egg. Hormonal IUDs release the hormone progestin, which thickens the cervical mucus so sperm cannot get through and also changes the lining of the uterus so a fertilized egg cannot become implanted. A hormonal IUD may even prevent the egg from leaving the ovary in the first place. The two brands of hormonal IUDs are Mirena® and Skyla®, which can be used for five years and three years respectively.

The ParaGard® IUD does not release hormones. Instead, it is wrapped with small amounts of copper that create a chemical reaction in the uterus, making it a spermicide. The copper prevents the sperm from getting through the vagina and uterus to fertilize the egg. The Paragard® IUD can be used for about 10 to 12 years.

Are IUDs a Safe Form of Birth Control?

Safety is a concern when using any kind of medication. However, most women can use an IUD safely, especially when only one sexual partner is involved. Certain preexisting conditions, such as sexually transmitted infections, cancer, and pelvic infection following recent a childbirth or abortion may increase the risk of complications. In rare cases, the IUD can penetrate the uterus and in very rare cases, it can end up outside the uterus. Typically, any complications that result from IUD use are easily treated.

If you’re interested in using an IUD, your healthcare provider will discuss any potential risks and complications and make sure it’s the right choice for you.

How Effective are IUDs?

IUDs are 98 to 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy. They are considered to be one the most effective forms of female birth control on the market. However, it is important to note that IUDs do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases and infections.

Find the Right Birth Control For You

At OB-GYN Women’s Centre of Lakewood Ranch, we provide comprehensive, personalized care for women’s health needs. If you’re looking to start birth control for the first time or are simply exploring your birth control options to find the best lifestyle fit, our physicians will be happy to consult with you. Call us at (941) 907-3008 or schedule an appointment online today!