"I've been hearing a lot of people talk about IUDs. How do they work and are they safe?"
There has been a lot of buzz in recent years about IUDs, mostly because they are one of the most effective and long-lasting forms of birth control.
An IUD (intrauterine device) is a small, “T-shaped” device made of flexible plastic. A health care provider inserts an IUD into a woman’s uterus to prevent pregnancy.
There are two brands of IUD available in the United States — ParaGard and Mirena. The ParaGard IUD contains copper and is effective for 12 years. The Mirena IUD releases a small amount of progestin, a hormone, and is effective for 5 years. They both work by affecting the way sperm move so they can’t join with an egg. If sperm cannot join with an egg, pregnancy cannot happen.
Less than 1 out of 100 women will get pregnant each year if they use the ParaGard or the Mirena IUD.
Most women can use either the ParaGard or the Mirena IUD safely. But all medications have some risks, so safety is a common concern when choosing a birth control method. Certain conditions increase the risk of side effects. Talk with your health care provider about your health and whether an IUD is likely to be safe for you. For more information, visit http://www.plannedparenthood.org/health-topics/birth-control/iud-4245.htm