Q. What is an IUD?
A. IUD stands for intrauterine device, which basically means a device in your uterus. This type of birth control is shaped like a T and placed inside your uterus. It works by stopping sperm from reaching and fertilizing eggs, thus preventing pregnancy.
There are two types of IUDs, hormonal and copper. Hormonal IUDs release small amounts of progestin into your body to prevent pregnancy, similar to the pill. Copper IUDs are hormone free and trigger your immune system to prevent pregnancy.
Q. How effective is it?
A. One reason your OBGYN may recommend an IUD is because of its effectiveness. When places correctly, the chance of getting pregnant while you have an IUD is less than 1 percent.
Q. How is it placed?
A. You’ll have to visit your OBGYN to have an IUD placed and it starts similar to a Pap Smear procedure. You’ll put your feet in the stirrups and your OBGYN will then use a speculum to open your vagina. They will then put the IUD in a small tube that is inserted through the cervix and into the vagina. Once the IUD is pushed out of the tube, the tube is pulled out.
Afterward, you will have a string that hangs one to two inches into the vagina. This is used by your OBGYN to remove it when you are ready.
Q. Does it hurt?
A. Having an IUD inserted can be uncomfortable. Your OBGYN may recommend you take over the counter pain medication prior to your appointment. After, you may experience cramping and spotting, so a heating pad and pain medication may help after as well.
Q. How long does an IUD last?
A. How long an IUD lasts depends on the kind you get. But, they typically last anywhere from three to five years. Copper IUDs can last up to ten years.
Contact your top Alpharetta and Atlanta OBGYN for your obstetrics and gynecology care.