IUD – What You Need to Know About This Modern-Day Contraception

IUD - What You Need to Know About This Modern-Day Contraception

You’re busy. You’re birth control is a priority but it’s not something you want to have think about constantly. Fortunately, at Delaware Valley ObGyn our providers can offer you a variety of contraception options that fit into your lifestyle and have pregnancy-prevention staying power. One of those options includes Intrauterine devices or IUDs.

What is an IUD?

IUDs are long-acting reversible contraceptives. This means they prevent pregnancy for years, but they can be removed to restore fertility.

IUDs are 99 percent effective in protecting against pregnancy compared to 85 percent for condoms and 91 percent for the pill. Basically, you benefit from having a highly effective form of birth control that you barely need to think about.

There are two categories of IUDs: hormonal and non-hormonal. There is one non-hormonal IUD – the ParaGard. There are four hormonal IUDs. After a review of your health history and lifestyle, you and your provider will determine which IUD is the best type for you.

Those using IUDs should be conscious of the fact that IUD’s do not protect against HIV or other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Are IUDs painful?

All IUDs have the same basic look—plastic and T-shaped—and they’re all inserted through the cervix into your uterus. There are small strings on the end that let you know it is in place properly.

Insertion is different for everyone. For some women, especially those who’ve had children, it’s a minor annoyance. For others it can be painful, particularly if the doctor needs to open the cervix more for insertion.

The good news is that it is over in a few minutes and the whole appointment should not take more than 30-45 minutes. The bad news is that you might experience cramping or spotting for three to six months after insertion. Removing an IUD usually requires a short visit to our office.

Here’s what you need to know about the five different IUDs available right now:


How it works: Paragard is the only brand of non-hormonal IUD in the U.S. Wrapped in thin copper, it causes an inflammatory response in your body which prevents sperm from getting through your cervix.

You should consider this: If you want to avoid synthetic hormones, women who have normal to light flow and who want the longest option.

Side effects: Increased menstrual bleeding, increased cramps, random spotting and anemia.

How long it lasts: According to ParaGard’s website, the device lasts for 10 years.

Don’t Consider This: If your cramps and bleeding are already bad, then a non-hormonal IUD probably isn’t for you.


How it works: Mirena releases a synthetic form of progesterone that thins out your uterine lining and can prevent your ovaries from releasing an egg. All of which prevents any rogue sperm from latching onto an egg and fertilizing it.

You should consider this: If you experience heavy menstrual periods.

Side effects: Significantly lighter period or no period at all, breakthrough bleeding, ovarian cysts, nausea and mood changes.

How long it lasts: According to Mirena’s website, the device lasts for five years.

Don’t consider This: If you’re prone to ovarian cysts, if react badly to progestin or if you’re hesitant about not having a period at all.


How it works: Liletta works exactly like the Mirena, except it uses slightly less amounts of hormones and the amount decreases a little each year. However, this decrease does not hinder effectiveness.

You should consider this: If you’re shopping for an option that is lower in cost.

Side effects: Ovarian cysts, lighter period or no period at all, breakthrough bleeding, nausea and mood changes.

How long it lasts: Four years, according to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Don’t consider this: If you react badly to synthetic progesterone or are prone to ovarian cysts.


How it works: Kyleena works just like Mirena and Liletta but contains slightly less of the hormone—the second lowest dose you can find in a hormonal IUD.

You should consider this: If you still want ample protection but also want a regular period.

Side effects: Nausea, breakthrough bleeding, mood changes, and ovarian cysts. It can also lessen or stop your period.

How long does it last: According to Kyleena’s website, five years.

Don’t consider this: If you react badly to synthetic hormones.


How it works: Skyla works just like all four previously mentioned IUDs. It releases the smallest amount of hormones and is the smallest in size. This makes it easier to insert.

You should consider this: If you haven’t had children or have a tight cervix or those who want to keep getting periods while they’re protected

Side effects: Lighter bleeding, cysts, nausea and mood swings.

How long does it last: According to Skyla’s website; three years.

Don’t consider this: If you like protection for more than three years.

Interested in learning more about IUDs or other forms of contraception, schedule an appointment with one of our providers online HERE or call us at 609-896-0777.

Our Locations

Lawrenceville Office

2 Princess Rd Suite C, Lawrenceville, NJ 08648

Princeton Office

8 Forrestal Rd - Suite 102 Princeton, NJ 08540

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