As a method of birth control, the IUD (which stands for intrauterine device) is simple–it is a small T-shaped device that fits in the uterus, in which it prevents sperm from being able to fertilize an egg during ovulation. Some IUDs discharge small amounts of progestin in addition to physically blocking fertilization. This hormone thickens the mucus in the uterus, making it more difficult for sperm to get into the uterus, and keeps the lining of the uterus thin, so if sperm does manage to get past the cervical mucus and then fertilize an egg, the egg will not be able to easily attach to it.
According to the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG), the IUD is one of the most effective kinds of reversible birth control accessible; actually, it’s as effective as sterilization. During the first year, fewer than one in 100 women using an IUD will become pregnant.
Besides being highly effective, the IUD has many benefits over other forms of birth control. For starters, depending on which type you use, you’ll be protected from having an unplanned pregnancy for many years. The ParaGard IUD (also called Copper IUD, is non-hormonal, and can be left in position for up to 10 decades. The progestin-releasing IUDs aren’t successful for quite so long, but nevertheless provide years of security: The Mirena IUD is effective for five decades and the Skyla IUD is good for 3 years.
The majority of women can use an IUD with no issue. People who shouldn’t include women who:
- Have had PID (pelvic inflammatory disease)
- currently have an untreated pelvic infection
- have a sexual partner who has more than one sexual partner
Do You want a New IUD If you’ve got a New Partner?
The IUD is a safe and effective form of birth control. It’s also ideal for women who may find it challenging to remember to take a pill each day, or who do not like dealing with birth control methods like the diaphragm or condom.
Nevertheless, it is one of the most misunderstood methods of pregnancy prevention. One predominant myth is that if a woman has a new sex partner, she must replace her IUD with a fresh one. The truth is, there is no medical reason to change out your IUD if you switch your sexual partner. A few of the confusion around this idea stems from misinformation. In the past, IUD use by women who hadn’t had kids in addition to people who had different sex partners was wrongly connected to medical conditions such as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility.
The truth is that STIs are connected to an increased risk of PID. Since the IUD doesn’t protect against disease, women who use an IUD and have several partners may be at higher risk of developing PID and also of getting sterile –but just because they are at higher risk of getting an STI if they don’t also use protection against infection. So as you don’t have to think about altering your IUD if you begin having sex with a different spouse, it is extremely important to use condoms also. Better still, you and your new partner could think about getting tested for STIs before you become intimate.