Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are among the most effective forms of birth control, preventing more than 99.5% of pregnancies. They last 3-10 years and are relatively simple to put in place.
IUDs put you in control of your fertility, allowing you to become pregnant when you want to. Despite the benefits of IUDs, there are some myths surrounding this form of contraceptive.
Our team at the Center for Women’s Health in Wichita, Kansas, wants you to have the facts. Read on as we dispel six common myths about IUDs.
Myth 1: IUDs are only for women with children
Some women mistakenly believe that IUDs can only be used by older women and women who have had children. This stems from the fact that younger women and women who haven't had children have smaller uterine cavities and cervical diameters.
The fact is that almost any woman can use an IUD. It’s true that having children slightly increases the size of the uterus, but there are smaller IUDs for women who have not had children.
Myth 2: IUDs can lead to infertility
One of the first IUD models produced in the 1970s was linked to infections that can cause infertility. The early model had a design flaw that carried bacteria into the uterus. But this isn't the case today. The early IUD models have long been removed from the market.
Currently available IUDs are safe and do not impair fertility once removed.
Myth 3: Getting an IUD is painful
Anyone who has ever considered getting an IUD has probably also heard that it is extremely painful. This may have deterred you from considering an IUD.
While getting an IUD placed can cause some discomfort, many women describe it as similar to getting a Pap smear or a menstrual cramp. Everyone's pain threshold varies, but most women handle it just fine.
Before we insert an IUD, you have the option of taking ibuprofen to help with cramping.
Myth 4: IUDs can fall out
Some women avoid IUDs because they believe that they require maintenance and can fall out. Technically, an IUD can fall out or move around inside the uterus, but it’s unlikely. Most of the time, IUDs stay in place without any problems.
You can check to see if your IUD is in the proper position on your own.
Myth 5: All IUDs contain hormones
Some women have underlying health conditions that prevent them from using hormonal contraceptives. Others simply prefer hormone-free options. There’s a myth that hormonal IUDs are the only option.
In truth, IUDs are classified into two categories. There’s the copper IUD, which prevents sperm from swimming to the egg, and the hormonal IUD, which both prevents ovulation and creates an environment in which sperm cannot travel.
There’s one copper brand that’s approved for use in the United States (ParaGard). If you cannot or prefer not to use hormonal contraceptives, you can choose the copper IUD. It doesn’t contain any hormones.
Myth 6: IUDs make sex uncomfortable
You may think IUDs can make sex uncomfortable or that your partner can feel it, but that isn’t the case. We place the IUD inside the uterus at the very top, where your partner won’t feel it. Plastic strings are attached to the end and are threaded through the cervix and into the vagina.
The strings should be long enough to reach behind the cervix. The average vagina is about 6 inches long, with the cervix at the very top. The strings are soft enough that you or your partner should not be bothered by them.
If you or your partner are experiencing discomfort during sex, contact us to ensure that the IUD is properly placed and not partially protruding from your uterus.
There are numerous other myths about IUDs and other forms of contraceptives. To get the facts, speak with our experts at the Center for Women’s Health to learn more about IUDs. IUDs offer many women an unrivaled safe, convenient, and affordable birth control option for as long as you need it.
When you’re ready to start a family, we can remove your IUD, and you’re ready to start trying right away. For more information or to make an appointment, call our Wichita, Kansas, office to schedule a visit today.