Pros and cons of using IUDs to prevent pregnancy

In a recent article in PopSugar, Shao-Chun Rose Chang-Jackson, MD, FACOG, Obstetrics/Gynecology (Ob/Gyn), at ARC Center Street joined in a conversation about using an intrauterine device (IUD) for birth control. An IUD is a T-shaped device that's inserted through the cervix and into the uterus, where it works to prevent pregnancy.

"There are two types of IUDs available in the US. One contains a hormone, and the other contains copper,” says Dr. Chang-Jackson. Both types work the same way to prevent pregnancy, though their mechanisms are different from other forms of birth control. For example, the pill typically prevents ovulation. The IUD doesn't do that, but it still keeps the egg from being fertilized.

Side effects

"Side effects include changes in menstrual flow and cramping for the first couple of months," says Dr. Chang-Jackson. "There are rare instances when an IUD can be dislodged or migrate. If this happens, it may be less effective as a contraceptive device and will need to be removed and replaced. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) has also been linked to IUD use. But the risk is very low following the first three weeks after insertion."

What can an IUD do, and not do?

"It is very important to understand that IUDs protect against pregnancy but not against sexually transmitted infections," Dr. Chang-Jackson adds. So, while you'll be protected from pregnancy as long as you have the IUD, you should use a barrier method, such as a condom, to prevent STIs.

Other questions covered in the PopSugar article include:

  • How long does an IUD last?
  • Why are IUDs so effective at preventing pregnancy?
  • Who is a good candidate for an IUD?
  • Is IUD insertion painful?

Make an appointment today

If you would like to make an appointment with Dr. Chang-Jackson, you can do so by calling ARC Center Street at 737-404-0347 or Book Now online.

Tags: intrauterine device, PopSugar, IUD