Giving birth is one of the most rewarding experiences in a woman’s life. However, when to get pregnant is an important choice that each woman must make for herself. If you are sexually active but not ready to assume the responsibilities of parenthood, it is wise to explore your birth control options.
There are many forms of contraception available. One of the most popular in recent decades is the intrauterine device (IUD). That’s because IUDs are not only safe and convenient to use by women of all ages, but they are also more than 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy. An IUD is inserted through the vagina and implanted in the uterus, where it protects against pregnancy by preventing sperm from reaching an egg.
The only question is, which type of IUD is right for you? Let’s examine the pros and cons of each type.
Most Popular IUDs
There are basically two types of IUDs – the progestin IUD and the copper IUD. The progestin IUD is a small, T-shaped appliance with the hormone progestin that is inserted into the uterus, where it provides up to three to five years of protection against pregnancy. Once it is removed, you can become pregnant. The copper IUD is an intrauterine device that keeps sperm from reaching or fertilizing an egg and may keep the egg from attaching to the lining of the uterus. Just as effective as the progestin IUD, copper IUDs provide protection for up to 10 years.
In terms of specific brands of IUDs, your options include:
Paragard® Copper IUD
This is the only hormone-free IUD that can be in place for up to 10 years. Since the device doesn’t contain hormones, it won’t change the timing of your menstrual cycle. However, you may experience heavier, longer, or more painful periods during the first year of insertion.
All four types of hormonal IUDs contain levonorgestrel (LNG), a type of progesterone. With this type of IUD, you may have several months of more frequent irregular light spotting and bleeding as your uterine lining adjusts to the presence of the hormone. The dose of LNG, its effect on your period, the size of the IUD, and the amount of time the device is approved for use can vary.
- Mirena® IUD – This 52mg LNG IUD can be used for up to five years. It is also approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for the treatment of heavy and painful periods. Most women who use the Mirena IUD experience lighter or short periods, and some don’t have any periods at all (amenorrhea). However, as soon as the IUD is removed, their periods return.
- Liletta® IUD – Another 52mg LNG, Liletta is a generic and more affordable alternative to Mirena. It is approved by the FDA for six years of use as opposed to five. Nevertheless, it offers all of the same benefits as Mirena.
- Kyleena® IUD – This 19mg LNG is slightly smaller than Mirena and Liletta and can be in place for up to five years. Designed to fit more easily into the uterus of a woman who has never given birth, it tends to have a more comfortable insertion process. However, with its lower dose of hormone, it has less effect on reducing menstrual bleeding, with only 20 percent of users achieving amenorrhea.
- Skyla® IUD – This 13mg LNG IUD is the lowest dose and shortest device with the lowest rate of amenorrhea (12 percent). It is the same size as the Kyleena IUD and can be in place for up to three years.
All of these IUDs share similar levels of effectiveness and discomfort with insertion. All of them can be removed if you decide to get pregnant before the device is expired.
Choosing the right IUD for you is entirely your personal decision. However, it is helpful to consider what your periods are like when you are not using any kind of hormonal birth control. If they tend to be heavy and painful, a Mirena or Liletta IUD may be your best option. Or, if you prefer to keep getting your period each month, the Paragard or Kyleena IUD may be your best choice.
IUDs and Other Contraceptives Near You in Kent, Washington
Your FamilyCare of Kent provider can answer any questions you have and help you make the decision about the right IUD for you. We offer safe and gentle IUD insertions and removals.
Whatever health challenges you may be facing, FamilyCare of Kent provides appropriate medical care for women of all ages and walks of life. In addition, our board-certified and experienced nurse practitioners provide quality primary care for your entire family in a comforting environment that is close to home.
To learn more and to take advantage of our outstanding and compassionate services, call FamilyCare of Kent today at (253) 859-2273 (CARE) to schedule an appointment. Or, if you prefer, simply use our convenient online request form.