Recently the American Academy of Pediatrics declared the IUD the best form of birth control for young adults. IUDs are 99% effective at preventing unwanted pregnancy. However, even though the IUD is the most effective birth control on the market, it is only used by 9% of US women. This may be due to fears that the IUD has instilled in the minds of many Americans.
What is the IUD?
The IUD is a small t-shaped device inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. There are two different types of IUDs on the market: Mirena and ParaGard. Mirena is a hormonal IUD that lasts for 5 years. ParaGard is a non-hormonal, copper IUD lasting 10 years. A doctor inserts the IUD during a quick procedure at an office visit.
The IUD has been named the BEST form of birth control for young women. But, due to lack of knowledge and fear, there has not been widespread use. But, many of these fears and myths can be discredited.
Myth #1: You can’t use the IUD until after you have children
In 2012 the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists deemed the IUD safe for teens and young adults. Many women fear that the IUD will interfere with future plans to have children, but the IUD can be removed anytime during an office visit.
Myth #2: IUDs are hazardous and cause infection and infertility
Much of the fear surrounding IUDs stems from an IUD that was available in America in the 1950s. This product, the Dalkon, could cause serious infections in women who became pregnant using it. But, Mirena and Paragard are extremely safe compared to the IUDs of the past. While they do have risks associated with them, the risks are similar, if not less risky, than those associated with other forms of birth control.
Myth #3: The IUD procedure is extremely painful
This isn’t exactly a myth, IUD insertion can be painful, but it varies from person to person. Most women feel fine once they leave the doctor’s office. The pain is often compared to an intense menstrual cramp that goes away after a few minutes.
Myth #4: It is life-threatening to get an STD with an IUD
It is important to know that IUDs do not protect against STDs. However, contracting an STD with an IUD will not automatically lead to serious problems. But, it is extremely important if noticing symptoms to visit an OBgyn. Often, antibiotics will just treat STD symptoms.
Myth #5: The IUD is very expensive
Until the Affordable Care Act, this was true. The IUD did often cost around $900 upfront, but due to new policy changes, many health plans cover all FDA approved forms of birth control. Don’t let fear of cost deter you.
The message is this: don’t stick to one birth control method if you aren’t happy. Do some research and look around—find what works best for you. It just might be the IUD or some other form you haven’t tried yet!