Birth control is a top priority for many women. And there are a variety of options to choose from these days -- so many that it may be hard to pick one. Your doctor can help narrow the selection since not all methods of birth control are right for every woman.
Birth control pills, for instance, are a nonstarter if you smoke or have a history of blood clots. You also must remember to take the pill as directed, which may be hard when life gets busy.
Condoms are an excellent choice for protecting your health. But the CDC notes that, annually, 18 of every 100 women in the United States who rely on condoms for birth control end up pregnant.
The intrauterine device (IUD) beats the pill in effectiveness and ease of use, and it’s gaining in popularity as a long acting-acting birth control option. But women sometimes skip over this obvious choice because of a few rumors they’ve heard about the IUD.
Learn a few facts about the IUD before you take a pass on this safe and effective method of birth control.
Myth: IUDs can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) and infertility
Fact: One brand that was on the market back in the early 1970s did cause infections and a host of other, sometimes tragic, medical concerns for many women. That IUD was banned from use more than 40 years ago.
Today’s IUDs are one of the safest methods of birth control available, and they have very few side effects.
Myth: IUDs are uncomfortable
Fact: It can be uncomfortable to have an IUD inserted, as it may cause cramping as it’s placed, but the procedure itself is fast -- five minutes or less. You might experience slight cramping now and then for a couple of days afterward, much like mild period cramps, along with spotty bleeding.
After that, however, it may be hard to remember you have an IUD. And many women with IUDs in place experience lighter bleeding during their periods and milder menstrual cramps.
Myth: You can get pregnant with an IUD
Fact: Anything is possible, but the risk of getting pregnant with an IUD is less than 1%. Permanent sterilization is the only method that beats the IUD in efficacy.
Depending on the type you choose, an IUD can provide safe, consistent, and effective birth control for 3-12 years. When you decide you want to become pregnant or want to switch to another birth control option, an IUD is simple to remove.
If an IUD isn’t for you
Although an IUD offers many benefits, there is a myriad of other safe and effective birth control options available.
- Hormonal implants, which are long-acting and reversible contraceptives inserted just under the skin, usually in your arm
- Short-acting hormonal medications, including the pill, patch, shot, or vaginal ring
- Barrier methods such as a condom, diaphragm, or sponge, which you must use every time you have sex and are often much less effective than other methods of birth control
And if you’re sure about not having children in the future, female tubal ligation and male vasectomy offer permanent options. Remember, though, that you must use another form of birth control for about three months after these procedures.
Call one of our offices or book an appointment online with Dr. Kushner for more information regarding birth control and which option might work best for you.