Myths and Facts About IUDs

Most people who’ve looked into getting birth control have probably heard of intrauterine devices, or IUDs. The device is a small, t-shaped contraceptive that is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. The results can last for 3-12 years, and once it’s removed, fertility can go back to normal.


Now more than ever, women are using IUDs as their preferred form of birth control. With more than 4.4 million users in the United States, this newer form of birth control is gaining popularity for its convenience. But with all the talk and information out there, it can be hard to distinguish fact from fiction. The team at Tahoe Women’s Care is pleased to explain some common facts and myths about IUDs, so you can decide if an IUD is right for you.

FACT: IUDs are a very effective form of birth control

One of the main reasons why women are turning to IUDs for birth control is because of their effectiveness. Research shows that fewer than 1 out of 100 women get pregnant when using an IUD. Comparatively, 6-9 women out of 100 get pregnant when relying on oral contraceptives. This may be explained by the IUD’s ability to function without human error, whereas oral contraceptives rely solely on routine consumption.

MYTH: The insertion process is incredibly painful

You may have ruled out getting an IUD because you’ve heard rumors that the process of inserting the device is very painful. Most women only experience mild discomfort. Many patients describe the feeling as being similar to menstrual cramps, with the feeling only lasting about five minutes. 

Many women believe the effectiveness of an IUD is well worth the few minutes of discomfort. However, everyone’s body and pain tolerance is different, so if you’re worried about the process, we suggest scheduling a consultation with Gary Willen, MD, to address your concerns.

FACT: IUDs are safe

Unless you have liver disease, breast cancer, or are at a high risk of developing breast cancer, Hormonal IUDs are considered safe. For those who wish to have hormone-free birth control, there is a copper IUD option available. Copper IUDs are safe for women who don’t have Wilson's disease or a copper allergy. 

MYTH: IUDs are uncomfortable during sex

Once the initial cramps subside from an IUD insertion, there is generally no reason a woman would experiece discomfort during sex. In fact, some women feel they enjoy sex even more with an IUD because they aren’t worried about getting pregnant. In some cases, men have noticed they are able to feel the strings of the IUD during sex usually if the strings are too long. However, most don’t describe the sensation as painful, but rather just different. This can easily be fixed by going to your health care provider to trim the IUD’s strings. 

Is an IUD right for you?

Just because IUDs are safe and effective doesn’t mean they’re right for you. There are many women who prefer taking oral contraceptives or using condoms. Some prefer getting the birth control shot, while others stick to abstinence. Everyone has a different preference, and only you can decide which one best suits your body and lifestyle. 

To learn more about IUDs and other forms of birth control, book an appointment online or over the phone with Tahoe Women’s Care today.

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