An IUD for birth control (Intrauterine Device) is a tiny device that is put into your uterus to prevent pregnancy. It is long-term, but not permanent, and is one of the most effective forms of birth control. Currently, there are five different brands of FDA approved IUDs, which are divided into two types: copper IUDS and hormonal IUDs. The copper IUDs do not have hormones and is literally wrapped in a tiny bit of copper. It lasts up to twelve years. Hormonal IUDs use the hormone progestin to prevent pregnancy. The lifetime of these type range from three to seven years.

What are the benefits of using an IUD for birth control?

  • IUDs have a 99% effectiveness rate: You can’t forget to take it like a pill or use it incorrectly like a condom. Using an IUD for birth control is more effective at preventing pregnancy than condoms, the pill, patch, ring, and shot.
  • IUDs can make periods better: Like birth control pills, IUDs can also cut down on cramps and make your period much lighter.
  • IUDs are not permanent: If you decide you want to get pregnant, you can get an IUD removed at any time without any effects on your fertility.

What are the disadvantages?

  • IUDs have side effects: After getting an IUD, side effects are not uncommon. However, they generally go away within three to six months. These symptoms can include pain, cramping, spotting, irregular periods, or heavier periods.
  • IUDs don’t protect against STDs: IUDs are one of the best ways to prevent pregnancy, but they don’t protect against STDs. The safest thing to do is to use condoms with your IUD.

Possible Risks and Complications

  • Perforation: Perforation rarely occurs, but an IUD can be pushed through the wall of the uterus during insertion. It can be discovered and corrected right away, or the IUD may need to be removed.
  • Infection: There is some risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) linked to IUDs, but the risk is very low. Most cases of infection develop within three weeks and are rare after.
  • Expulsion: It’s possible for the IUD to partially or completely slip out of the uterus. The risk varies depending on the type and size of your IUD, but generally occurs during the first few months of use.

For additional facts, you can read more from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services