Why IUD’s need to make a comeback
IUD’s have gotten a bad reputation since the 1970′s model contributed to infections and pelvic inflammatory disease. The new IUD’s are safer, but unfortunately the most under-utilized birth control method for teen and twentysomething women.
The fact is, IUD’s are much more reliable (read: harder to f*ck up) than almost any other birth control method. The doctor inserts the copper (or polyurethane, if hormonal) IUD through the cervix into the uterus, and there it remains for the next 5-10 years or until the woman wants it removed. For this reason, any user error is extremely unlikely–and why IUD’s have an effectiveness of 99.7-99.9% at preventing pregnancy. With odds like that, it’s difficult to see why anyone would want to discourage their use. . . but there are some persistent obstacles surrounding IUD’s that are discouraging women from obtaining them. Some people are still convinced that IUD’s contribute to increased risk for pelvic inflammatory disease. While this is remotely true, the risk is much lower than it was for the older models with cotton strings, which contributed to bacterial growth and infection. Newer models have nylon strings which discourage bacterial growth. What’s most unfortunate is the belief that doctors won’t insert an IUD for someone who hasn’t had children yet. The truth is, doctors hesitate to give IUD’s to childless women because it’s tricky. Tight cervices make it difficult for the device to pass through, and this can be painful for the patient if the healthcare professional doesn’t take the time to use a local anesthetic. If you want an IUD, take the time to find a doctor who is genuinely supportive of answering all your questions honestly. I have heard anecdotal reports of doctors trying to convince patients to use a pill or a patch instead, and later admitting they don’t want to insert an IUD because it’s hard to do.
With this in mind, IUD’s are still statistically the safest and most effective method of birth control available today. Certainly they are not for everyone, but they are low maintenance, highly effective, cost effective in the long run, and can be obtained for free at the right clinic (Planned Parenthood!) or with the right insurance. If you are unsatisfied with your current method of birth control or have been discouraged by myths, you might consider discussing this method with your doctor the next time you visit.
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