IUDs provide convenient and effective birth control for many women.
At Marina OB/GYN, located in Marina Del Rey and Hawthorne, California, Dr. Lipeles has provided safe, in-office IUD insertion for women throughout Marina Del Rey, Hermosa Beach, Manhattan Beach, Venice, Westchester, El Segundo, Playa Vista, Culver City and the greater South Bay area.
An IUD (intrauterine device) is a tiny T-shaped device that is implanted in the uterus to prevent pregnancy. IUDs provide birth control by preventing eggs from adhering to the walls of the uterus. Once an IUD is implanted, it can remain in place from 3 to 10 years, depending on the type used.
When removed (another simple office procedure), most women's fertility returns to normal after a few weeks. Many women favor this form of birth control because it is 99% effective and doesn't require any continual upkeep or impact the ways they can enjoy sex.
IUD implantation is a simple in-office procedure. It begins just like a pelvic exam, using a speculum to gently widen the vaginal canal. The IUD is then inserted into the uterus through the cervix within a matter of minutes. Some women may experience cramping or mild discomfort while the IUD is being inserted into the uterus, and a local anesthetic can be injected to numb the cervix if desired to prevent discomfort.
There are two types of IUDs: hormonal IUDs and copper IUDs.
Hormonal IUDs release small amounts of progestin - the same hormone used in many birth control pills. Three brands of hormonal IUDs are available: Mirena®, Skyla, and Liletta®. They work by preventing the ovaries from releasing eggs and thickening mucus in the cervix. This keeps sperm from reaching the uterus and traveling to an ovary to meet an egg.
Copper IUDs can be a great option for women who do not want to use a hormonal method of contraception. A “copper” IUD is actually made of plastic, but it is wrapped in a thin copper wire. The copper’s ions prevent sperm movement and, therefore, pregnancy.
Intrauterine devices have several advantages over other birth control methods. Because the device is placed by your doctor and requires no ongoing maintenance until years later when it is ready to be replaced, that takes user error out of the equation.
There is nothing a woman with an IUD in place needs to remember to do before engaging in sex in order to prevent pregnancy. While condoms have a similar effectiveness rate, there is a higher chance of user error. It is possible to put a condom on incorrectly. Condoms can sometimes break or tear. Also, condoms can sometimes be surprisingly hard to find when an intimate moment arises.
Unlike an IUD, birth control pills (oral contraception) must be taken every day at the same time to maintain effectiveness. Maintaining this habit every day you don’t want the chance of being pregnant can be exhausting and stressful.
An IUD, by comparison, has none of these potential downsides. Once your doctor inserts the IUD, there is nothing you need to do for at least a few years.
IUD insertion is an outpatient procedure that can be performed in the office. The insertion process generally takes about 15 minutes to perform. The procedure can cause mild to moderate discomfort in some women.
Women that have had a child in the past tend to have an easier time with insertion than women that have not given birth. Temporary cramping and light bleeding, also known as spotting, are common side effects after IUD insertion. Dr. Lipeles has extensive experience inserting IUDs, and aims to make the procedure as painless as possible. Once the IUD is inserted, patients can enjoy many years of round-the-clock pregnancy prevention with an up to 99% success rate.
This is a quick process that your provider can do inside the examination room. There is no surgery needed to insert an IUD. First, a special tool called a speculum is inserted into the vagina in order to widen it. Most women are familiar with this tool as it is the same device used during a routine women’s wellness exam for a PAP smear. A sensation of pressure as the speculum is inserted is to be expected. The IUD, a small, T-shaped device, is then inserted through the cervix and into the uterus, or womb.
Scheduling your IUD insertion appointment during ovulation, when the cervix tends to be more open, can reduce discomfort during insertion. However, women are encouraged to have the IUD inserted within the first 7 days of the start of their menstrual period. This ensures a woman is not pregnant when the IUD is inserted, and that the device will offer immediate protection against pregnancy.
IUDs are 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. However, the main disadvantage to an IUD is that they do not prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). Therefore, it is imperative to use condoms when engaging in sex with a new partner. For couples in monogamous relationships that have both tested negative for STDs, it is generally considered safe to have unprotected sex with an IUD in place to prevent pregnancy.
Non-hormonal IUDs such as ParaGard (copper IUD) are immediately effective at preventing pregnancy once the device is inserted. Hormonal IUDs can take up to 7 days to become effective, unless it is inserted while a woman has her period. During this time, a back-up method of birth control is necessary to prevent pregnancy. Please refrain from having sexual intercourse for the first 24 hours after IUD insertion.
IUD removal is necessary when the IUD expires and thus needs to be removed and/or replaced. Dr. Lipeles also offers IUD removal for women that no longer wish to use this form of contraception. In some cases, women request early removal of an IUD so that they can start a family. It is possible to get pregnant once the IUD is taken out by your provider.
Removing an IUD usually causes less discomfort than initial placement. IUD removal is an outpatient procedure that does not take long to perform. A speculum is inserted into the vagina to widen it so that your provider can see inside. Using a special tool, your doctor will grasp the threads that hang from the lower portion of the IUD and gently remove it. If the IUD does not slide out easily, medication may be needed to open the cervix so that the IUD can be retrieved with forceps. Mild cramping and spotting may occur after the IUD is removed.
For patients that wish to continue using an IUD, a new one can be inserted during the same procedure.
To learn more about IUDs and other birth control options, please book a consultation with Dr. Jamie Lipeles at Marina OB/GYN. You may call the office or book an appointment using our easy online scheduling system.