IUDs, or intrauterine device, is a device which is inserted into a woman's uterus to prevent pregnancy. It is made of flexible plastic and is inserted by a medical professional. It is a non-permanent, reversible form of birth control and is basically a "set-it-and-forget-it" type of birth control. Because of this, it is highly effective and is the most popular type of birth control in the world.


There are two types of IUDs: the copper IUD and the hormonal IUD. The ParaGuard IUD is wrapped in copper, non-hormonal and last up to 12 years. It works by creating a hostile environment for sperm so it is very difficult for the sperm to move and very difficult for eggs to get fertilized.

Straight to the Facts: IUDs

  • Less than 1% failure rate

  • Inserted by a doctor

  • Works by making it hard for sperm to reach your eggs

  • Effective for 3-10 years depending on the type

  • Most women have few side effects

  • Can help with heavy or painful periods and PMS

  • Smoking while using hormonal IUDs increases the risk of stroke

  • Rarely, an IUD can migrate leading to serious complications

Hormonal IUDs, Mirena and Skyla, use a low dose of progestin to thicken the mucous membrane on the cervix. This thick mucus traps sperm and keeps it from reaching eggs. It may also prevent the ovaries from releasing an egg. Mirena is effective for up to 5 years. Skyla is slightly smaller and works for up to 3 years.


 How Effective Is It?


IUD's are one of the most effective forms of birth control available. Less than 1 out of 100 women will get pregnant each year if they use an IUD.  The ParaGard IUD can even be used as an emergency birth control to prevent pregnancy after unprotected intercourse. If inserted within 120 hours (five days) after unprotected intercourse, it can reduce the risk of pregnancy by 99.9 percent. 

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IUDs will not protect you from STIs. To prevent STIs, use a barrier method like a condom every time you have sex.

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How soon after insertion can I have sex?

You can have sex right after the IUD is inserted. The ParaGard IUD is effective immediately. Hormonal IUDs are effective immediately if inserted within seven days after the start of your period. If inserted at any other time during your menstrual cycle, use another method of birth control such as a condom if you have sex during the first week after insertion. Protection will then begin after seven days.

What about side effects?


There can be some side effects when you first get your IUD.  Side effects can include pain, cramping, and backaches. You might also have spotting between your periods or irregular periods, particularly with hormonal IUDs. The ParaGuard IUD can also cause you to have heavier periods.


Although is rare, you can have serious complications with your IUD. If you used to be able to feel the strings from your IUD and cannot feel them anymore or you can feel the plastic from your IUD poking out through your cervix, call your doctor. Your IUD may be moving and you will need help to correct this. If you have severe pain and cramping that does not go away, have heavy bleeding, bleed and/or have pain during sex, have vaginal discharge changes or you think you might be pregnant, call your doctor as soon as possible.

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