Do the Benefits of an IUD Outweigh the Potential Side Effects? – Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic

Posted: May 27, 2020 at 8:49 pm

Whether youre contemplating using an intrauterine device (IUD) as birth control or to curb the effects of a gynecological issue, you might wonder if the pros outweigh all the cons youve probably heard about. Heres what you need to know about IUDs, according to Ob/Gyn Ashley Brant, DO, MPH.

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Both types work mainly by preventing egg fertilization, but keep in mind that IUDs dont protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

Despite the fact that modern versions are quite safe, IUDs still tend to get a bad rap. Dr. Brant often hears concerns from patients about migration, when the IUD moves through the uterine wall into the abdominal area. Even though it seems like almost everybody knows somebody to whom thats happened, its actually a pretty rare complication, she says. Migration can happen if the uterus is torn, usually by an instrument during IUD insertion; however, these uterine perforations only occur in 0.01 percent of cases.

Other serious complications from IUDs are rare too. Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) occurs in just 1 percent of women within the first 20 days after insertion and in 0.5 percent in the first three to six months.

Then there are the uncommon side effects women report from the hormonal IUD like weight gain, hair loss, mood changes and acne. As of now, there isnt enough research to support or refute a definitive link between the two, Dr. Brant says. In fact, the low level of progestin released one-fifth of the amount found in combination birth control pills is tolerated well by the majority of women.

Dr. Brant asks her patients these 3 questions to help them come to a decision thats right for them:

Placing an IUD usually takes less than five minutes. To begin the insertion process, the doctor or nurse will likely feel your uterus to see which way it might be tipping. A speculum is placed, just like youd have for a Pap smear, and the cervix is washed off with soap.

You can expect to experience cramping three times, but only for a few seconds each time, says Dr. Brant.

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Do the Benefits of an IUD Outweigh the Potential Side Effects? - Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic

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