IUD

IUDs are long lasting and it won’t interrupt the moment – and are either hormonal or non-hormonal.

The IUD is a little, t-shaped piece of plastic that gets put in your uterus to mess with the way sperm can move and prevent them from fertilizing an egg. Sounds a little odd, but it works like a charm. There are five kinds: LILETTA, Mirena, ParaGard (non-hormonal), Skyla and Kyleena. They offer years of protection—between three and twelve, depending on the type you get. And if you have one and decide to get pregnant, you can have the IUD removed at any time.

Effec­tive­ness

It’s one of the most effective methods.

Perfect Use

99%

Typical Use

99%

Side Effects

Spotting and irregular or heavy bleeding may occur in the first 3-6 months, but then periods may be come shorter or even stop.

Effort

It’s inserted once and lasts for years.

Cost

Could range from $0-$650.

How do I get it?

You need to see a doctor for insertion.

Find a Clinic

Find your local health center here.

  • LILETTA

    This small and flexible plastic IUD releases a small amount of the synthetic hormone, progestin, which thickens the cervical mucus to create a barrier that sperm cannot pentrate. LILETTA has been through the largest IUD trial ever conducted in the U.S. and a recent study shows it works for up to five years, if you want to use it that long. Your periods may become lighter using this method. LILETTA is the most affordable IUD on the market.

    Mirena

    This plastic IUD releases a small amount of the synthetic hormone progestin, which thickens the cervical mucus to create a barrier that sperm cannot penetrate. It lasts for five and possibly up to seven years (so be sure and talk to your provider about the timing) and Mirena may give you lighter periods.

    ParaGard

    This IUD is made of plastic and a small amount of natural, safe copper. It’s 100% hormone-free and doesn’t alter your periods. ParaGard releases copper ions that kill sperm. It can stay inside you for 10 and maybe up to 12 years, so be sure and talk to your provider about the timing.

    Skyla

    This plastic IUD is the smallest one available and has been FDA-approved for women who have not had a child. It releases a small amount of the synthetic hormone, progestin, which thickens the cervical mucus to create a barrier that sperm cannot penetrate. It works for up to 3 years.

    Kyleena

    Kyleena is a small plastic IUD that releases a continuous low dose of progestin. It is a little smaller than some other IUDs and having it placed may be a little more comfortable than other devices. It works for up to 5 years. Kyleena is the newest IUD available – so if you’re interested, you should you’re your health care office first to see if they are providing it.

  • Get it and forget it

    If you’re a busy person who doesn’t want to worry about remembering birth control, the IUD just may be for you. Once it’s in, you’re good to go for years.

    Hands free

    No packages or prescriptions to pick up at the pharmacy, so there’s nothing that could get lost or forgotten.

    Total privacy

    No one can tell when you have an IUD. (Some partners say they can feel the string, but that can be adjusted.) There’s no tell-tale packaging, and nothing you need to do just before you have sex.

    Safe and sound

    Most experts agree, if you’re a healthy woman, you’re probably a good candidate for the IUD. That’s true even if you’re young, haven’t ever been pregnant, or haven’t had kids yet.

    The pregnancy question

    You should return to fertility (fancy way of saying you should go back to being able to get pregnant) very quickly after you have the IUD removed. Which is great if you want to have a baby. But if you’re not ready to get pregnant as soon as you have an IUD taken out, be sure to protect yourself with an alternate method.

  • This method may be free or low-cost for you.

    The Mirena IUD can stay in your body for up to five to seven years, costing you the equivalent of just $9 a month. The ParaGard IUD can stay in your body for up to ten to twelve years—that’s convenience for a whole decade or more—costing you the equivalent of just $4 a month. For both IUDs, there may be an additional cost to insert and or remove them.

    Prices for LiLETTA*

    • With Medicaid: Free or a small co-pay
    • With insurance: $0. Great news. Preventive health services like birth control are covered for no additional charge now.
    • Without insurance: About $50 to insert a LILETTA at Title X/low-cost health centers (removal costs about $118); Around $700 at other health centers.
    • Payment assistance: For women whose plans are grandfathered or otherwise non-compliant with the Affordable Care Act, they can apply for a Patient Savings Program to reduce the cost of the device to $75 (or a maximum savings of $500) when ordered through a specialty pharmacy.

    Prices for Mirena*

    • With Medicaid: Free or a small co-pay
    • With insurance: $0. Great news. Preventive health services like birth control are covered for no additional charge now.
    • Without insurance: About $500 to insert a Mirena at Title X/low-cost health centers (removal costs about $118); $1000 at other health centers.
    • Payment assistance: Monthly payments of $35 for two years (total cost $844). Contact CVS Caremark Mirena Specialty Pharmacy at 1-866-638-8312 or the manufacturer at www.mirena-us.com or 1-888-842-2937. Also, check with your local family planning health center and find out if they offer free or low-cost IUDs (many do).

    To see how this translates over a year, here’s what it would cost to pay for Mirena month-to-month at full price:

    • Cost per month over one year: $40 a Title X/low-cost health centers or $83
    • Cost per month over five years: $8 at Title X/low-cost health centers or $17 at other providers

    Prices for ParaGard*

    • With Medicaid: Free or a small co-pay
    • With insurance: $0. Great news. Preventive health services like birth control are covered for no additional charge now.
    • Without insurance: About $399 to insert/remove at Title X/low-cost health centers (removal costs about $118); $650 at other providers.
    • Payment assistance: Monthly payments of $41 for one year (total cost $494). Contact the manufacturer at www.paragard.com or 1-877-727-2427 to find out more. Also, check with your local family planning health centers and find out if they offer free or low-cost IUDs (many do).

    To see how this translates over a year, here’s what it would cost to pay for ParaGard month-to-month at full price.

    • Cost per month over one year: $33 at Title X/low-cost health centers or $54 at other providers
    • Cost per month over five years: $7 at Title X/low-cost health centers or $54 at other providers
    • Cost per month over 10 years: $3 at Title X/low-cost health centers or $5 at other providers

    Prices for Skyla*

    • With Medicaid: Free or a small co-pay
    • With insurance: $0. Great news. Preventive health services like birth control are covered for no additional charge now.
    • Without insurance: About $500 to insert a Skyla at Title X/low-cost health centers (removal costs about $118); $1000 at other health centers.
    • Payment assistance: None
    • Cost per month over one year: $40 a Title X/low-cost health centers or $83
    • Cost per month over five years: $8 at Title X/low-cost health centers or $17 at other providers

    Not bad, huh?

    * FYI: This info is based on a recent survey of Title X clinics in Colorado and birth control manufacturers. Your cost may vary. Some health centers accept private insurance; some don’t. If you don’t have private insurance, be sure to ask your doctor or health center about Title X (a federal family planning program), Medicaid, or other programs that could reduce the cost of your birth control.

  • If you want to get an IUD,

    the first thing you’ll need to do is talk with your doctor. She or he will ask you a bunch of questions about your medical history and your lifestyle, then give you an exam to make sure the IUD is right for you.

    You can get the IUD inserted any time of the month. Some doctors like to insert it during your period, but any time is fine as long as you can be sure you’re not pregnant.

    It’s pretty common to feel some cramps when you get an IUD inserted, but they’ll go away with rest or pain medication. Some women might feel dizzy, too. Once the IUD is in, you’ll notice a little string that hangs down into your vagina. That’s there so that the IUD can be removed later. (The strings don’t hang out of the vagina like a tampon, though.)

    After it’s in, there’s really not much you have to do other than check the string ends from time to time to make sure it’s in place. Here’s how:

    1. Wash your hands, then sit or squat down.
    2. Put your finger in your vagina until you touch your cervix, which will feel firm and rubbery like the tip of your nose.
    3. Feel for the strings. If you find them, congrats! Your IUD is good to go. But if you feel the hard part of the IUD against your cervix, you may need to have it adjusted or replaced by your doctor.

    P.S. Don’t tug on the strings! If you do, the IUD could move out of place.

    P.P.S. If you don’t feel comfortable checking for the strings, you can let your doctor do that the month after insertion, and then yearly after that.

  • There are positive and negative things to say about each and every method. And everyone’s different—so what you experience may not be the same as what your friend experiences.

    The Positive

    Positive “side effects”? You bet. There are actually lots of things about birth control that are good for your body as well as your sex life.

    • Easy to use
    • Doesn’t interrupt the heat of the moment
    • Super long-lasting protection without much effort – and you can decide how long lasting it can be
    • The ParaGard brand of IUD doesn’t change your hormone levels
    • The LILETTA and Mirena brand of IUD may reduce cramps and make your period much, much lighter. Some women’s periods stop completely.
    • You can use it while you’re breastfeeding

    The Negative

    Everyone worries about negative side effects, but for many women, they’re not a problem. Most women adjust to having an IUD pretty quickly, but give yourself time. It could take a few months.

    The most common complaints:

    • Spotting between periods (especially during the first few months after you get an IUD)
    • Increased period flow (for users of the ParaGard brand)
    • Cramps and backaches
    • IUD slipping out
    • Infection

    Other stuff to watch out for:

    If you still feel uncomfortable after three months, switch methods and stay protected. You’re worth it.

    *For a very small number of women there are risks of serious side effects.

  • We’re here to get this method working better for you.

    And if it still doesn’t feel right, we’ve got ideas for other methods. Just remember: If you change methods, make sure you’re protected while you switch.

    My periods are heavier and/or my cramps are worse.

    If this is the case, you’re probably using a copper IUD (ParaGard). Sometimes things get better if you just give it a couple months. You can also take ibuprofen the first few days of your period.

    Still not working?
    If you like the ease of using an IUD, but find that the side effects don’t get better with time or painkillers, you could try switching to a hormonal IUD (Mirena) or to the implant.

    My partner can feel the string.

    If your partner can feel the strings, you can have the strings cut shorter. Just ask your health care provider. Also, the strings usually get softer over time.

    I want to get pregnant.

    This one is easy. If you’re ready to get pregnant, just have your IUD removed. The hormones in your body should go back to normal quickly and you can start trying right away.

Real Stories (English)

Jenna, 24

A former pill and implant user, Jenna started using the Mirena IUD when her doctor suggested it a few years ago. The implant was fine, but now she’s really in love. Jenna experienced spotting for the first 6 months, but that was no big deal. Now she has consistent and really light periods—no more than 2 days of bleeding a month. Jenna’s Mirena was covered by her co-pay. But if she had to pay out-of-pocket, she’d still choose the IUD for its many benefits and so that she wouldn’t have to bother paying for another method every…single…month.

Kat, 22

Kat has been on “almost every kind of birth control under the sun.” She couldn’t remember to take the pill and, in fact, got pregnant while using that method. Knowing she needed something more reliable, she decided on a Mirena IUD. At first Kat was worried about the cost of her IUD, but she talked to her provider and found out it was covered by her insurance. In hindsight, she would pay “pretty much anything” for this method that removes the worry because it’s always “just there.”

Kimberly, 29

There’s a lot Kimberly likes about her ParaGard IUD: it’s non-hormonal, lasts 10 years, and is over 99.9% effective. And now that she’s unemployed and uninsured, this mom likes that she paid for it up front and doesn’t have to find money each month for birth control. So what about those pesky cramps she sometimes gets? They can be severe, no doubt. But all those other good side effects win out—it’s still the best method for her.

Brittany, 24

Brittany has some big goals she’d like to accomplish before having kids. Like moving to London and going to graduate school. Wanting a reliable method that didn’t add to her daily To Do list, Brittany opted for a ParaGard IUD. She’s thrilled with her choice and doesn’t mind that she had to spend 300 bucks up front to get a 10-year method. It’s a long-term investment that’s sure to pay off.

Andrew, 25

Andrew might not know what IUD stands for, but he knows what he likes about it: he and his girlfriend get to enjoy the highest level of effectiveness, no hormones (she uses the copper kind of IUD), and they can have spontaneous sex whenever the mood hits. She did have to go into the doctor to get it and her body needed a few weeks to adjust, but now (and for a full 10 years) it’s a worry-free “set it and forget it” method that they both enjoy.

Source: Bedsider.org