IUDs, or intrauterine devices, are among the most popular birth control options thanks to their ease and convenience. IUDs are safe for all age groups and also the most effective form of of birth control. At her gynecology practice, Dr. Karen Taylor offers simple, in-office IUD insertion services for patients throughout the Newport Beach, California area. Dr. Karen Taylor also does a routine ultrasound immediately after every placement to give you the highest quality of care and ensure effective placement.
Intrauterine devices or IUDs are T-shaped devices that are inserted into the uterus where they act to help prevent pregnancy. The “T” rests inside your uterus and a small string attached to the bottom extends through the cervix into the upper part of the vagina. The string allows for patients to ensure placement with a simple self vaginal exam. There are two main types of IUDs and both are safe, effective forms of long-acting birth control. The first IUDs are made of copper and can be used for 10 years. These are very effective but may cause heavier menstrual cycles for some patients. The most commonly used IUDs contain a very small amount of the hormone progesterone, which is released in small amounts to thin the lining of the uterus and decrease or even stop menstrual cycles in patients. The hormonal IUD is a wonderful option for patients looking for relief from heavy, bothersome periods and lasts for 5 years.
IUD insertion is a simple process that can be completed in the office. The process takes 5-10 minutes to complete and includes an ultrasound. During insertion, the patient will lie on her back with her feet in the “stirrups,” just like a routine pelvic exam. A speculum is used to gently widen the vaginal canal, and the IUD is inserted through the cervix (the opening of the uterus). There may be some mild cramping or discomfort during insertion, however, Dr. Karen Taylor believes in keeping her patients comfortable and provides local anesthetic and pain control for those who desire prophylactic relief. Some women experience spotting between periods or heavier periods for the first few months after IUD insertion, but there is no “downtime” associated with IUD insertion.
IUDs that rely solely on copper can remain in place for up to 10 years; those that use hormones need to be replaced sooner, every five years.
IUDs are more than 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy. Once they’re in place, it’s important to routinely feel for the strings attached to the device that are at the top of the vagina to ensure the device hasn’t fallen out (which rarely occurs). Many women prefer IUDs over pills and diaphragms because they don’t require upkeep once in place. And unlike birth control pills, there’s no risk of forgetting to use contraception.