Reproductive health experts believe the time is right to re-educate doctors—and women—about the new generation of IUDs. According to the CDC, 30% of women will try at least five different kinds of birth control, and for women not happy with the Pill, who want a non-hormonal contraceptive, or who are concerned about its side effects, the IUD is an effective way to avoid pregnancy.
The IUD is a very small T-shaped rod inserted by a doctor into the uterus, where it emits either the hormone progestin or copper, both of which are hostile to sperm. There are three FDA-approved IUDs available in the U.S.—Mirena and Skyla, which are hormonal, and ParaGard, which is wrapped in copper coils—and they are all extremely effective, with a failure rate of less than one pregnancy per 100 women—compared with 9 per 100 women on the Pill.
Aren’t IUDs expensive? If you have insurance coverage, you might be pleasantly surprised. And if you don’t, you might be able to find discounted or free birth control anyway.
Dr. K has “office hours” on Twitter every Tuesday from 7-9pm ET. Ask her a question by tweeting to #AskDrK and @Bedsider.