Several years ago, the IUD fell out of favor as a method of birth control here in the United States. For the most part, this was due to the catastrophic health problems women were experiencing at the hands of one specific IUD that, thankfully, has been off the market since the 1970s. Unfortunately, the well-deserved bad press that one particular IUD earned soon began to change the way the public thought of all IUDs. We here at New Britain Ob/GYN aim to battle some of the myths and misconceptions that many people currently hold about IUDs.
Myth: Getting an IUD is incredibly painful
Fact: Most patients consider the process of getting an IUD to be similar to getting a pap smear in that it is uncomfortable and can sometimes come with some quick sharp pain. Part of the pain is caused by the dilation process required to open the cervix and insert the device. To ease that pain, some women schedule their insertion during times when the cervix is normally already a bit open – during ovulation and during their period. Pain killers like ibuprofen have been shown to help some people. After the procedure, it’s common to feel pain and cramping similar to menstrual cramping. If you’re concerned about pain, speak to your health care provider about potential pain management options during and after the procedure.
Myth: IUDs can cause infections and infertility
Fact: This myth can be directly linked to the IUD mentioned earlier that is no longer on the market. Court cases and research studies conclusively linked that particular IUD with damage, infection and infertility in some of the women who used it at the time. The IUDs currently available on the market have been proven safe for most women. The World Health Organization has done several studies and have found that women who use an IUD have the same risk of pelvic infection as women who use other types of birth control such as pills, implants etc. They did, however, find a strong link to pelvic infections and Chlamydia.
Myth: IUDs are a poor birth control option for young women
Fact: Again, this myth is linked back to the belief that IUDs come with an increased risk of infertility which, for some reason, many people are more OK with in women who are older or already have a child or two. The reality is that, depending on the type of IUD used, they can last anywhere from three years to twelve years but can also be removed quickly and easily with a simple visit to your Ob/GYN. This flexibility makes them a wonderful family planning option for women of all ages.
Myth: Your partner will feel your IUD
Fact: Once your IUD is inserted, the only part that is exposed in the vagina are small strings cut short that usually end up tucked up behind the cervix. You or your partner may be able to feel them with a finger, but typically will feel little to nothing of the strings during penetrative sex. If either of you feel a poking or scraping during sex you should visit your Ob/GYN to make sure the device is not being expelled by the body. An IUD in its proper position should not be felt by either party during any sexual activity.