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The intrauterine device, or IUD, is a contraceptive method that is long-term.  It is a little, T-shaped piece that gets inserted into the uterus preventing sperm from fertilizing an egg.  There are two types – Mirena and Paragard – and last between five and twelve years, respectively.  It can also be removed at any time.  Sounds cool, no?  That’s because it is.  However, only 5% of American women use this form of birth control, one of the lowest usage rates among developed nations.  Below are some of the top reasons for getting an IUD:

  1. One and done.  After the initial visit to the clinic to implant the IUD, there is no need to schedule follow-ups, prescription refills, or even think about your birth control.
  2. Extremely effective.  The device is almost 100% effective and one of the best forms of birth control. Women who use IUDs are 20 times less likely to get pregnant than women using shorter contraceptive methods (pill, patch, ring).
  3. No room for error.  Since the IUD doesn’t require any action from the user, there is no diminishing of effectiveness due to “typical use”.  The pill is meant to be taken at the same time every day forever, which is so hard that 31% of users fail within the first 6 months.
  4. Cost-effective.  Though the IUD may cost a lot upfront, it lasts for years and ends up saving you money in the long run.  And…
  5. New regulations.  President Obama’s new policy will eliminate co-pays for contraceptives, making IUDs more accessible for women who cannot currently afford them.
  6. Banish periods.  Many women experience lighter or no periods with Mirena.
  7. Hormone-free.  The Paragard is made of plastic and natural, safe copper with no hormones.
  8. Total privacy.  IUDs cannot be seen or felt and have no packaging.  No one can tell you’re on birth control.
  9. Completely reversible.  Though they are long-term, once the IUD is removed their birth control effect is immediately over.
  10. Safe and sound.  Contrary to myth, IUDs are safe for most healthy women, including young ones and those who have never been pregnant.

Talk to your health care provider to find if the IUD is the best birth control option for you.

Further Reading:
IUDs, or A Detailed Guide to Long-Term Sperm Scarecrows [The Hairpin]
Maybe the IUD
IUDs: Pamper, Pamper, Pamper – Plus 9 Other Tips For Falling in Love With Your IUD [Huffington Post]
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