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Copper vs. Hormonal IUDs: Which is Right for You?

From the time you become sexually active, you need to consider options for contraception if you don’t want children right away, or ever. Around two-thirds of American women ages 15-44 use some form of birth control, with younger women less likely to use it (62%) than older women (72-74%). 

An intrauterine device (IUD) is a form of birth control placed inside the uterus. This T-shaped device can use a couple of different methods to keep you from getting pregnant. To better understand which one is right for you, look at the options available. 

If you live in or near Lake Mary, Florida, and you’re trying to decide which type of contraception is right for you, Dr. Christopher Quinsey and our dedicated team can help.

So let’s explore this topic by looking at what IUDs do, what types are available, and what the benefits of each of them are.

The function of IUDs

An intrauterine device is a form of long-term birth control, also known as a long-acting reversible contraception (LARC). Once it’s placed, you don’t have to worry about birth control for up to a decade, depending on which IUD you get. When you decide you want to get pregnant, we simply remove it for you. 

IUDs are a very popular type of birth control (23% of women globally), second only to birth control pills in regular use. Depending on where you are in your menstrual cycle, an IUD can start to work right away. It is one of the most effective forms of contraception available.

Different types of IUDs

There are five different brands of IUDs available in the United States, and they fit into two types:

Hormonal

Skylar, Mirena, Liletta, and Kyleena are the brands of hormonal devices on the market. They contain the hormone progestin, which is an artificial form of progesterone. The hormone thickens the mucus in your cervix to keep sperm from getting into your uterus.

Copper

Paragard is the IUD that uses copper to effectively prevent pregnancy. It makes your uterus inhospitable to sperm, and it can work for up to 12 years. 

When we insert either type of IUD, you may experience some discomfort, comparable to a pinching sensation. While the overall process takes about a half hour, the insertion itself only takes a few minutes.

Benefits of each type

The primary differences between the two types of IUDs center on how each affects your body over time and how long each lasts. 

The possible side effects for copper IUDs include:

For hormonal IUDs, the side effects you might experience are:

Copper IUDs last significantly longer, up to 10 years, while hormonal IUDs work up to six years, depending on the brand. Ultimately, the choice is up to you and which IUD you feel more comfortable with. Both are highly effective, but won’t prevent sexually transmitted diseases.

So if you’re considering an intrauterine device, make an appointment with Dr. Quinsey and our team today.

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