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When it comes to birth control, the Canadian Paediatric Society (CPS) claims the Intrauterine Device (IUD) is the most effective method. In fact, according to this report, the CPS believes doctors should be recommending them as the first birth control option for women. However, in recent years, the IUD has sparked public debate after some women began reporting health problems after getting one. Some of those health concerns include stabbing pains, nausea, pelvic inflammatory disease and ovarian cysts.
In the video clip above, we sat down with Dr. Titilayo Olupona to talk about the pros and cons of the birth control method.
WHAT IS AN IUD?
An IUD is a flexible, T-shaped device that gets inserted into a woman’s uterus to prevent pregnancy. There are three different types of IUDs available in Canada: copper IUD (non-hormonal), Mirena IUD (hormonal) and Kyleena IUD (hormonal). Hormone-releasing IUDs can last up to five years. The copper IUD can stay in place and offer protection for up to 12 years. The IUD has two tiny strings that hang out the cervix into the vagina, and these strings can be used to make sure your IUD remains in place.
An IUD has a 99 per cent efficacy rate , so the risk of pregnancy is low. Why are they so effective? You basically “set-it-and-forget-it”—once it’s been inserted, you can’t forget to use it, or use it incorrectly. IUDs won’t affect your fertility and they’re not permanent, so when you’re ready to start a family, you just need to get the device removed. For women who have heavy periods and bad cramps, hormonal IUDs can help with both and some women stop getting periods altogether, according to Planned Parenthood. IUDs are also cost effective—the hormonal IUD ranges between $300 and $350 while the copper IUD costs around $80, and both last for up to five years. For comparison, a one month supply of hormone pills costs, on average, $10 to $20, depending on your health coverage, and you need to buy a new pack every month.
Like all other birth control options (with the exception of condoms), IUDs don’t protect you from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). There have also been reports of the IUD slipping out of place or “going missing”, which happens to three to 10 per cent of patients. (You can regularly check your IUD is in place by feeling for the strings.) There are some side effects some women experience after getting an IUD that include: cramping or backaches, spotting between periods, irregular periods, heavier periods and worse menstrual cramps. Some women also experience cramping after the IUD has been inserted.
You can learn more from Dr. Titilayo Olupona by watching the video clip above.