Valley Teen Clinic

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Birth Control


What is The IUD and how does it work?

“The letters IUD stand for "intrauterine device." IUDs are small, "T-shaped" devices made of flexible plastic. A health care provider inserts an IUD into a woman's uterus to prevent pregnancy.”

There are two brands of IUD available: ParaGard (12 years) and Mirena (5 years).

“Both the ParaGard and the Mirena IUDs affect the way sperm move, preventing them from joining with an egg. If sperm cannot join with an egg, pregnancy cannot happen. Both types also alter the lining of the uterus. Some people say that this keeps a fertilized egg from attaching to the lining of the uterus. But there is no proof that this actually happens.

The progestin in the Mirena IUD helps prevent pregnancy. Progestin works by keeping a woman's ovaries from releasing eggs — ovulation. Pregnancy cannot happen if there is no egg to join with sperm. Progestin also prevents pregnancy by thickening a woman's cervical mucus. The mucus blocks sperm and keeps it from joining with an egg.”


What are my chances of not getting pregnant by using The IUD?

If the IUD is inserted correctly, the chance of her getting pregnant is less than 1%.  Both types of IUD are 99.9% effective.


Are there any side effects from using The IUD?

The most common side effect of the IUD is change in a women’s menstrual period.  Periods may become lighter or heavier when on the IUD.  Other common side effects are: “headache; vaginitis; weight gain; acne; breast pain; viral infections such as colds, sore throats, sinus infections, or flu-like symptoms; stomach pain; painful periods; mood swings; nervousness or depression; back pain; nausea; dizziness; pain; and pain at the site of insertion.”


What are the Pros of using The IUD?

“The ParaGard and the Mirena IUDs are two of the longest lasting forms of birth control available to women today. There are many other benefits.

  • IUDs may improve your sex life. There is nothing to put in place before intercourse to prevent pregnancy. Some women say that they feel free to be more spontaneous because they do not have to worry about becoming pregnant.
  • The ParaGard IUD does not change a woman's hormone levels.
  • The Mirena IUD may reduce period cramps and make your period lighter. On average, menstrual flow is reduced by 90 percent. For some women, periods stop altogether.
  • IUDs can be used during breastfeeding.
  • The ability to become pregnant returns quickly once the IUD is removed.”



What are the Cons of using The IUD?

“It's important to think about the possible side effects of using an IUD.

You may have

  • mild to moderate pain when the IUD is put in
  • cramping or backache for a few days
  • spotting between periods in the first 3–6 months 
  • irregular periods in the first 3–6 months — with Mirena 
  • heavier periods and worse menstrual cramps — with ParaGard

Simple pain relievers can usually reduce bleeding, cramping, and other discomforts. If they are severe and do not seem to lessen, tell your health care provider.”