I was asked by a patient recently to discuss IUDs. There are two kinds of intrauterine devices on the market. One is hormonal, one is not.
The hormonal IUD, a progesterone-secreting device, is called the Mirena. It works for 5 years. One of the most common/bothersome side effects is irregular menstrual bleeding. The Mirena will also decrease the amount of blood loss and may cause stopping of menstrual periods altogether.
The other type of IUD is called the Copper-T. It contains no female hormones and works well for ten years. The most common/bothersome side effect is increased vaginal bleeding and abdominal pain. This is not a suggested method if you already bleed briskly during menstrual periods as the amount of blood may increase.
The IUD can be placed inside the uterus during a routine office visit. Just like for a pap, a woman is on her back, feet in stirrups, and speculum inside the vagina. Insertion of the IUD takes about 15 minutes. Mild abdominal pain/cramping may occur afterwards, but this subsides within a few hours.
The cost of the IUD is mostly the cost of the device. The total fee of the device and insertion may be $800 (which if spread over 5 or 10 years is pretty cost-effective compared to other forms of contraception). Some insurances will cover it. I encourage you to call your insurance to inquire about your portion of the bill.
The IUD does not fight against STDs, but is a very effective form of contraception.
Hope this helps.
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