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Birth Control: IUD (Intrauterine Devices)

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Introduction to birth control

If a woman is sexually active and she is fertile and physically able to become pregnant, she needs to ask herself, "Do I want to become pregnant now?" If her answer is "No," she must use some method of birth control (contraception).

Words used to describe birth control methods include contraception, pregnancy prevention, fertility control, and family planning. But no matter what the terminology, sexually active people can choose from a number of methods to reduce the possibility of their becoming pregnant. Nevertheless, no method of birth control available today offers perfect protection against sexually transmitted infections (sexually transmitted diseases, or STDs), except abstinence.

All methods of birth control are based on either preventing a man's sperm from reaching and entering a woman's egg (fertilization) or preventing the fertilized egg from implanting in the woman's uterus (her womb) and starting to grow. New methods of birth control are being developed and tested all the time. What is appropriate for a couple at one point in their lives may change with time and circumstances.

Unfortunately, no birth control method, except abstinence, is considered to be 100% effective.

What are intrauterine devices (IUDs)?

The intrauterine device (IUD) is a method of birth control designed for insertion into a woman's uterus so that changes occur in the uterus that make it difficult for fertilization of an egg and implantation of a pregnancy. IUDs also have been referred to as "intrauterine contraception (IUC). IUDs approved for use in the U.S. contain medications that are released over time to facilitate the contraceptive effect.

The IUD is a small "T"-shaped device with a monofilament tail that is inserted into the uterus by a health care practitioner in the office setting. When inserted into the uterus, the arms of the "T" are folded down, but they then open out to form the top of the "T". The device rests inside the uterus with the base of the T just above the cervix and the arms of the T extending horizontally across the uterus. A short piece of monofilament string attached to the IUD extends through the cervix into the vagina. This string makes it possible to be sure that the IUD is still in the uterus.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/10/2014

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Birth Control - IUDs Question: Do you or your partner use an intrauterine device for birth control? Have you found it effective?
Birth Control - IUD complications Question: Did you experience any complications with your IUD? Please describe them.
Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/iud/article.htm

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