Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Introduction to birth control
- What are intrauterine devices (IUDs)?
- What are the types of intrauterine devices (IUDs)?
- How does an intrauterine device (IUD) work?
- What are the advantages of an intrauterine device (IUD)?
- What are the side effects of an intrauterine device (IUD)?
- How is an IUD removed?
- What are the risks and complications of intrauterine devices (IUDs)?
- Find a local Obstetrician-Gynecologist in your town
What are the advantages of an intrauterine device (IUD)?
The advantages of the IUD include the fact that it is highly effective in preventing conception, is reversible, and starts working almost immediately. A woman with an IUD does not need to use other birth control methods before she has sexual intercourse, and once the IUD is removed, there is a quick return to fertility. The levonorgestrel-releasing IUD (99% effectiveness) is replaced every five years. The copper IUD is also 99% effective and only needs to be replaced every 10 years.
What are the side effects of an intrauterine device (IUD)?
Side effects of the IUD are limited primarily to the uterus. These include:
- heavy menstrual flow,
- pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and
It is also possible for the IUD to pass through (perforate) the uterine wall and enter the abdominal cavity, where it must be retrieved surgically. Perforation of or trauma to the uterus by the IUD occurs in 1/1,000 insertions. Warning signs of possible complications from an IUD include abdominal pain, heavy bleeding, abnormal spotting or bleeding, and a smelly vaginal discharge. If a woman experiences any of these signs, she should contact her health care professional.
Next: How is an IUD removed?
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