As collegiettes™, we’re always looking to stay on top of our game when it comes to contraception. It’s hard enough managing school, work, a social life, and several failed attempts at enough sleep each night — we don’t need to add daycare and diapers into the equation too. Safe sex should always be a priority, and while we’ve all sat through seemingly endless hours of health class learning about condoms and the Pill, there are other methods of contraception that can be used, including the less-often talked about (but effective and safe) IUD.
So, what exactly are IUDs?
IUDs are a highly effective and safe form of birth control. Research prove IUDs that only two out of 100 women are likely to get pregnant when using an IUD, as opposed to birth control pills where studies show that nine out of 100 women are vulnerable to pregnancy. Inserted into the uterus by a medical provider, an IUD is a “T-shaped” device that prevents pregnancy and lasts for up to 10 years, explained Kimberly Inez McGuire, Senior Associate at the Reproductive Health Technologies Project, an organization based in Washington, D.C. that works to advance women’s rights to reproductive freedom.
In the U.S. there are currently two kinds of IUDs on the market, Mirena and Paragard (a hormone-free IUD). Mirena is a hormonal IUD, meaning that it releases a form of progestin, helping to prevent pregnancy. Paragard is a hormone-free copper IUD. It does not release any hormones into the body. Hormonal IUDs last up to five years, while copper ones can be kept for 10. Both are exceptionally effective when it comes to preventing pregnancy. You will still get a period with an IUD, though the frequency and heaviness of your period will depend on which kind of IUD you have. Keep in mind that IUDs only prevent against pregnancy, NOT against STDs so you should still always be using a condom.
Why get an IUD?
Every collegiette™ is different and what works for one, may not be right for you. So what are the pros of getting an IUD? Unlike a daily birth control pill, once the IUD is inserted and in place, there is nothing else to do, something that seems to fit in perfectly with a busy collegiette’s™ schedule.
“In addition to providing an effective means of contraception, research suggests several other health benefits including protecting against endometrial cancer, reducing excessive bleeding associated with uterine fibroids, and providing a non-hormonal or low-hormonal option for women,” McGuire said.