Shots? Pills? Why an IUD Is the Best Form of Birth Control (From a Girl Who Has One)

While I am clearly not a doctor, I have spent the past five years learning the ins and outs of birth control. Starting at 14 years old, I made the decision to put my health first. After multiple visits to different offices and many thorough discussions with close friends, I thought I found the right form for me: the pill. A very close friend has had her share of horror stories, that came from being on the shot and the arm implant. The pill was an option that I had not heard any negatives about, while also being the least invasive.

This was a great option for a couple years until I turned 16, at which point I was tired of remembering to take a tiny pill every afternoon. Going back to the doctor's office every three months for a shot didn't seem like something I wanted to deal with and the arm implant (and the horror stories I've heard everywhere) scared me a little too much. I did some more research, talked with some more friends and eventually made an appointment to have an IUD implanted… and I have to say, it was one of the best choices I’ve ever made. 

What exactly is an IUD?

An IUD, or an Intrauterine Device, is a plastic or copper, T-shaped rod that is inserted into the uterus. Hormones are released, like any form of birth control, to stop the growth of an egg. It is one of the most effective forms of birth control (when used correctly) and can be a great option if major symptoms of a period are causing trouble in daily life. The insertion of an IUD is done by a licensed professional and only takes a few minutes. There are five verified types of IUD, all to prevent pregnancy, in different sizes, with different levels of hormone release. This form of birth control typically lasts between three and six years and can be taken out or replaced at any point.

What to expect from an IUD

While the insertion process of an IUD, like Mirena or Kyleena (the most popular forms) is not necessarily comfortable, it’s entirely bearable. Even more bearable when you remember that you don’t have to move or replace it for at least three years. It takes only a few minutes and generally feels like a cluster of some pretty bad cramps. The discomfort and slight pain begins to reside, after only a few hours, and you should be back to normal. Again, from my thoughts, a little pain is definitely worth it for three years of comfort and confidence! After the insertion, the wires are trimmed down slightly and left until the next visit, which is only a couple days later. A follow-up visit is necessary to make sure the device has remained in place, as well as to trim the wires even more, since there’s no need for them after it has been placed.

What’s so special about an IUD?

While any form of birth control will aid in the prevention of unwanted pregnancy, an IUD is the most effective. There is a less than 1 percent chance of pregnancy when using any of the five IUDs, while the upkeep is also very simple. After an IUD is placed, there is no need to move or mess with it, it does the job on its own. No pills to take, no shots to get, just an annual visit to the doctor’s office to make sure it’s doing the job, so forgetting to keep up with your birth control isn’t a problem. When it comes to the crisis of having a period, an IUD generally releases enough hormones to better control those symptoms. Periods can be lighter, cramps can be fewer and comfort only grows!

Personally, I have yet to question my decision with getting an IUD. It’s hassle-free, convenient and I don’t even notice it! Kyleena, Mirena, whatever form that is chosen, is a great option for birth control when other options just aren’t working out anymore. Around a year and a half later, I firmly stand by my opinion that an IUD is the best form of birth control.


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