INTRAUTERINE DEVICE (IUD)

ParaGard IUD

ParaGard is an intrauterine device (IUD) that can provide long-term birth control (contraception). It is sometimes referred to as a nonhormonal IUD option.

The ParaGard device is a T-shaped plastic frame that's inserted into the uterus. Copper wire coiled around the device produces an inflammatory reaction that is toxic to sperm and eggs (ova), preventing pregnancy.

ParaGard is the only copper IUD available in the United States. It can prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years after insertion.

Risks

The contraceptive implant does not offer protection from sexually transmitted infections.

Fewer than 1 out of 100 women who use the contraceptive implant for one year will get pregnant. If you do conceive while using a contraceptive implant, there is a higher chance that the pregnancy will be ectopic — when the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube. However, because a contraceptive implant prevents most pregnancies, women who use it are at lower risk of having an ectopic pregnancy than are other sexually active women who aren't using contraception.

Side effects associated with contraceptive implants include:

  • Abdominal or back pain
  • An increased risk of noncancerous ovarian cysts
  • Changes in vaginal bleeding patterns, including absence of menstruation (amenorrhea)
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Mild insulin resistance
  • Mood swings and depression
  • Nausea or upset stomach
  • Potential interaction with other medications
  • Sore breasts
  • Vaginal inflammation or dryness
  • Weight gain

Mirena IUD

Mirena is a hormonal intrauterine device (IUD) that can provide long-term birth control (contraception).

The device is a T-shaped plastic frame that is inserted into the uterus, where it releases a type of the hormone progestin. To prevent pregnancy, Mirena:

  • Thickens mucus in the cervix to stop sperm from reaching or fertilizing an egg
  • Thins the lining of the uterus and partially suppresses ovulation
  • Mirena prevents pregnancy for up to five years after insertion. It is one of several hormonal IUDs with Food and Drug Administration approval.

Risks

Less than 1 percent of women who use Mirena will get pregnant in a year of typical use.

If you do conceive while using Mirena, you are at a higher risk of an ectopic pregnancy — when the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube. However, because Mirena prevents most pregnancies, women who use it are at lower risk of having an ectopic pregnancy than are other sexually active women who are not using contraception.

Mirena is generally safe. But it is important to remember that:

  • Mirena does not protect against STIs.
  • Rarely, insertion of Mirena causes perforation of the uterus. The risk of perforation might be higher when inserted during the postpartum period.

Side effects associated with Mirena include:

  • Headache
  • Acne
  • Breast tenderness
  • Irregular bleeding, which can improve after six months of use
  • Mood changes
  • Cramping or pelvic pain