April 17, 2024
3 Facts Women Should Know Before Getting IUDs And Their Alternatives

Birth control is a medical miracle that lets women take charge of their reproductive health. It comes in various forms, namely intrauterine contraceptive devices (IUDs), birth control patches, vaginal rings, etc. However, you’re probably considering getting an IUD because of its effectiveness and safety. 

These are T-shaped devices that get inserted into your uterus to prevent unwanted pregnancies. There are two types of IUDs, namely hormonal and copper devices. The latter lasts up to 10 years, while the former is only effective for three to eight years. 

But before consulting the doctor for IUD insertion, you should learn about some alternatives and facts about this birth control device. In this blog, we will discuss three facts about IUDs and three alternatives you can look into.

#1. Copper IUDs Can Break

The non-hormonal copper IUDs were considered to be a long-lasting and safe birth control device. However, the ones manufactured by Teva Pharmaceuticals (under the brand name Paragard) eventually caused physical injuries to women. When they tried to remove it, the IUDs broke and fractured.

After breaking into tiny pieces, the particles migrated inside their body. As a result, many women experienced internal injuries like bleeding, infection, and organ perforation. 

They needed extra medical help and even operations. These expensive medical interventions affected the woman’s reproductive health and caused financial stress.

Therefore, they wanted to secure compensation for the medical complications and injuries caused by the defective products. For that, they filed a Paragard lawsuit against Teva Pharmaceuticals. This ongoing lawsuit alleges that the company intentionally marketed and distributed defective IUDs to make a profit. 

According to TorHoerman Law, plaintiffs are eligible for potential compensations between USD 10,000 and USD 400,000. However, the individual payouts will depend on the severity of damages, medical proof provided, etc. All in all, getting copper IUDs is a bad idea.

#2. There Are Side Effects of Using an IUD

Due to the 99% effectiveness of IUDs, many don’t know the hidden side effects and disadvantages that come with using them. These include the following: 

  • Fever, belly cramps, foul-smelling vaginal discharge, etc.
  • Backache and vaginal cramping for the first few days.
  • Copper IUDs can lead to worsening menstrual cramps and heavier periods.
  • Light or no periods when using hormonal IUDs.
  • Spotting or irregular periods for the first three to six months.
  • Moodiness, headaches, nausea, breast tenderness, etc. 

You can also experience pelvic inflammatory diseases. While the risk of infection is low, it can happen within the first twenty days of IUD placement. Similarly, there’s a small chance that the device might perforate the uterine walls during insertion. 

#3. You Can Still Get Pregnant

Technically, both hormonal and copper IUDs can effectively prevent pregnancy if used correctly. For instance, copper IUDs work immediately after insertion and last for ten years. On the other hand, hormonal ones work for up to three to six years. 

Even then, at least one out of every hundred couples using an IUD can get accidentally pregnant. But why does that happen?

Usually, IUD pregnancies happen when the device slips out completely or partially from the uterus during intercourse. Similarly, you can get pregnant if your hormonal IUD hasn’t started to work. IUD failure can also be a reason for an accidental pregnancy. 

In this case, there’s a possibility you’ll experience an ectopic pregnancy. That means the pregnancy will form in your fallopian tubes. Unfortunately, you’ll need to terminate it because your tubes can burst and lead to internal bleeding. Other risks of IUD pregnancies include miscarriages, premature delivery, low birth weight, etc. 

3 Alternative Birth Control Options That Are Better Than IUDs 

After learning about the lawsuits and side effects, you might not want to use an IUD. Thankfully, there are multiple birth control devices that you can try. Take a look at the three safer birth control alternatives. 

#1. Vaginal Ring

According to the Cleveland Clinic, vaginal rings are small and flexible plastic devices that you can insert into your vagina. After insertion, it releases pregnancy-prevention hormones through the vaginal lining. The ring usually lasts about 21 days. 

#2. Vaginal Gel

Vaginal gel for birth control is a non-hormonal substance used inside the vagina at least one hour before intercourse. Usually, it comes in a pre-filled applicator for a single dose. But remember to use it with a spermicide, diaphragm, or condom for optimal effectiveness. 

#3. Birth Control Patch

This is a beige-colored, 1¾-inch square-shaped patch that sticks to the skin. When in use, the birth control patch will release hormones like progestin and estrogen into the bloodstream through the skin. These chemical substances will help prevent pregnancy. Each patch lasts about seven days.

In conclusion, IUDs aren’t safe for most women. For instance, copper IUDs can break inside your body, and you can face severe side effects. That’s why you should look for alternatives like vaginal gels, birth control patches, and vaginal rings. 

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