I saw this great article this week. Looks like the USA are just discovering what the rest of us have known for years. IUDs are a safe, effective and highly cost effective form of contraception.
I started recommending IUDs in 2002 when I was training in O&G at the Royal Womens. IUDs have always been popular in Europe and Asia, more than 41% of Chinese women who use contraception have an IUD. That's a lot of women.
These days I'm a huge fan of IUDs for women of all reproductive ages, including teenagers.
There are two main types of IUD.
- Copper IUDs are more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. They are non-hormonal and typically suit women who have had problems on the pill or women unsuited to the pill such as those aged 40-plus or with high blood pressure. For most women they can be inserted in a rooms procedure in about 10 minutes.
- Mirena IUDs offer the above benefits plus a reduction in menstrual bleeding. They contain a tiny dose of progesterone hormone that thins the uterine lining and lessens bleeding. The hormone stays confined to the uterus and side effects are rare. The use of Mirena IUDs for heavy bleeding is the topic of a whole new blog.
Price-wise an IUD (including insertion procedure) costs the equivalent of 12-18 months of pill use but lasts 5 years.
IUDs are also the ideal post-pregnancy IUD as they are safe for breastfeeding and usually easy to insert after childbirth.