Is The IUD Right For You

March 30, 2022
Lisa Otey, MD

Intrauterine Device

Throughout the world, intrauterine device or IUD is a very popular method of birth control. While the intrauterine device is popular in other countries, in the United States, only about 2% of women use this birth control method. Your Houston Gynecologist will be discuss this with you in detail should you need help with contraception.

The intrauterine device is a tiny plastic device that is inserted inside the uterus to prevent pregnancy. A number of women are afraid to use an intrauterine device because one type of IUD was withdrawn from the market in 1975. The reason for the withdrawal is that this one type of intrauterine device had problems. Due to innovations and change of design, IUDs nowadays are proven safe and more effective. Today, doctors are also careful in screening patients who can use intrauterine device.

Intrauterine device is not advisable for women under the following circumstances:

  • Pregnant
  • Within the past 3 months have or have had pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Suspected or have a known pelvic cancer
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Within the past 3 months have or have had certain pelvic infections
  • Sexually transmitted diseases (STD)
  • Certain liver conditions
  • Allergic to any part of IUD
  • Uterine fibroids or other concerns that may interfere with the insertion of an intrauterine device


For the first year of use, the possibility of pregnancy is close 8 in every 1,000 women using copper IUD and 1 in every 1,000 women using hormonal intrauterine device. Because of this decrease in pregnancy rate, IUD is considered as one of the most trusted birth control methods. In addition to its birth control purpose, IUD’s advantages include:

  • Easy to use
  • Non interference daily activities and with sex
  • Tampon can be used with it
  • Physical activities cannot dislodged IUD
  • In some cases, hormonal IUD may help decrease menstrual pain and bleeding
  • Used to help treat menopause symptoms
  • Copper IUD can be used for emergency contraception – to be effective it must be inserted in the uterus within 5 days prior to having unprotected sex.

Side Effects

The side effects of intrauterine device include:

  • Menstrual pain and bleeding
  • Bleeding between periods are increased with the copper IUD
  • Cramping
  • Spotting during the first few weeks after the IUD is inserted
  • Vaginal discharge

These side effects are natural and mostly disappear within one or two months.


Serious complications rarely happen as a result of the use of IUD. There are instances, however, whereby some women do have complications. These problems can take place during or after the IUD insertion:

Expulsion: IUD is pushed out from the uterus and into the vagina. This occurs in close to 5% of intrauterine device users and happens within the first year of use. This occurrence rate lessens with length of use. This also occurs more on women who have no children. Even with partial expulsion, the intrauterine device is rendered ineffective.

Perforation: In very rare occasions, that is, about 1 in every 1,000 insertions, the IUD can pierce or perforate on the wall of the uterus.

Infections: In 1 in every 1,000 women using IUD, especially in women with STDs, infections in the fallopian tubes and uterus can happen. This infection may scar the reproduction organs making it harder for the affected woman to have children later.

Pregnancy: In rare cases, a woman may become pregnant even though using an IUD. The IUD must be removed by your Houston Gynecologist if the string is visible. If the IUD is removed after conception, the risks borne out of having IUD are lessen. If the intrauterine device is not removed, there is a danger to the fetus and mother, including the increased risk of infection, preterm birth or miscarriage. When pregnancy happens even with an intrauterine device in place, there is a greater likelihood that it will going to be an ectopic pregnancy. If you believe that you are pregnant, contact your doctor to talk about your risks and options.

Warning Signs

These indicators may be a sign that there is a problem with your intrauterine device. If you have the following symptoms, contact your doctor:

  • Pain during sex
  • Unusual vaginal discharge
  • Change in length or position of the string
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Missed period or other signs of pregnancy
  • IUD can be felt in the cervix or vagina

Do not attempt to remove the IUD by yourself. The IUD must only be taken out by a doctor.

Lastly …

IUD has been proven to be effective and safe birth control method. Knowledge of the risks and benefits; and knowledge about your sexual and medical history can assist you and your Houston Gynecologist on whether or not IUD is the appropriate birth control method for you.

Contact us by phone or web to make a same day appointment to discuss your specific needs. We’re always happy to hear from you!