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Washington and Lee University

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IUDs

Background

The IUD is a plastic, t-shaped device that is inserted into the uterus. It prevents fertilization of the egg. There are two types used in the US currently, ParaGard IUD (nonhormonal) and Mirena IUD (hormonal - contains progestin). The Paragard will be effective for 12 years, while the Mirena will be effective for about 5 years.

Advantages

  • Both are effective and safe (usually recommended for women who have already had a child)
  • Both are long lasting, neither contain estrogen
  • Not prohibitively expensive
  • Does not affect sex.
  • Mirena brand has been known to decrease menstrual bleeding .

Disadvantages

  • ParaGard may cause heavier and longer bleeding, may lead to more cramps.
  • Insertion can be painful, may cause early bleeding.
  • Does not protect against STIs
  • Some women expel their IUD

Efficacy

The chances of conception for both types of IUDs are less that 1%

Availability

An IUD costs anywhere from $200-400 and must be inserted and removed by a doctor for an additional fee. Contact the Student Health Center for more information.