When thinking about birth control, it's important to know about all of your options. So I'm going to post about all the choices on your contraception menu, one at a time.
The intrauterine device, also known as the IUD, is one of the oldest forms of birth control. Women have been inserting things into their vagina and uterus to avoid pregnancy--think ivory, wood, and even glass--since we figured out where babies come from. There are now two IUDs on the market in the U.S. Both are over 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy, making them the most reliable forms of reversible contraception (and in some studies, they're even better than tying your tubes).
The Paragard is a copper-based IUD that lasts for up to 10 years. It contains no hormones, so there are very few women who can't use it. The Mirena is a progesterone-based IUD that lasts for up to 5 years. This IUD has the added benefit of making your periods lighter and shorter, with less cramping, and some women lose their periods altogether. Both IUDs need to be placed by a gyno, and removed by her as well. While it may be more complicated to start using an IUD as compared to pills (with a higher upfront cost), the long-term effectiveness and improved periods may be worth the planning.
Have any of you tried using an IUD? What did you think?