Intrauterine device – would it be your first choice?

Birth control is one of the most important decisions in every person’s life – or at least it should be. I recently read something that made me laugh, but then on second thoughts made me worried:
“People spend days, weeks, even months reading about and testing a phone they would like to buy… and then they make a baby by accident.”

In my opinion, having kids is the single most beautiful thing that one can do. However, the time has to be right and the person has to be ready for all the commitment that this act requires.

CondomsThis is exactly the reason why birth control is so important, especially for young men and women who are still exploring their opportunities, making their life choices and enjoying their youth the best they can. Choices are many, but few young women (especially teenagers) dare to talk them through with their doctors. They usually get advised to use condoms as the best prevention for both sexually transmitted diseases and unwanted pregnancy. I agree with them wholeheartedly. On the other hand, if a girl is in a stable relationship, she might choose not to have to use condoms on every occasion. I don’t know about you, but I don’t find condoms sexy. They spoil the magic of the moment, and I always find them to be a bit pleasure-inhibiting. That might push them towards other choices, which in most cases would be hormonal pills (if they are good at remembering things) or arm implants.

But how many of them would even think about getting an IUD?

Intrauterine devices are usually recommended to women who have already given birth. The device is inserted by a health professional into the womb and gives the “wearer” up to 5 years’ protection from unwanted pregnancy. There are different types of IUD, giving you a choice of hormonal or non-hormonal contraception, but also giving you different levels of protection against unwanted pregnancy.

With technological and medical advancement, the IUD devices got smaller and more reliable with a lower dose of hormones (progestines) that they release, so they are now suitable for younger girls too, with less chance of the device being “rejected” by the body. Also, the sexual hormones are acting locally, without the systemic effect that the pill or an arm implant might have.

How does a hormonal IUD work?

The device stops the lining of the womb growing in its normal monthly cycles – a necessary step towards getting the womb ready for an implantation of a fertilised egg. It also thickens the cervical mucus, making it impossible for sperm to get to the egg in the first place.

There are, of course, downsides to its use, like with every other contraceptive method. Be sure to talk about all the pros and cons with your GP before making a decision.

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