If you’re considering an intrauterine device (IUD), chances are good you’ve heard some rumors about these small T-shaped devices. While today’s IUDs are safe and effective for almost all women, myths from decades past continue to circulate.
Women’s health specialist Rickie Guida, WHNP-BC, and the team at Alpenglow Gynecology in Littleton, Colorado, want to set the record straight. Keep reading to bust some of the most common myths about IUDs and get the facts you need to make an informed decision.
FACT: Countless studies are conclusive: IUDs are safe for women and cause no increased risk of injury, infection, or infertility.
This myth gets its roots because the Dalkon Shield, an old IUD from the 1970s, caused a host of problems. Today’s IUDs are nothing like this older version.
The IUD today is one of the safest and most effective types of birth control on the market. Complications are extremely rare and study after study have found this type of birth control does not increase your risk of having a negative health side effect. In fact, some studies show IUDs actually reduce your risk of endometrial and ovarian cancer.
FACT: IUDs are a safe and effective option for women of all ages, from the teen years through perimenopause.
This myth comes about for a number of reasons. Some doctors report concern that younger women have higher STD rates, which IUDs don’t protect against. Some out-of-date providers still tell women they aren’t eligible for an IUD because they are too young or haven’t had a baby yet.
But this simply isn’t true. The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommends IUDs as safe and effective for adolescents and women of all ages. If your doctor tells you that you can’t get an IUD because you’re too young or haven’t had a baby, it’s time to get a second opinion.
FACT: You can get an IUD without getting a Pap test.
A Pap test, or Pap smear, is a test that checks the cells of your cervix for evidence of cervical cancer. This test is completely unrelated to birth control, including IUDs. If it’s time for your regular Pap test, having it done at the same time as your IUD insertion may be convenient, but there’s no requirement that you have the test before getting an IUD.
FACT: IUDs are placed inside the uterus and won’t affect sex.
Your vagina is about six inches long and ends at your cervix, which is the neck of the uterus. IUDs are placed at the top of the uterus. While rough sex or large penises may cause your partner to brush your cervix, it’s not possible for your partner to penetrate your cervix and enter your uterus.
It is possible for your partner to feel the IUD strings, which extend through the cervix. However, the strings are soft and don’t make sex painful for your partner. Sometimes, the strings may be in an awkward spot. If your partner mentions the strings, you can return to your provider and have them adjusted in minutes.
Ready to learn more about IUDs and whether one is right for you? Schedule an appointment online or over the phone with Rickie at Alpenglow Gynecology in Littleton, Colorado.