…Or do I need to go through a birth control consultation appointment first?
IUDs (Intrauterine Devices) are long term, reversible methods of birth control used to effectively prevent pregnancy. An IUD is a T-shaped device that rests in the uterus. There are two types of IUDs: Mirena & Paragard. Mirena works by releasing hormones to prevent ovulation – the process where the ovaries release an egg – and thickening the cervical mucus. The Mirena is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy and lasts for up to 5 years! Paragard is made of copper which causes sperm to die within the uterus before it can fertilize an egg. Paragard contains no hormones, but is also 99% effective in preventing pregnancy for up to 10 years!
We recommend Mirena for those who have heavy periods. Because Mirena contains the hormone progesterone, it can make the period lighter. Some people who use Mirena don’t get a period at all! Others may experience spotting (small amounts of irregular bleeding) instead. Paragard, on the other hand, can increase cramping and period flow. We recommend Paragard for people who experience light, easy periods, and who would like to menstruate on their regular cycle.
It has also recently been released that intrauterine devices may also reduce the risk of cervical cancer by 45%, as stated by a recent New York Times article. The new information comes out of a review of studies conducted in Asia, South America, and Europe between 1985 and 2007. Researchers believe that inserting an IUD may create an immune response that helps the body fight off HPV. Check out the whole article here!
However, it’s important to note that IUDs do not prevent against any STIs! IUDs can be a great form a birth control, but you will want to use condoms 100% of the time to help with the prevention of STIs. Give Teen Clinic a call to schedule an appointment to talk about the IUD and if it will be the best choice for your body!
If you would like an IUD, or intrauterine device, we would do the insertion right here at either our Boulder or Longmont clinic! It’s important to note though that there are 3 parts to the IUD insertion process …
- Birth Control Consultation/Annual Exam- You would start off by making an appointment to talk about the IUD and see if it would be a good fit for your body and lifestyle! You can do this in 1 of 2 ways. The first way you can get the process started is that you can make an appointment for a birth control consultation. During this appointment, you will speak with a nurse practitioner and have an STI screening. This is done simply done peeing in a cup! The other way you can do this is by getting an Annual Exam. Because Teen Clinic follows health standards that we do not perform pap smears on patients under 21, you will not have a pelvic exam unless you have symptoms of an infection. Teen Clinic will also only give a breast exam to patients who are 19 and older. The difference between an annual exam and birth control consultation is that the annual exam is a little more of an in depth visit with a longer interview process. At both visits though you will have an STI screen and talk about if the IUD is right for you!
- IUD Insertion- This next part is where you actually have the IUD inserted! At this point we will have your medical history and STI test results so there will be a shorter interview process. If your tests are negative and you haven’t had any unprotected sex in the last 2 weeks, the IUD will be inserted. But Teen Clinic makes sure that our patients know that the actual insertion is never guaranteed. For some people, the IUD insertion is quick and painless. For others, it may take a little longer or we may need to give you a specific medication and have you come back to try the insertion again at a later date.
- Follow-up appointment- Assuming the IUD was inserted without issue, the nurse will usually have you return to the clinic in 3 months for a follow-up appointment. At this time, the nurse will make sure you’re satisfied with the IUD and make sure everything is as it should be. It usually takes your body about 3 months to adjust to a new medication, so at this time your body should be pretty well adjusted to your new IUD! After this, our nurses will encourage you to return for an annual exam in 1 year!