Some doctors still mistaken on IUD safety - study

Many U.S. doctors and other health providers may have mistaken beliefs about the safety of IUD contraceptives, thinking they are less safe than they are - especially for women who have never given birth, according to a U.S. government study.

Researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) surveyed almost 2,000 health care providers and found that nearly one-third either thought IUDs were unsafe for women who had never given birth or were unsure of their safety.

IUDs, or intrauterine devices, are implanted in the uterus, where they release small amounts of either copper or the hormone progestin to prevent pregnancy. When IUDs first came out, there were concerns that they might increase the risk of pelvic infection and jeopardize women’s future fertility.

But it’s now known that IUDs do not carry that risk, said Crystal Tyler at the CDC, who led the study. What’s more, unlike condoms and birth control pills - both more popular in the United States - they are put in place and can be “forgotten.”

“IUDs are safe for ... women” who have not given birth, said Tyler. “And IUDs are as effective as sterilization, but they’re a reversible form of contraception.”

Small, “T-shaped” device inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy
Safe, effective, and long lasting
Must be inserted by a health care provider
Costs between $500 and $1,000 up front, but lasts up to 12 years

The hormonal IUD, sold under the brand name Mirena, can prevent pregnancy for five years, while the copper version, sold as ParaGard, is effective for about 10 years.

How effective is it?
Bayer claims Mirena is 99.9% effective. That means 1 in 1000 women will still get knocked up. Believe it or not, you supposedly get the same efficacy from sterilization.

How much does it cost?
If you live in the UK, their National Health Service covers it. If you live in the US, you already know health insurance companies often suck and do anything they can to make you pay out of pocket. This is actually covered by some of them, however, cos having a baby costs them a whole lot more than an IUD. If your insurance does not cover it, it will cost you about $585. You can pay it all upfront, or you can put it pay monthly installments. Let’s hope they don’t mean Layaway… Ok, it all sounds cool thus far, right? Even with that price tag. Well, let’s get down to the real issues. The ones that have kept me from having this thing inserted.

Side Effects:
Bayer alleges there are very few side effects, and that 9 in 10 women recommends the Mirena to their friends. I assume that means 9 in 10 women don’t have trouble after it’s in there. Bayer does mention the following are possible, however: Weight gain, acne, cramps, pain, dizziness, headaches, breast tenderness, mood changes.

Wow, kind of sounds like what many women go through once a month without using this thing.
Ok, maybe not. They say these effects are rare and, when experienced, tend to go away within a few days. So, fine. The problem I have, is all the women posting all over the internet with their horror stories about devastating acne, weigh gain up to 15 pounds despite healthy eating and exercise, and pain akin to being stabbed with a needle. Obviously, as with anything that changes the body drastically, there are going to be some people who don’t tolerate it well.

Bayer claims this has been used safely, and without incident, by 8 million women for the last 16 years.
I don’t know any of them personally, so I can’t do much more than ask those I know who’ve recently started using it.Truthfully, everyone I know currently using it doesn’t report problems. They say they haven’t experienced weight gain, acne or other distressful symptoms. I find this comforting, but for me the jury is still out on whether or not I want one of these things living inside of me.

A separate recent study found that 0.8 percent of U.S. women using a copper IUD had an unplanned pregnancy within a year, while the rate for those on the hormonal IUD was 0.2 percent.

How Effective Is the IUD?
Effectiveness is an important and common concern when choosing a birth control method. IUDs are one of the most effective forms of birth control available. Less than 1 out of 100 women will get pregnant each year if they use the ParaGard or the Mirena IUD.

Keep in mind that the IUD doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted infections. Use a latex or female condom along with the IUD to reduce the risk of infection.

By contrast, about nine of every 100 women on birth control pills can expect to have an unintentional pregnancy in a year, owing largely to imperfect use. With condoms, about two percent of women will become pregnant, but that’s only if a couple uses them correctly every time they have sex.

Tyler and her colleagues, whose results are reported in Obstetrics and Gynecology, surveyed obstetrician/gynecologists and family doctors, as well as nurses and physician assistants working at family planning clinics.

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