Risks Of Becoming Pregnant With An Iud
Intrauterine devices small, flexible devices shaped like the letter T that are inserted into a woman’s uterus by a healthcare providerare one of the most effective reversible methods of birth control available. That said, around one of 100 women with an IUD get pregnant each year, with the highest risk occurring within the first year following the insertion.
While it is rare to become pregnant with an IUD, it does occur, and it is important to learn about the risks and complications associated with an IUD pregnancy.
Luckily The Available Research Shows That Its Extremely Rare To Get Pregnant With An Iud
IUDs are a very, very reliable method of birth control, Maureen Whelihan, M.D., an ob/gyn at the Center for Sexual Health & Education, tells SELF. Jason James, M.D., medical director at Miami’s FemCare Ob-Gyn, agrees, but he also notes that even the best birth control can fail. Theres nothing thats 100 percent, he tells SELF.
Heres the generally accepted statistic: Fewer than one person out of every 100 with an IUD will get pregnant within the first year of use.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention cites a 2011 Contraception review in its materials about effectiveness of different birth control methods. The review examined the largest and most methodologically sound data on the subject, concluding that the failure rate for Paragard and Mirena are 0.8 and 0.2 percent respectively.
A 2017 study in Perspectives on Sexual and Reproductive Health studied 15,728 contraceptive use intervals from 6,683 women over four years, also concluding that IUDs were only likely to fail 1 percent of the time in a period of 12 months.
As you can see, the overall point is that getting pregnant with an IUD is extremely rare.
If You Take The Pill The Human Way Over 10 Years You Have A 61% Chance Of Getting Pregnant
Millions of women across the globe, from Melbourne to Mumbai, woke up this morning and punched a small pill out of its packet. They must remember to take one nearly every day, which is surprisingly difficult.
Theoretically, the combined contraceptive pill gives women less than a 1% chance of becoming pregnant in any given year. In reality, most of us accidentally miss around five pills each month so the rate of pregnancy is actually more like 9%. That means that if you take the pill the human way for 10 years, you have a 61% chance of getting pregnant overall. In other words, more likely than not, you will get pregnant. .
Millions of women rely on the contraceptive pill, but not all realise that there is a 61% chance of becoming pregnant on it over a decade
By one estimate, reliance on oral contraceptives leads to 960,000 pregnancies every year. There are also side effects, such as an increased risk of potentially life-changing blood clots and a faded sense of wellbeing.
The issue of compliance is common to most contraception, from condoms to the contraceptive patch. Human nature being what it is, these just arent used in real life as they are intended.
Anna Foley, from New Zealand, decided to get a hormonal IUD a few years ago. In general for me, I loved it because I always sucked at remembering to take the pill, she says. Plus I found that I had some negative side effects to the hormones, while the Mirena had a lower dose.
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Insertion Can Vary From Feeling Like An Uncomfortable Pinch To Being Very Painful But Removal Is Generally A Breeze
During your IUD insertion, your medical practitioner will insert a speculum into your vagina, clean your vagina and cervix, then place the IUD, according to the Mayo Clinic. They do this by putting the device into an applicator tube, pushing the tube into your vagina and through your cervix, then releasing the IUD into your uterus. Once the IUD is in there, its wings will extend so it can assume its T shape, and it will start its pregnancy-preventing ways. Like all IUDs, the copper version has little fishing-wire-esque strings that hang down through your cervix.
People can experience a wide range of sensations during IUD insertion. Some have described the process as few seconds of discomfort, others like sharp, intense, nausea-inducing pain. You can ask your doctor about which pain medication they recommend taking before and after the procedure, since you may experience some residual cramping. Your provider may also be able to offer medications to help your cervix open or to try to numb it instead, although getting those drugs doesnt necessarily mean youll completely bypass any pain or discomfort.
How Effective Is The Iud
Annual Failure Rate
Studies show that IUD’s have an overall annual failure rate of 3.2%, although this may vary by the type of IUD. That means each year less than 1 in 30 users experience an unplanned pregnancy. IUD’s have a lower annual failure rate of 2.7% for married couples, but a higher rate of 6.5% for cohabiting couples. IUD’s are also less effective for teens and couples in their early twenties. Compared to other methods, the intrauterine device is a highly effective method of birth control.
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How Much Does It Cost
An IUD can cost anywhere from $0 to $1,300. The cost can vary depending on the health insurance plan and the type of IUD. Many health insurance plans cover the costs, and family planning clinics may charge less.
Reversible Methods Of Birth Control
Levonorgestrel intrauterine system The LNG IUD is a small T-shaped device like the Copper T IUD. It is placed inside the uterus by a doctor. It releases a small amount of progestin each day to keep you from getting pregnant. The LNG IUD stays in your uterus for up to 3 to 6 years, depending on the device. Typical use failure rate: 0.1-0.4%.1
Copper T intrauterine device This IUD is a small device that is shaped in the form of a T. Your doctor places it inside the uterus to prevent pregnancy. It can stay in your uterus for up to 10 years. Typical use failure rate: 0.8%.1
ImplantThe implant is a single, thin rod that is inserted under the skin of a womens upper arm. The rod contains a progestin that is released into the body over 3 years. Typical use failure rate: 0.1%.1
Injection or shotWomen get shots of the hormone progestin in the buttocks or arm every three months from their doctor. Typical use failure rate: 4%.1
Combined oral contraceptivesAlso called the pill, combined oral contraceptives contain the hormones estrogen and progestin. It is prescribed by a doctor. A pill is taken at the same time each day. If you are older than 35 years and smoke, have a history of blood clots or breast cancer, your doctor may advise you not to take the pill. Typical use failure rate: 7%.1
Fertility Awareness-Based Methods
Lactational Amenorrhea Method
Permanent Methods of Birth Control
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How Is An Contraceptive Coil/iud Fitted
An IUD must be fitted by a trained nurse or doctor who will give you an internal examination to find the position and size of your uterus before they put in an IUD.
- An appointment to have an IUD fitted inserted usually take around 20-30 minutes. The actually insertion of the IUD takes five minutes. This may be uncomfortable and cause some pain.
- Factors such as size/shape of your womb, how relaxed you are, and whether youve had children before, can impact your levels of discomfort.
- You may be offered a local anaesthetic talk to your doctor or nurse about this beforehand. Taking a painkiller, such as paracetamol before the procedure may help with managing the pain.
- After the IUD has been fitted you may experience some period-type pain and some light bleeding for a few days. Taking simple painkillers can help with this.
- You can check that the IUD is in place by feeling for one or two threads that are attached to the end of the IUD and hang a little way down from your uterus. You should check for the threads a regularly to ensure that the IUD is in place.
- Related StoryCervical screening: the smear test guide
Things To Think About
You may want to consider an IUD if you:
- Want or need to avoid risks for contraceptive hormones
- Can’t take hormonal contraceptives
- Have a heavy menstrual flow and want lighter periods
You should not consider an IUD if you:
- Are at high risk for STDs
- Have a current or recent history of pelvic infection
- Are pregnant
- Have cervical or uterine cancer
- Have a very large or very small uterus
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The Bottom Line: Are The Health Risks Worth The Benefits Of The Iud
The bottom line seems to be that you have a chance of having a relatively good experience with an IUD, but there is always a risk of side effects. In addition, even small changes in our hormone balance can lead to symptoms, which unfortunately are oftentimes not attributed to the IUD. As for the copper IUD, the leaching of the copper into the body system can cause imbalances that are very hard to link back to the IUD, therefore, setting yourself up for problems that go undetected.
But, hands down the one thing that makes me the MOST concerned about the IUD, is that fact that all the research and articles from credible universities and doctors, not to mention the websites for the devices themselves, all state that they are not exactly sure WHY the IUD prevents pregnancy. Like I mentioned before, on the Mirena website under How does it work? it states Mirena may stop the release of your egg from your ovary, but this is not the way it works in most cases. Most likely, these actions work together to prevent pregnancy. If there is not clear understanding of how the device works, how can they be certain of its safety?
If you have had any experience with an IUD, we would love to hear it. Please share your story below.
In Terms Of The Intensity Of The Pain I Would Have Told You It Was A 10/10 Anna Foley
But one major concern many women have is that having an IUD inserted will be painful. And while this isnt always the case, it certainly can be. Foley doesnt mince words about her own experience. In terms of the intensity of the pain, I would have told you it was a 10/10. It was really, really bad. And whenever I thought about the pain for the rest of the day Id just start crying.
Generally the most intense pain goes away within minutes its like a fleeting spasm and women are left with a dull ache for the rest of the day. And as several women have pointed out, its much less painful than one possible alternative: childbirth.
The copper IUD paralyses and even decapitates sperm, making egg fertilisation highly unlikely
In fact, for years doctors thought that the pain of inserting an IUD would only be bearable for women who had already given birth, because their birth canals would be slightly stretched. This had an unfortunate effect: for years, many women didnt hear about this method from their doctors. We now know that it doesnt make a lot of difference women who have already given birth tend to rate their pain as a level four, as opposed to a level six.
Who knows maybe articles about how they exist will soon be redundant.
This story is part of the Health Gap, a special series about how men and women experience the medical system and their own health in starkly different ways.
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How Effective Are Iuds When Used As Birth Control
IUDs are one of the best birth control methods out there more than 99% effective. That means fewer than 1 out of 100 people who use an IUD will get pregnant each year.
IUDs are so effective because there’s no chance of making a mistake. You cant forget to take it , or use it incorrectly . And you’re protected from pregnancy 24/7 for 3 to 12 years, depending on which kind you get. Once your IUD is in place, you can pretty much forget about it until it expires. You can keep track of your insertion and removal date using our birth control app.
Types Of Pregnancy With An Iud
If your IUD fails, the doctor will find out which type of pregnancy you have:
- Intrauterine pregnancy: This is a normal pregnancy in your uterus where your baby will grow for 9 months.
- Ectopic pregnancy: The embryo tries to grow outside your uterus. It usually happens in your fallopian tubes, which carry eggs to your ovaries and then to your uterus. You can also get an ectopic pregnancy in your ovaries, abdomen, or cervix. A pregnancy in one of these areas canât grow normally. Doctors will end an ectopic pregnancy to protect you from possible bleeding that could put your life at risk.
Since IUDs prevent pregnancies in your uterus, youâre more likely to have an ectopic pregnancy than a regular pregnancy. But this doesnât mean youâre at a higher risk for ectopic pregnancies in general just because you have an IUD.
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When Is An Iud Not A Good Option
An IUD might not be a good option for you if you have:
- a uterus that is not the usual shape
- a current pelvic infection.
The hormonal IUD might not be a good option for you if you have:
- been treated for breast cancer
- severe liver disease.
The copper IUD might not be a good option for you if you have:
- heavy periods
What Can Cause An Iud To Fail
Intrauterine devices are small, T-shaped medical devices placed inside the uterus by a doctor or nurse. There are two types of IUDs: the hormonal and non hormonal.
The hormonal IUD prevents pregnancy by gradually releasing the hormone progestin into your body and can stay for up to 3 to 5 years, depending on the brand. Some popular hormonal birth control products on the market are Mirena, Skyla, Liletta, and Kyleena.
On the other hand, the copper IUD, also known as the non hormonal IUD, is completely hormone-free and protects against pregnancy by releasing copper ions which are toxic to sperm. It can remain effective for up to 10 years. The only brand of copper IUD available on the market is Paragard.
Both types of IUD have been associated with a number of side effects and complications. In fact, several Mirena lawsuits and Paragard lawsuits have been filed by plaintiffs citing these potential complications with both birth control IUDs.
One of these problems is the potential of these IUDs to fail. There are a number of reasons why an IUD may fail to prevent pregnancy. Some of them are:
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Can The Iud Cause Any Serious Health Problems
In about 1 in 500 users, a small hole in the wall of the uterus may be created while the IUD is being inserted. The IUD can move through the hole and sit in the wrong place. If this happens, keyhole surgery is required to have the IUD removed.
Around 1 in 300 users get an infection when the IUD is first inserted. This can be successfully treated with antibiotics.
It is very unlikely to get pregnant when using an IUD. If you do get pregnant with an IUD in place, there is a higher chance of ectopic pregnancy. This means that the pregnancy may settle in the fallopian tubes . This should be medically assessed urgently and treated as required.
Myth: Problems After Removal
Some couples do not want to use the IUD because they incorrectly believe that the IUD will cause infertility, ectopic pregnancy, or miscarriage.
Fact: no increased risk of infertility
Good studies find no increased risk of infertility among women who have used IUDs, including young women and women with no children. Whether or not a woman has an IUD, however, if she develops pelvic inflammatory disease and it is not treated, there is some chance that she will become infertile. PID can permanently damage the lining of the fallopian tubes and may partially or totally block one or both tubes enough to cause infertility.
Fact: no increased risk of ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage after removal
Because any pregnancy among IUD users is rare, ectopic pregnancy among IUD users is even rarer. An IUD does not increase a womans overall risk of ectopic pregnancy. In fact, an IUD users risk of an ectopic pregnancy is much lower than the risk to a woman who is not using any method of contraception. In the unlikely event of pregnancy in an IUD user, 6 to 8 in every 100 of these pregnancies is ectopic. Thus, the great majority of pregnancies after IUD failure are not ectopic. Still, ectopic pregnancy can be life-threatening, so a provider should be aware that ectopic pregnancy is possible if an IUD fails.
IUDs do not cause miscarriages after they have been removed. If correct insertion technique is used, the use of an IUD will not cause any difficulty in future pregnancies.
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