IUDS

What is the IUD?

The IUD (intrauterine device) is a tiny “t” shaped plastic device, about the size of a quarter, which works by changing the lining of the uterus so that sperm can't make their way to an egg to cause pregnancy. A clinician places it inside a person's uterus during a simple procedure where it can stay and remain effective for 3-12 years, depending on which kind of IUD is used. 

There are four types of IUDs: ParaGard, which has no hormones, and Mirena, Skyla, and Liletta which have a small amount of the hormone Progestin. 

ParaGard Pros:

  • May be safely left in place up to 12 years.
  • It is 99.2-99.4% effective at preventing pregnancy.
  • Very private and hidden. Neither you nor your partner can feel it.
  • Works better than birth control pills, the patch, the ring or the shot.
  • Provides a hormone-free birth control option.
  • It is really effective as Emergency Contraception, can be used up to 5 days after unprotected sex and you can leave it in for 12 years.
  • After ParaGard insertion, you don’t have to think about birth control again for 12 years.
  • ParaGard, like all forms of FDA approved methods of birth control, should be covered by insurance without a co-pay. ParaGard is covered by Family PACT and MediCal

ParaGard Cons:

  • Does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases or HIV.
  • ParaGard  may cause occasional cramps and heavier periods for some people.
  • Not all providers will stock or know how to place ParaGard. Ask your provider whether they carry it and what your options are if they don't.

Mirena  Pros:

  • May be safely left in place up to 5 years.
  • It is 99.9% effective at preventing pregnancy.
  • Very private and hidden. Neither you nor your partner can feel it.
  • Works better than birth control pills, the patch, the ring or the shot.
  • Can provide relief for people who experience heavy periods, bad cramps and PMS.
  • After Mirena insertion, you don’t have to think about birth control again for 5 years.
  • Mirena, like all forms of FDA approved methods of birth control, should be covered by insurance without a co-pay. Mirena is covered by Family PACT and MediCal

Mirena Cons:

  • Does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases or HIV.
  • Not all providers will stock or know how to place Mirena. Ask your provider whether they carry it and what your options are if they don't.

Skyla  Pros:

  • May be safely left in place up to 3 years.
  • It is over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.
  • Very private and hidden. Neither you nor your partner can feel it.
  • Works better than birth control pills, the patch, the ring or the shot.
  • Works to lighten menstrual periods without stopping them altogether.
  • After Skyla insertion, you don’t have to think about birth control again for 3 years.
  • Skyla, like all forms of FDA approved methods of birth control, should be covered by insurance without a co-pay. Skyla is covered by Family PACT and MediCal

Skyla Cons:

  • Does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases or HIV.
  • Not all providers will stock or know how to place Skyla. Ask your provider whether they carry it and what your options are if they don't.

Liletta Pros:

  • May be safely left in place up to 3 years.
  • It is over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.
  • Very private and hidden. Neither you nor your partner can feel it.
  • Works better than birth control pills, the patch, the ring or the shot.
  • Works to lighten menstrual periods; one in five women stop having a period after a year of use. 
  • After Liletta insertion, you don’t have to think about birth control again for 3 years.
  • Liletta, like all forms of FDA approved methods of birth control, should be covered by insurance without a co-pay. Liletta is covered by Family PACT and MediCal

Liletta Cons:

  • Does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases or HIV.
  • Not all providers will stock or know how to place Liletta. Ask your provider whether they carry it and what your options are if they don't.

Who uses the IUD?

People who want long-acting, low-maintenance pregnancy prevention and who don’t want to have to remember to take their birth control for several years.

How do you use the IUD?

The IUD is inserted by a clinician into the uterus.  It is a simple procedure that takes about 15 minutes. 

Where do you get the IUD?

To get an IUD, go to a nearby clinic. A clinician will fit you for the IUD, and insert it. The cost of the IUD varies but at most clinics in California it may be available for free. All four of the above IUDs are FDA approved methods of birth control and should be covered by insurance without a co-pay. Since the IUD keeps working for 3 to 12 years, it is a great investment.

How effective is the IUD?

The IUD is more than 99% effective, and is the most effective reversible birth control method currently available.

Does the IUD offer STD protection?

NO. For STD protection use condoms with this method.