Simply the Facts About the Intrauterine Device (IUD)


There are 2 different types of IUDs available to women
Which one is right for you?

Paragard IUD

The Paragard IUD is good for individuals who desire long term contraception. The Paragard can stay in the uterus for 10 years. The copper in the Paragard works by affecting the sperm’s ability to move around and by possibly preventing fertilization.

The Paragard is good for those who:

  • Want to continue to get their period
  • Do not want to use or who cannot use a form of birth control that contains hormones
  • Do not experience heavy, painful periods

Hormonal IUD: Mirena, Skyla and Liletta

The Mirena IUD is good for individuals who desire contraception and lighter, less crampy periods. The Mirena IUD contains Levonorgestrel which is a type of hormone and it can stay in place for 5 years. Many women are under the impression that the hormones in the IUD will affect them the same way that the hormones in pills or the Nuva Ring would but that is not the case. The hormones in this type of IUD are localized to the uterus and any of the hormones that does become systemic is a very low dose.

The Mirena IUD is good for those who:

  • Have heavy, crampy periods
  • Do not want to or cannot use a form of birth control that contains estrogen

The Skyla IUD is the sister to the Mirena IUD. The Skyla IUD is similar to the Mirena but it is smaller and contains less progesterone. It is often considered ideal for a smaller uterus or younger patient population. The Skyla is approved for 3 year use.

Liletta is a newer IUD that is similar to the Mirena IUD and can also be used for 3 years.

So Why Choose an IUD?

  • It can be placed in a single office visit
  • Close to 100% effective at preventing pregnancy
  • One of the most cost effective forms of birth control
  • Periods diminish or disappear altogether – with the Mirena
  • Long term / reversible form of birth control
  • Cannot be seen or felt
  • Alleviates having to remember a pill every day
  • Can be used at any age before menopause

It is important to remember that neither type of IUD prevents against sexually transmitted infections (STI) or HIV/AIDS. Therefore, it is important to use appropriate protection.

It is a myth that you must give birth to children prior to getting an IUD for contraceptive protection. The IUD does not cause permanent infertility and is completely reversible once removed.

It is true that the IUD is the most effective form of birth control and Paragard is FDA approved for emergency contraception.

If you are interested in discussing the IUD in more detail, please schedule an appointment at McDowell Mountain Gynecology 480-483-9011. I look forward to seeing you!

-Jacqueline Johnstone, CNM, Advanced Practitioner

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