by Peter D. Grossman, MD
The most effective method of reversible contraception is sadly one of the most under utilized methods of birth control in the United States. The IUD (intrauterine device) has a long history of use over the centuries. Designs have improved dramatically over the years making the IUD a very practical contraception option.
Two major designs are presently available. Both can be inserted in a physician's office in less than one minute without much discomfort. Once placed inside the uterus they provide uninterrupted birth control. They can be removed at anytime should a woman decide she wants to conceive. Return to fertility is almost immediate since they do not prevent ovulation like the pill or depoprovera injections.
The copper IUD can provide up to ten years of contraception. They are the most economical form of reliable contraception but often increase menstrual bleeding. Hormone containing IUD's provide up to five years of contraception. They however have the added benefit of drastically reducing menstrual blood loss. Increasingly they are used as an alternative to surgery for women who suffer with this problem.
Hormonal side effects are rarely seen with IUDs. Nausea, breast tenderness, mood changes, weight gain and decreased libido are uncommon. More importantly the failure rate with the IUD is only one in a thousand, a fraction of failure rate on the pill.
Although the manufacturer recommends use in women who have already had a baby, world literature supports the notion that the IUD can be considered by women of reproductive age before childbirth.
Dr. Peter D. Grossman, MD, received an undergraduate degree with honors in Zoology at the University of Wisconsin. After attending New York Medical College he completed his residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology at Columbia University. As a board certified specialist he practiced in rural Southwest Virginia. After five years he relocated to Augusta Georgia where he presently practices general Obstetrics and Gynecology.
Dr. Grossman is working diligently on a local and national level to reduce the rate of unplanned pregnancies through patient and physician education. His other professional goals are to reduce the use of hysterectomy for abnormal bleeding and to increase patient awareness of new contraceptive technologies.
Copyright © Peter Grossman. Permission to republish granted to Pregnancy.org, LLC.