Intrauterine devices, more commonly known as IUDs, are a popular contraceptive device amongst women when it comes to choosing a form of birth control. Instead of taking a pill everyday, the IUD is implanted in women’s uteruses and has been proven to be just as effective as the pill and even sterilization. However unlike sterilization, it is completely reversible. Despite its popularity, many women are still hesitant to make the IUD their go-to method of pregnancy prevention. This is so because there happens to be a set of widely believed myths and misconceptions surrounding the IUD that many fall victim to. Here are some of the most popular myths and misconceptions debunked.
Myth 1: Insertion is far too painful.
Pain tolerance varies from person to person, but the belief that the pain associated with inserting an IUD is too unbearable is the main reason as to why many women are holding back from getting one. During insertion, it is more uncomfortable than painful. The feeling associated with insertion has been described as a strong menstrual cramp that doesn’t last long. This cramp comes along with the opening of the cervix to insert the IUD. Many doctors will have you come in to get the IUD inserted when your cervix is already naturally open during your period. If you’re concerned about the discomfort, taking an over the counter painkiller beforehand will definitely help with some of the sensation.
Myth 2: Your partner will be able to feel the IUD during intercourse.
Some people have reported feeling the strings of the IUD during intercourse, but it is impossible to feel the actual IUD. That is because it is placed at the very top of the inside of the uterus, completely out of reach during intercourse. The strings that are sometimes felt during intercourse are attached to the end of the IUD and make their way through the cervix outside into the vagina. The strings are soft and shouldn't bother your partner, but if for some reason they do, you can always ask your doctor to trim them. If you or your partner feel any sort of pain or discomfort during sex, it is important to see a doctor to make sure that your IUD is in the proper position. If an IUD is in its right position no pain or discomfort should be felt during intercourse.
Myth 3: It can cause infections and even infertility.
In order to debunk this myth, a study was conducted by The World Health Organization (WHO). Their findings concluded that women who use an IUD have no increased risk of infertility or pelvic infection when compared to women who use other forms of birth control. Instead, hormonal IUDs may actually decrease your risk of infection because these types of IUDs make the cervical mucus very thick which does a good job at keeping bacteria, like Chlamydia, out. This is great news for hormonal IUD users, because a conclusive finding from WHO also showed that Chlamydia is closely related to infertility.
Myth 4: An IUD is a serious commitment. Only women who know for sure they don’t want anymore kids should get one.
This myth couldn’t be more far off. The hormonal IUDs last between 3 and 6 years whereas the non-hormonal ones last between 10 and 12 years. Even with those time periods, a woman can choose to have her IUD taken out at anytime, no surgery required. Just a quick trip to your health provider and a gentle pull on the strings and your IUD is successfully removed. It is important to remember that once the IUD is removed, the contraceptive effect it provided disappears instantly. So unless you’re planning to get pregnant, it is important to use a different contraceptive method if you’re sexually active.
Myth 5: Getting a Pap smear is necessary before inserting an IUD.
Even though totally untrue, this misconception is pretty common. Any type of birth control, including IUDs, are completely unrelated to Pap smears. Some may believe the two are related because many women find it convenient to get an IUD inserted during the same time they are already due for a Pap smear. That’s a smart move, but not necessary if you want to get an IUD now and your not due for your next Pap in a few months. The good news is that even if you’ve had an abnormal Pap smear result at some point in the past you are still eligible to use an IUD.
Editing Note: This article did not filter through the normal EmpowHER editing and fact checking process. It was checked for spelling and grammar.Read more in Being HER