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Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are a birth control method that’s become quite popular lately. Some women decide it’s the right choice for them because it’s low-maintenance—there’s no need to take a monthly trip to the pharmacy, or to remember to take a pill every day. However, an IUD isn’t necessarily right for every woman. Talk to a gynecologist about your options and your health history before deciding.

Visual representation of Intrauterine devices (IUDs) in female reproductive system

There are several IUDs.

Today, women have more IUD options available in the U.S. than in previous years. There are now at least four approved hormonal IUDs, plus one non-hormonal IUD. The hormonal IUDs work because of the time-controlled release of progestin, which is a synthetic version of progesterone—a hormone naturally made by the body. Depending on the brand of IUD you choose, the hormonal options can remain in place and stay effective for three to six years. The non-hormonal IUD is made with a little copper, which prevents sperm from fertilizing an egg. The copper IUD can remain effective for up to 12 years.

IUD insertion can be unpleasant.

Your gynecologist must insert the IUD—it cannot be inserted or removed at home. The doctor will make you as comfortable as possible during the insertion process, however, you should expect some discomfort. Initially, the insertion will feel much like a typical pelvic exam and pap test. The gynecologist will insert a speculum, followed by a long, skinny tube that holds the IUD. This must be inserted through the cervix and into the uterus. Although the experience may not be pleasant, it should be over within just a few minutes.

The adjustment period can last a couple of months.

Once your body has adjusted to the IUD’s presence, you shouldn’t notice anything different, except that you might eventually not have your period anymore. However, during the adjustment process, you may feel bloated, crampy, and occasionally nauseated.

At Washington Surgi-Clinic , we value and respect the unique needs of every woman we care for. Call (202) 659-9403 for an appointment, and one of our gynecologists will take the time to discuss your birth control options at length. If you choose to have an IUD inserted at our Washington, D.C. clinic, you can rest assured your gynecologist will exercise care to ensure your safety and comfort.