| 6 months ago

Is A Birth Control Implant Right for You

Forget about a daily pill, long-acting contraceptive implants are increasingly becoming the alternative of choice for women.

It’s a wheel of pills, one for each day of the week, and the iconic image that comes to mind for most when they hear someone mention birth control. An extremely personal decision for any woman using birth control, what’s right for me? Technology has eclipsed the traditional pill, and now women can choose from birth control options that don’t require a daily pill. Today, women can select options to be used in the moment, or in some cases implanted in their bodies.

Long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC), like the IUD implant, is efficient and growing in popularity among women searching for alternatives to a daily pill. As more women seek alternatives to the pill or patch, we asked a medical expert, Richard J. James, MD OB/GYN, Atrium Health, to shine some light on the increasingly popular birth control method.

What is an IUD?

An intrauterine device (IUD) is a type of long-acting reversible birth control.  IUD’s are small plastic T-shaped devices placed in the uterus. There are two types of IUD’s available in the United States. One type releases copper and the other form releases the hormone progestin.

How does an IUD work differently from a pill?

The copper IUD works by interfering with sperm movement, egg fertilization, and possibly prevents implantation.

Progestin IUD’s work by thickening the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from entering into the uterus; thins the lining of the uterus; and possibly inhibits any sperm that does enter the uterus from fertilizing the egg.

How effective is an IUD?

Both types of IUDs are over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy if placed properly.

Does getting an IUD implant hurt?

After an IUD is placed in the uterus, some patients feel discomfort and cramping. Over the counter medication can help reduce the intensity and duration of cramping.

Are there side effects to an IUD?

The copper IUD may cause some women to have more substantial and more prolonged menstrual cycles. Progestin IUD’s may diminish or stop women’s menstrual bleeding. Some women may have irregular spotting and bleeding. IUD’s do not protect women from or prevent the spread of sexually transmitted infections.

Which IUD is right for me?

Women should discuss with their physician the benefits of an IUD.  There are several different kinds of IUD’s available and vary from 3 - 10 years of effectiveness.


To schedule an appointment with a physician to discuss IUD’s and family planning, contact Atrium Health or your OB/GYN.