IUD Options

For convenience in birth control, it is hard to beat the IUD (intrauterine device).  Currently in the US, there are three options available.

The oldest one on the market is the Paragard® IUD. It has copper sleeves along the body and arms of the device. Its main advantage is that it is effective for ten years after placement, but its disadvantage is that it may make menstrual periods longer, heavier and more painful. 

The newer progesterone-releasing IUDs are the Mirena® and Skyla®. The hormone truly affects only the uterine lining and does not make it into the bloodstream except in very infinitesimal amounts. Because of the progesterone, the periods usually become shorter and lighter and in some cases disappear entirely. The Mirena IUD, good for five years, is meant for women who have already borne children. The Skyla IUD is smaller than the Mirena and is designed for the smaller uterus of a woman who has not been pregnant. Because of its smaller size and hormone content, it is good for three years. 

It is easy to find out more about these devices at their websites, and your gynecologist can provide insight and information as well.  The websites are as follows: