Christine Wu, MD
Gynecologist located in Philadelphia, PA
The intrauterine device (IUD) is often considered the “gold standard” for birth control. It's the most effective temporary form of birth control, and you can become pregnant again by merely having it removed. Christine Wu, MD in Philadelphia can help you decide if an IUD is right for your needs. Schedule an evaluation to talk to Dr. Wu about IUD options by calling the office or by booking online.
IUD Q & A
How do IUDs work?
You have many different options for IUDs, and they all work differently. The purpose of the IUD — which goes directly into your uterus through your vagina — is to prevent sperm from fertilizing eggs.
Some IUDs deliver a hormone directly into your uterus to prevent pregnancy. This hormone thickens your cervical mucus, which blocks sperm from reaching eggs.
If you don’t want — or aren’t a candidate for — hormone-based IUDs, you might consider a copper IUD, which is hormone-free. It releases copper into your uterus, which acts as a spermicide.
What are the benefits and disadvantages of an IUD?
IUDs are one of the most popular birth-control methods because they are over 99% effective: Fewer than one out of 100 women experience pregnancy with an IUD. Plus, with an IUD, you don’t need to worry about taking pills every day or about protection before intercourse.
IUDs don't protect against sexually transmitted diseases or infections, though. So, it’s important to use condoms or other barriers to decrease your risk of infection. Other side effects -- which usually go away in three to six months -- can include:
- Pain when the IUD is inserted
- A few days of cramping or backaches after the IUD is put in
- Spotting between periods
- Irregular periods
Do I need to replace an IUD?
Yes, although you won’t have to worry about that for years. IUDs are effective for three to 12 years, depending on which type you choose; Dr. Wu will let you know how long your IUD lasts. Once your IUD is in place, you don’t have to do anything special until it expires.
When your IUD expires, you have two options: you may remove the expired one and implant a new one or, if you’re ready to get pregnant, you may remove the expired IUD and leave it out.
In some cases, you’re fertile within a week of having an IUD taken out. The entire process is quick, and most women only experience a little cramping, so you can easily schedule your removal or replacement during your lunch break.
Schedule your IUD consultation with Dr. Wu by calling the office or by booking online.