Birth Control

Birth Control vs. IUD

Many personal factors should be taken into consideration when choosing between the pill and an IUD. Both are highly effective - two of the most effective birth control methods in fact, at around 99% effectiveness. That being said, it is much easier to mess up the pill's effectiveness by making mistakes in your daily consumption of the pill - whereas with the IUD, it just stays put in the uterus and you don't have to worry about it unless it's causing pain or other severe side effects. Unlike the pill, which needs to be taken daily, an IUD can stay inside the body for up to 3-10 years.

As for side effects, both can cause bloating, nausea, and irregular bleeding/spotting between periods. The pill has additional side effects such as breast tenderness, headaches, and tiredness, while the IUD can cause cramps, backaches, and increased vaginal discharge.

The pill can have added benefits, such as helping with acne and regulating your menstrual cycle. With IUDs such as Mirena, patients may experience a change in menstrual cycle (for example, infrequent periods, or no periods at all). IUD's must be inserted by a licensed OBGYN.

As for cost, IUD might cost up to $1000, depending on insurance.

Other considerations:

  • People over the age of 35 might benefit more from an IUD, due to the risks of blood clots associated with the pill at this age.
  • Heavy smokers should not take the pill due to the combined risk of vascular disease.
  • People especially sensitive to hormones might prefer non-hormonal methods, such as a copper IUD.
  • IUDs might not work correctly in people with irregular uterine cavities, including people with uterine fibroids.
  • People should avoid using an IUD if they have a current pelvic inflammatory disease, acute liver disease, or current genital tract infections.
  • Anyone with copper allergies should avoid using the copper-based IUD.
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