Birth control is a complicated subject, and there is no simple solution. Many doctors recommend Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) as one of the safest and best options. The benefits include very little maintenance and it can remain in place for years.
Two types of IUDs:
- Copper IUD – This IUD is made of copper and it releases copper into the uterus. Copper increases the levels of prostaglandins and white blood cells, both associated with an inflammatory response, within the uterine and tubal fluids. This impedes sperms motility and viability, acting as a spermicide.
- Paraguard – This IUD releases a form of the hormone, progestin, to the uterus. This thickens the cervical mucus so that sperm cannot reach the egg. In many women, this synthetic progestin also prevents ovulation.
Why are these mechanisms of action of IUDs undesirable?
- Copper creates low grade chronic inflammation in the uterus. Generally, to optimize our health and well-being we seek methods of reducing inflammation in the body, not creating it.
- Ovulating is so important for our health and hormone balance! Whether or not we choose to have children, the creative potential at this time in our cycles is powerful. May we learn to honor the power in our cycles.
Even if the egg and the sperm survive these IUD hurdles, conception is unlikely with an IUD because of the chronic inflammation in the uterine lining. This makes the lining inhospitable to a fertilized egg.
In addition to the chronic inflammation, there are some adverse effects and scary stories out there of real experiences women have had with the IUD.
Adverse effects and complications of having an IUD:
- Expulsion – The uterus simply rejects the IUD and pushes it out. This usually happens within the first few months.
- Perforation – The IUD perforates the wall of the uterus. This is rare, but when it happens it is a medical emergency. This most often happens during insertion, but has been known to happen during intense contact sports as well.
- Chronic pain – Some women simply do not take well to having an IUD. It can cause them chronic pain. Generally, removing the IUD is the solution to this problem, but I have worked with a number of women who have had ongoing pain and discomfort following the removal of an uncomfortable IUD for years.
People often ask me what I do recommend for birth control. Condoms work as well as anything else, when used correctly. Nothing is fool proof. I once had client who had 3 babies, all conceptions occurred with an IUD in place! It’s rare but it happens.
Fertility awareness is pretty phenomenal. It takes time and energy to learn and practice, but the reward is that you get to know yourself better. Local to Western Massachusetts, Mira Weil offers classes and one-on-one instruction to women. My teacher, Rosita Arvigo, once said, “For fertility awareness to work, you need to be able to do two things. Count and say ‘No’.”
I am happy to work with you to help you find the best birth control option for you and your life. I believe in full informed consent. I honor you and your choice about what is ultimately best for you.