Last week, Dr. Vanessa Cullins, a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist and vice president for medical affairs at Planned Parenthood® Federation of America, answered one reader’s question about the IUD and it’s safety. It sparked some debate in the comments, so she’s back this week to address those issues:
I think it is great that my answer has sparked such a rich discussion about IUDs. It’s fabulous when women share their experiences with birth control with each other — such discussions should be more widespread and occur more often. I thought I might join in and talk about a few of the things that have come up about IUDs.
Given the history of previous versions of the IUD, I understand why some are concerned about their safety, and IUDs are certainly not the only form of contraception that Planned Parenthood offers. And, as it turns out, credible medical research has found that modern IUDs are very safe. Of course, any medicine or medical device has the potential for risks or side effects, and that’s also true with IUDs — but serious side effects are rare and when they do happen, they are generally quite treatable. You can read about the rare potential serious problems with IUDs here.
It’s true that IUDs aren’t for everyone. Certain health problems and conditions may rule out using an IUD. We list those conditions on our website, and we review them with women who visit our health centers. And some women would just prefer using another method instead of an IUD. That’s OK — at Planned Parenthood, we encourage women to consider the benefits and disadvantages of all methods when deciding which one to use. We know that when a woman makes informed decisions and gets the contraceptive method that is most appropriate to her lifestyle, likes, dislikes, and health history, she’s most likely to use it consistently and correctly. And that’s the key to preventing pregnancy — using the birth control method of your choice consistently and correctly.
Luckily, there are many birth control options available to women. And I agree with you, Chingona and Jessi, every woman needs to talk to her health care provider, learn the pros and cons, and make her own informed and very beneficial decision for herself and her partner.
Best wishes for your good sexual health,
Vanessa Cullins, MD, MPH, MBA, is a board-certified obstetrician/gynecologist and vice president for medical affairs at Planned Parenthood® Federation of America. To ask her your own question, click here.