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IUDs--They Just Might Be Right For You

In the l970s the Dalkon Shield cast a dark shadow over the IUD that persists to this day--despite research studies showing today's IUD is safe, reliable, convenient, and more effective than the pill. Because the Dalkon Shield, a defective IUD, was found to be causing infection, infertility, and death, it was pulled off the market. However, with the ensuing legal and medical brouhaha, other companies pulled their IUDs as well, even the safe ones. Now there are only two kinds of IUD available in the US, though the IUD is the world's most popular temporary birth control method for women. Yet, it's not the right choice for everyone.

So, what's available and who should use it? The first type is the copper ParaGard-T-380A, which can be left in place for 10 years. The other type, Progestasert, continually releases a small dose of progesterone and is good for one year of protection against pregnancy. The device is inserted by your medical practitioner in the office. After some potentially initial slight bleeding or cramping, the IUD provides ongoing contraception without additional inconveniences. Note, though, that no IUD provides protection from sexually transmitted diseases (STD), including HIV, the virus which causes AIDS.

If you're interested in using an IUD, see if you can answer yes to these questions? Have you had a least one full term pregnancy? Are you in a monogamous relationship? Have you been tested to make sure you don't have a STD and that you are not pregnant right now? In addition, you should not have any history of STDs, ectopic (tubal) pregnancy, abnormal vaginal bleeding, abnormal Pap smear, valvular heart disease, heavy and/or painful periods, anemia, or an allergy to copper. You should discuss this decision with your partner and your medical practitioner. Read all the information they have for you and make sure all your questions are answered before you make your final decision. IUDs have many advantages - for the right women.

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