Your Trusted Source for Information on Health

1) Barrier Methods
The Male Condom
Male Birth Control Pill
The Female Condom
Cervical cap
Contraceptive Sponge

2) Hormonal Methods
Implants (Norplant)
Shots (Depo-Provera)
Birth Control Pills
Chewable Birth Control Pill

3) IUDs (Intrauterine Devices)

4) Emergency Contraception
    New Emergency Contraceptive Ella

Intrauterine Device (IUD)

      An IUD is a small plastic stick shaped like a T with a string at the end. It is placed inside the uterus in order to prevent pregnancy. It is placed inside the uterus by a doctor, where it stays until it is removed by a doctor. The IUD operates by preventing the sperm from joining with an egg. The sperm is unable to penetrate the egg. As well, the IUD works by altering the lining of the uterus. An IUD is a very effective method of birth control. Not only is the IUD itself effective, but there is no work required by the male or female, making mishaps or forgotten pills irrelevant. The IUD is effective immediately once it is in place, and when properly in place, cannot be felt by the woman.

There are 2 primary types of IUD. The most frequently used type that is covered with copper can stay in the body for 10 years. Another kind of IUD that contains the hormone progesterone must be replaced yearly.
If you use an IUD and are unable to locate the string, contact your physician. Those women who think they may be pregnant should not use an IUD, and if using an IUD, should contact their doctor immediately.

Women using an IUD for birth control should be aware that the following symptoms indicate that there is a problem with the IUD:

- severe cramping or increasing pain in the lower abdomen that may be associated with feeling faint
- pain or bleeding during sex
- unexplained fever and/or chills
- increased or foul smelling discharge
- a missed, late or unusually light period
- unexplained vaginal bleeding after the usual adjustment phase after IUD insertion

Visit the Reproductive Health Online website, sponsored by Johns Hopkins University for more information about reproductive health and birth control methods.

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