IUD Birth Control Effectiveness Misunderstood By Many Women

Columbus gynecologist

Your Columbus gynecologist has found that most women have inaccurate perceptions about the safety and effectiveness of intrauterine devices (IUDs) in preventing pregnancy, creating the need to talk more about the benefits of the devices.

In particular, many women surveyed didn’t know that IUDs are more effective than the birth control pill and that they don’t increase the risk of getting a sexually transmitted disease.

It’s not clear whether women have an overly optimistic view of the effectiveness of the birth control pill or an overly pessimistic view of the IUD.  Whatever the source of the misperceptions, your Columbus gynecologist reports that they are resulting in an underuse of one of the most safe and effective methods of birth control.

What are IUD’s?

IUDs are small plastic or copper-and-plastic objects that are inserted into the uterus. They can remain implanted for years, and are more than 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy as opposed to the birth control pill that has been found to be about 95 percent effective.

Earlier studies highlighted some of the mistaken beliefs women have about IUDs.  Of the more than 1,600 women surveyed between the ages of 18 and 50, five percent of the women were currently using an IUD, and another 6 percent had used one in the past.  Only about one in five of the women knew that IUDs are more effective at preventing pregnancy than the birth control pill.

There’s been a LOT of bad press about IUDs in the past.  For instance, thousands of women have sued the makers of an IUD sold in the 1970s, because of injuries sustained from infections.  So it’s not surprising, because of the history of the IUD in the United States, that people still have incorrect perceptions of the device.

According to a 2012 study, 28 percent of women of reproductive age were using oral contraception, making the Pill the most common form of birth control, followed closely by sterilization methods like having the fallopian tubes tied.

Among women who had never used an IUD, studies found that those who had been counseled about the device by their gynecologist were more knowledgeable than women who hadn’t discussed it.  To correct widespread misconceptions about IUDs your Columbus gynecologist is here to answer any questions you may have about the devices and their effectiveness.


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Dr. Otto Umana Otto Umana
MD, FACOG
 
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