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intrauterine device, or IUD, is a form of birth control
that last 7 years and is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.
Placing the IUD may make you nervous but a little understanding
of the procedure should help you feel more at ease.
If you are taking birth control as prescribed
or have a negative pregnancy test, the device can be inserted at any time
you'd like after a discussion with your provider.
During the procedure,
you will lay down on the exam table with both feet in stirrups.
Your provider and a nurse will be in the room
along with any other support person you'd like to bring along.
First, a speculum is placed.
Then several cotton swabs are used to obtain cultures.
An antiseptic solution will be applied.
Then your uterus is measured.
Lastly, the IUD is inserted.
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Make sure you have someone to drive you home after the procedure
and plan to rest the remainder of the day and night.
Levonorgestrel intrauterine device is estrogen-free
and releases a small amount of progestin into your uterus.
It is also effective for treating heavy periods.
After several months, 1 in 5 women have no periods at all.
The IUD can easily be removed and you will quickly return to fertility.
It does not protect against HIV or sexually transmitted diseases.
Common side effects of an IUD are pain, bleeding and dizziness.
There may also be irregular bleeding and mild cramping for 3 to 6 months.
As your body adjusts, periods may become lighter
and shorter or even stop completely.
Do not use tampons for 48 hours after the IUD is placed.
After that, be careful not to pull on the IUD strings when removing tampons.
You can check your IUD strings once a month if you choose.
Call your provider if the strings are not present.
After the IUD is placed, wait at least 48 hours before having sex.
Contact your provider if you develop a discharge or odor or pain during sex.
It is important to schedule a yearly visit with your provider
to answer any questions you may have and discuss any changes to your health.