The previous reluctance to recommend the use of IUDs for young, healthy women stemmed from the association between pelvic inflammatory disease(PID) and early IUDs such as the Dalkon shield. Even after IUD design improved there was a concern that the string poking through the cervix could promote ascending STD infections and lead to increased rates of PID and infertility.
Although there is a small increased risk of ascending infection immediately after insertion of an IUD, for many women this risk is well outweighed by the amazing contraceptive benefits of a device that is incredibly effective and can be left in place for up to ten years at a time. Women do have to check the string, occasionally, but other than that they can be confident that they're always protected against pregnancy without having to worry about any particular sexual episode.
The IUD isn't perfect. Insertion can be painful, side effects can be unpleasant, and sometimes a partner may complain that they notice the string during sex. However, both the hormonal and non-hormonal IUDs are excellent contraceptive options for many women, and I am thrilled to hear that they will soon be more available for young American women. Just remember, reliable contraception doesn't remove the need to practice safe sex.
- IUDs from the Guide to Contraception
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease Overview
- Common STDs
- How to Have Safe Sex