When it comes to birth control, the options are seemingly endless. IUDs (intrauterine devices) have been around since the early 1900s, but they are more popular than ever. FYI, there are two different types: the hormonal kind that can be implanted for three to five years and the copper, or nonhormonal, ones that last for up to ten years. Here, six things that might happen if you decide to go the IUD route.
1. Getting Pregnant Will Be Practically Impossible
Remember, we said practically. With all types of birth control, there’s always a chance. But a hormonal IUD actually controls the release of levonorgestrel, which thickens your cervical mucus so that sperm have basically zero chance of breaking through. As for the copper (nonhormonal) type? Copper is toxic to sperm, so they’re killed immediately.
2. You Might Experience Cramping and Spotting
Once an IUD is inserted by a medical professional, you may experience this common side effect for a few days. In the case of a copper IUD, the spotting could last a few months, until your body adjusts to the device. Also important to note: You can’t have sex for the first 24 hours after it’s been implanted. You also might want to take the day off from work, just in case you experience heavy cramping.
3. You Might Have a Lighter Period
After the first few months of use, women have reported a decrease in heavy menstrual bleeding by as much as 90 percent. Some women have had their periods stop altogether (not necessarily a bad thing, but it’s always worth mentioning any changes in your cycle to your doc).
4. You Will Very Rarely Experience Weight Gain
Unlike birth control pills, which can cause weight to fluctuate, IUDs—hormonal and non—don’t typically come with this side effect. Huzzah!
5. But, Whoa, You Might Get Acne
The presence of new hormones, like androgen, can throw your oil glands all out of whack. Cue the pimples. If this is something that concerns you, try a copper IUD, which contains no hormones.
6. You Could Also Experience Greater Mood Swings
This is largely connected to the hormonal IUD. The effects are similar to those experienced with oral contraceptives, so you might have breast tenderness, headaches and, of course, severe irritation when your S.O. texts “Yo, what’s for dinner?” (A reminder: For any out-of-the-ordinary symptoms, you should always—always—consult your ob-gyn.)