Weight Gain Not a Side Effect of IUD
When it’s time to choose a contraceptive method, it’s common to wonder: will it make me gain weight? The simple notion that a contraceptive can lead to extra pounds is a deciding factor for many users.
Sometimes this fear can spread to IUDs, also called intrauterine devices. But there’s no evidence that those little T-shaped devices, which a doctor puts into your uterus to prevent a long-term pregnancy, weigh you down.
“In my experience, weight gain is not a problem with [IUDs]Explains Henry Dorn, MD, an OB / GYN in private practice in High Point, North Carolina. “Studies basically show that there is less than 5% [of IUD users] that show weight gain, and it’s usually a little water weight.
Even with hormonal IUDs like Mirena, which emit progestins, so little of the hormone gets into your system that the effects on weight are minor, he says.
The progestin in hormonal IUDs thickens the mucus in the cervix to prevent sperm from reaching an egg. It also thins the lining of your uterus, making it harder for sperm to implant themselves. The device can work and stay in the uterus for 3 to 6 years. A copper IUD uses the properties of the metal instead of hormones to stop most sperm and prevent those that pass from implanting. This type of IUD can stay in your uterus (and continue to work) for much longer, up to 10 years.
Weight gain not listed as a side effect of IUD
The IUD is an LARC, which stands for long-acting reversible contraception. Like birth control implants, the sticks the size of a matchstick that a doctor puts into your upper arm, the IUD works very well. Less than one in 100 users of either method will get pregnant in the first year.
The two types of IUDs work about equally well in preventing pregnancy. They can cause similar, minor side effects for some people, Dorn says, like headaches and changes in your skin, hair, or mood. You may have a heavier period with the copper IUD.
The lists of possible IUD side effects do not include weight gain. Additionally, a 2013 American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) study reported that among users of LARC, women who used implants and injections were more likely to report weight gain than those who used copper IUDs.
According to ACOG, LARC methods work 20 times better than birth control pills; the patch, which releases hormones through the skin; or the vaginal ring, which you need to replace every month.
“There is no such thing as perfect birth control,” Dorn notes, “but [IUDs] are the best we have.
It could also be the easiest. “It takes 30 seconds to put on and 5 seconds to take off,” he says.
Other things can bring about weight gain
Even when people report weight gain, Dorn says it’s important to think about other factors that might be playing a role. Sometimes it’s just your stage in life. For example, if you start using an IUD before your body fully matures, you might think that normal body changes are the result of the IUD.
“A lot of it has to do with the timing. This largely coincides with the normal weight gain of maturity, ”says Dorn.
You can also stop birth control as easily as you start it. If you decide to get pregnant or if you no longer wish to use the method, you only need to see your doctor or other healthcare professional to have it removed.
IUDs can help with other conditions
Dorn also prescribes the IUD as a treatment for women who have a heavy period. He cites the number of sanitary napkins used as a measure. If you have an IUD, you may need to use 2 to 3 less electrodes per day during your period, he says.
If you want an IUD, a certified OB / GYN, a certified nurse midwife, or a family doctor is your best bet. “Experienced practitioners place them better than less experienced ones,” Dorn says. For example, if someone has a “tilted” uterus, which tilts backward rather than forward, a highly qualified doctor should insert the IUD.
But such a condition is rare, so don’t let finding a healthcare professional stop you. Consult the medical clinics in your area. And while IUDs should be covered by insurance or Medicaid, Dorn says, cost shouldn’t be a barrier either. Clinics often offer a mobile payment scale. “Almost no one has to pay full price,” he says, which is around $ 750.
If you’re done having children, Dorn says the best birth control method is to have the male partner undergo a vasectomy. “A vasectomy has zero weight gain for women,” he says.
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