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Is Long-Acting Reversible Contraception Right for You?

Is Long-Acting Reversible Contraception Right for You?

May 24, 2023

Choosing the right birth control can be daunting. There are dozens of options and manufacturers, each with their own promises, benefits and drawbacks. However, when looking for a long-term option, you may want to consider an intrauterine device (IUD). 

More women than ever are turning to this tiny device for long-acting reversible contraception and peace of mind. IUDs have exploded in popularity since the 1990s, with nearly 8 percent of women choosing the device in the last year, up from just one percent 25 years ago. 

What is an IUD?

“An IUD is a small, T-shaped device that is placed in the uterus,” said Neely Elisha, D.O., Inspira Medical Group OB/GYN. “The device is held in place by your cervix with a string similar to a tampon string to indicate safe placement. IUDs are available in a non-hormonal copper version, as well as a plastic version with hormones.” 

The copper in the non-hormonal device acts as spermicide, is immediately effective and can stay in place for up to 10 years. The hormonal device causes the cervical mucus to thicken and prevents the fertilization of an egg. It requires a week to take effect and is viable for three to five years. 


IUDs are an extremely effective form of birth control. They are more reliable than condoms, oral birth control pills, the patch, the ring and the shot due to their ”set and forget” nature. They are easily removable and you can become pregnant almost immediately after an IUD is extracted.

You cannot feel the device once it has been placed, and many women using a hormonal IUD will notice a reduction in symptoms of their monthly menstrual period. 

Side Effects

Insertion of an IUD requires a medical professional and can sometimes be painful. “Some women report cramping, spotting and discomfort in the month following insertion. These symptoms typically subside in three to five weeks,” said Dr. Elisha.

Though uncommon, it is possible for an IUD to perforate the uterus, resulting in infertility. They can also come partially or entirely out of the uterus, which requires attention from your OB-GYN. Non-hormonal copper IUDs may also result in a heavier period. 

It is also important to remember that an IUD does not protect against STDs. Secondary protection, like a condom, is recommended. Talk to your provider regarding what contraception may be the best fit for you.

Inspira offers specialized care for women at any stage of life with a robust network of physicians, women’s health specialists and certified nurse midwives with offices conveniently located throughout Camden, Cumberland, Gloucester and Salem counties. 

Inspira Health is a high reliability organization (HRO), which means safety is the top priority for patients and staff. To make an appointment, call 1-800-INSPIRA.

Topics: Obstetrics & Gynecology, Women's Health