Q&A: What Are Our Birth Control Options? What About IUDs?

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QUESTION: My fiancée and I have been together for four years now and over the term of our relationship we have gone from condoms, to the pill, to the depo shot, back to the pill and now abstinence. We have found that neither of us like condoms at all and when she was on birth control she had all sorts of issues ranging from weight gain to vaginal dryness and absolutely no sex drive. Her gynecologist will not do IUDs and does not speak highly of them, but they seem perfect for our situation. I'm writing to see what our birth control options are and get a second opinion in IUDs.

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picture of intrauterine device paperweight

Photo: Lobstar28 (Flickr)

There are two types of IUDs – which stands for intrauterine devices – that are regularly used by women and their partners to prevent pregnancy. Although some women have problems using IUDs, many women who use the IUD think it is a great option for them and their partner.

Many couples struggle with finding a birth control option that is right for them in terms of cost, convenience, health issues, side effects, ability to use it correctly, and personal preferences.

It’s admirable that you and your fiancée have been able to talk about birth control options as not everyone knows how to talk to another person about sex, pregnancy risk or contraception.

Fortunately, there are many safe and effective forms of birth control available to couples and it sounds like you’ve tried quite a few of them.

IUDs Are An Option

There are two types of IUDs – which stands for intrauterine devices – that are regularly used by women and their partners to prevent pregnancy. Although some women have problems using IUDs, many women who use the IUD think it is a great option for them and their partner.

If you and your fiancée are interested in trying the IUD, consider asking her gynecologist for more information.

Is there something about her personal health that he or she feels doesn’t make your fiancée a good candidate for the IUD? Or does her gynecologist simply not do IUDs at all?

If her gynecologist doesn’t recommend IUDs more generally, you two might want to seek a second opinion from another gynecologist.

There is nothing inherently wrong or unsafe about IUDs and, as I said, many women and their partners feel that they are a great option for them. Many people like the fact that IUDs offer long-lasting contraception.

There’s no need to remember to do something every day (like take a pill). And for people who don’t like barrier methods such as condoms, diaphragms or cervical caps, the IUD can be a nice option because you don’t have to stop sex to put a barrier in place and you can both feel each other’s bodies entirely.

You can learn more about the IUD on Planned Parenthood’s website. You can also search for a clinic in your area or ask friends for recommendation of gynecologists with whom they have had good experiences.

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Dr. Debby Herbenick (M.P.H., Ph.D.)

is a sexual health educator at The Kinsey Institute, Associate Director of the Center for Sexual Health Promotion at Indiana University and author of several books including Sex Made Easy and Because It Feels Good: A Woman's Guide to Sexual Pleasure and Satisfaction.
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