Signs You Should Switch from Contraceptive Pills to an IUD

Signs You Should Switch from Contraceptive Pills to an IUD

Signs You Should Switch from Contraceptive Pills to an IUD


Birth control is really a beautiful thing, but finding the right option is usually a case of trial and error. Still, it's worth it to find the right one so that you're fully protected. “Half of the pregnancies that occur in the United States are an oops moment—they’re unplanned," says Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., clinical professor of obstetrics and gynaecology at Yale Medical School.  "And in half of those unplanned pregnancies, the women say they were using a method of contraception!” The problem is, if you're not happy with your birth control and not taking it properly, you pretty much defeat the purpose.


So to make sure you and your method are a match made in birth control heaven, watch out for these signs that you might want to switch things up:


1)      You’re rather forgetful in taking your pill every single day

Some women don’t want to worry about popping a pill every day or they just forget to take it, which can decrease its effectiveness. “You have to keep your serum level of hormones consistent to suppress ovulation, which is the primary mechanism of action of the pills,” Dr. Casey says. Which is exactly why college-aged students are ideal candidates for an IUD, according to Dalia Davood, MD, FACOG, of Advocate Lutheran General Hospital in Illinois. Having an IUD eliminates the need to remember to take a pill in the midst of moving into a dorm, starting classes, and the additional stresses that come with college life. It’s still critical to practice safe sex, however, as IUDs do not protect against sexually transmitted infections.


2)      Your main criteria include super high efficacy

Human error often gets in the way of successful birth control, but there’s significantly less failure with an IUD that’s placed properly. According to Dr. Casey, women can expect the efficacy of her birth control to go from 95 percent on the pill to 99.9 percent with an IUD. “If a woman wants to have birth control put in and then just forget about it for years, that’s a good reason to switch to an IUD,” she says.


3)      You have an aversion to taking the pill – medically

An IUD is a great alternative for women who have an underlying condition that makes birth control pills off limits. The pill may not be appropriate for you if you have a family history of blood clots, if you’ve had a blood clot, if you’re prone to migraine headaches, or if you have diabetes or a risk of heart disease, or if you’re a smoker over 35. When it comes to migraines, women who experience aura—verbal, motor, or auditory symptoms that indicate a migraine is coming—should probably not be on the pill and would be a good candidate for an IUD, according to Bridgette Blazek, MD, an obstetrician-gynaecologist with Advocate Medical Group.


4)      Hormones are a problem -  or you’re trying to avoid ingesting more of them than you need to

Some women prefer to skip hormonal contraceptives or tend to have side effects from the hormones in birth control pills (and/or the ring and the patch). “Most patients can tolerate taking hormonal therapy just fine, but some are sensitive and feel that it’s not right for them and that’s okay,” Dr. Blazek says. “There are other options.” Namely a copper IUD, which has no hormones and instead works by damaging or killing sperm and making cervical mucus thick and sticky, so sperm can’t get through.


Even the hormonal IUDs use only one type of hormone, progesterone, versus two (estrogen and progesterone) in the pill. “So you may have fewer side effects using IUDs because of the type of hormone or non-hormone that’s in it,” Dr. Davood says. Make sure you’re not pregnant before getting an IUD inserted, and once it’s in place, check after each menstrual cycle that it’s still in the right position—you can feel for the one-inch string that hangs down, much like a tampon string. If you can’t find the string, call your doctor to get it checked.


If you’re looking to transition to a non-hormonal, long term IUB contraceptive, click here to get in touch with us today. 


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