IUD vs Birth Control Implants – Differences, Pros and Cons Explained

IUD vs Birth Control Implants – Differences, Pros and Cons Explained

IUD vs Birth Control Implants – Differences, Pros and Cons Explained


When it comes to birth control, long-acting intrauterine devices (IUDs) and hormonal implants are not only convenient for many women—they are also 20 times more effective than pills, patches, and rings. With insurance coverage of contraception likely to be phased back out in the next couple of years, many women are asking about long-acting, reversible birth control methods.


Studies show that 45% of pregnancies in the United States are unintended. Long-acting reversible methods of birth control have many upsides: they are highly effective, well tolerated and require only a one-time placement. For those of you who don’t want to take a daily birth control pill or count on barrier methods like condoms or diaphragms you have three ways to go.


Hormonal IUDs

These contain no oestrogen, just synthetic progesterone (progestin). There are four levonorgestrel-releasing IUDs, including two that contain 52 mg of levonorgestrel (Mirena). Kyleena contains 19.5 mg and Skyla, which is a smaller device, contains 13.5 mg. These IUDs work by inhibiting ovulation and thickening cervical mucus which prevents penetration of sperm.


Mirena and Kyleena stay in place for 5 years, Skyla for 3. Liletta is used for 3 – 5 years, but its duration of action is still being investigated. Mirena is the most popular. With the hormonal IUDs you will often not have a period at all—upside. Almost all women can safely use IUDs. Prior to receiving an IUD you will need to be up to date on your pap and STD screening.


Non-hormonal copper IUDs

The ParaGard and CopperPearls copper-containing IUD is non-hormonal. Copper-containing IUDs release copper ions, which are toxic to sperm. ParaGard stays in place for 10 years, and CopperPearls for up to 5. Copper IUDs tend to cause heavier periods unlike the hormonal IUDs, making them less popular.


Under the skin (subdermal) hormonal implants

Placed under the skin in your upper arm, Nexplanon slowly releases a type of progestin called etonogestrel. Nexplanon works to prevent pregnancy by inhibiting ovulation and thickening cervical mucus. It can be left in place for 3 years and is highly effective at preventing pregnancy. Unpredictable vaginal bleeding and spotting is common with Nexplanon so if you like to know exactly when you are going to bleed this is not a great choice for you.


The clearest dividing factor between these three types of systems is the presence or absence of hormones. This is a consideration to be made immediately, as it is likely the highest-impacting aspect of these forms of birth control.


Secondly, IUD’s differ greatly from the implant in that the implant is inserted typically into the upper arm, while IUD’s are inserted, well, in situ. Placement can be a large deciding factor, so consider this too before committing.


For advice on the non-hormonal, CopperPearls IUD system click here to get in touch with us today!


Source credit: https://www.goodrx.com/blog/whats-the-best-long-acting-birth-cont


Cover Image Credit: Mark Seigel, MD, FACOG