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IUDs Officially Recommended for Healthy Women, Teens
Date:6/20/2011

nd head of urogynecology at North Shore Long Island Jewish Medical Center in New Hyde Park, N.Y. She noted that a lack of knowledge and access explain the relatively lower use rates for IUDs and implants, and urged doctors to spread the word.

"It is incumbent upon practitioners to help inform and educate our patients about the many benefits, as well as safety, of these methods for the majority of women," said Rabin.

About 6 percent of women using birth control choose IUDs or hormonal implants, another long-acting contraceptive, according to the bulletin. But rates are quickly rising as women learn more about them, according to both Jacobs and Rabin.

"Encouraging the use of long-acting reversible contraceptive methods for appropriate candidates may help lower U.S. unintended pregnancy rates because gaps in use and discontinuation of shorter acting methods are associated with unintended pregnancy rates in high-risk women," according to the Practice Bulletin. No such gaps in use occur with long-acting devices.

IUDs are inserted into the uterus and are available in two types: either a small T-shaped instrument with copper wire threaded around the T, or a T-shaped device with a hormone emission system.

Few birth control methods are risk-free, however, and IUDs are more likely to increase the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease if women have more than one sexual partner, according to the American Pregnancy Association.

IUDs can cause other side effects. These include headache, weight gain, ovarian cysts, mood changes, and pain or irregular bleeding (hormonal IUD) and anemia, heavy bleeding, backache, severe menstrual pain, painful sex and inflammation of the vagina and rash (copper IUD), according to the Mayo Clinic. The side effects often lessen or go away over time, according to the research the guidelines are based on.

In general, IUDs can safely stay in place for up to 10 years, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Adminis
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