Woman smiling in Boulder, CO

For Women & People Assigned Female At Birth.

Nowadays, lots of different contraceptive choices are available to women and people assigned female at birth, which is ideal. One of these choices is Intrauterine Devices (IUDs), which have gained popularity as a reliable and long-term solution for preventing pregnancy.

Women and people with an uterus in Boulder, CO, like many others around the world, are exploring the benefits and potential drawbacks of IUDs to make informed decisions about their reproductive health.

This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide to the IUD pros and cons, considering the unique context of Boulder and the diverse needs of its residents.

Understanding Intrauterine Devices (IUDs)

Small, T-shaped devices, IUDs get inserted into the uterus. They help prevent pregnancy. The two main types of IUDs to be aware of are, hormonal and non-hormonal (copper).

Hormonal IUDs work by thickening the mucus in the cervix, making it harder for sperm to reach eggs. They also thin the lining of the uterus and sometimes pause ovulation.

Non-hormonal (copper) IUDs  work by creating an environment that is inhospitable to sperm, preventing fertilization. 

IUDs are highly effective, with a success rate of over 99 percent, making them a popular choice for people seeking long-term birth control. 

How Long Do IUDs Last?

The duration of effectiveness depends on the type of IUD chosen. Hormonal IUDs last between three to eight years. There are four brands of hormonal IUDs available in the United States currently (Liletta, Mirena, Kyleena, & Skyla). Liletta & Mirena last for 8 years. Kyleena lasts for 5 years. Skyla lasts for 3 years.

Non-hormonal (copper) IUDs can provide protection for up to ten years. There is one brand available in the United States (Paragard).

Once the recommended lifespan is reached, the IUD should be removed or replaced if continued contraceptive protection is desired.

Regular check-ups, which are typically once per year, with a healthcare provider are essential to monitor the IUD’s position and effectiveness, ensuring that individuals can make informed decisions about their reproductive health.

Pros of IUDs

There are many reasons why IUDs have become so popular with people all over the world. Some of them are listed below.

Long-Lasting Protection

One of the primary advantages of IUDs is their longevity. Depending on the type, IUDs can provide protection for up to ten years, offering a set-and-forget option for people who prefer not to think about contraception on a daily or monthly basis.

High Effectiveness

IUDs are among the most effective forms of contraception available (99.7% effective). Their success rate is comparable to sterilization, making them an attractive option for women and people assigned female who desire reliable birth control without permanent measures.


Once inserted, IUDs require minimal maintenance. There is no need to remember to take a daily pill or replace a patch, providing a hassle-free contraceptive option for busy women and people assigned female  in Boulder.

You will never have that dreadful moment when you realize that you forgot to take the birth control pill or replace the patch or ring. The IUD is always working no matter what’s going on with your busy life.


Unlike permanent contraceptive methods, such as tubal ligation, IUDs are reversible. If a person decides they want to get pregnant, the IUD can be easily removed, and fertility typically returns very quickly.

Reduced Menstrual Bleeding (Hormonal IUDs)

Hormonal IUDs often lead to lighter and less painful menstrual periods. This can be a significant benefit for women and people assigned female in Boulder seeking relief from menstrual symptoms without sacrificing reliable contraception. Hormonal IUDs can also be helpful for protecting the lining of the uterus (keeping it thin) for people with PCOS and reducing the painful period symptoms of endometriosis.

Reduced Menstrual Cramps (Hormonal IUDs)

Some women experience a reduction in menstrual cramps with hormonal IUDs. This added benefit can enhance the overall quality of life for women and people assigned female in Boulder dealing with monthly discomfort.

Cons of IUDs

Nothing in this world is free of risks and IUDs are no exception. They have lots of advantages to them, but they also come with some cons.

Initial Discomfort

The process of inserting an IUD can cause period-like cramping, or pain for some women. The pain experienced by the individual is usually brief, and many people find the long-term benefits outweigh the temporary discomfort.

Make sure to rest well after the insertion, not taking up any strenuous activities for a few days.

At Crossroads Medical Center, we always educate patients on the pain control options before the IUD procedure. Common methods of reducing pain are taking a high dose of Ibuprofen before the procedure and using lidocaine cream to numb the cervix during the procedure. It’s also important to the providers at Crossroads Medical Center to communicate clearly with the patient throughout the procedure to ensure the individual is feeling comfortable and well supported. Patients are welcome to bring a support person, such as a friend, family member, roommate, or partner, to the appointment if they’d like to have a loved one in the room with them or wait in the lobby during the procedure.

Spotting and Irregular Bleeding

Irregular bleeding or spotting between periods is a common side effect, especially in the initial months after IUD insertion for either type of IUD. 

Spotting and irregular bleeding is more likely to continue with hormonal IUDs than non-hormonal ones. Some people will continue to have regular periods, some people will have no period, and some people will have irregular bleeding. While irregular bleeding often diminishes over time, it can be a concern for women and people assigned female in Boulder who prefer predictable menstrual cycles. 

Regularly scheduled bleeding is much more common with the non-hormonal IUDs. Within a few months of having a non-hormonal IUD placed, menstrual bleeding returns to the individual’s normal frequency of periods.

Heavy Periods

Heavier, longer, and more painful periods are common side effects of non-hormonal (copper) IUDs for the first 6 months after IUD placement. After that, the side effects often decrease, but may continue for the duration the IUD is left in place.

When heavy menstrual bleeding occurs, sometimes anemia (low iron and red blood cell count) occurs and may need to be corrected with iron supplements or other treatment. 

Perforation of the Uterus

Although extremely rare, there is a risk of the IUD perforating the uterus during insertion. This complication requires immediate medical attention, and the IUD may need to be removed.


In rare cases, the IUD may be expelled from the uterus, which means it spontaneously falls out of place. This is more likely to occur shortly after insertion and may go unnoticed. It is more likely to occur when an IUD is inserted immediately after a pregnancy. Regular check-ups with a healthcare provider can help detect potential issues early.

Hormonal Side Effects (Hormonal IUDs)

The vast majority of progestin, the hormone in hormonal IUDs, stay locally in the uterus, fallopian tubes, and ovaries in the pelvis. There is a very small chance of the hormones impacting the body outside of the uterus. Occasionally the hormones can cause side effects such as mood swings, breast tenderness, and changes in libido. These side effects occur far less frequently with hormonal IUDs than they do with birth control pills, the birth control vaginal ring, birth control patches, the birth control shot, and the birth control implant. 

Initial Cost

While IUDs can be cost-effective in the long run, the initial cost of insertion may be a barrier for some people. However, many insurance plans cover the cost of IUDs, and low-cost options may be available for those without insurance. We will check your insurance coverage before placing an IUD and also encourage you to check your insurance benefits by looking on your insurance company’s website or calling the number on the back of your insurance card.

No Protection Against STIs

It’s important to note that while IUDs are highly effective at preventing pregnancy, they do not provide protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Condom and dental dam use is encouraged to reduce the risk of STIs.IUD Pros and Cons – Consider It All Before Choosing

It’s an important decision to make when choosing a suitable contraceptive device. That’s why once you consider all the IUD pros and cons listed above, the choice will become clear to you.

If you are still unsure, give us a call and visit us at Crossroads Medical Center and we will help you with your decision-making process. We are an independent family medical center in Boulder, Colorado.

Set up an appointment with our team today.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Communication Matters! How do you want to request your appointment?

We know you’re likely not feeling great! So We make it easy to request your appointment using the right means of communication.

If this is an EMERGENCY please dial 911

Lauren Jasilli, FNP-C
Family Nurse Practitioner

Lauren Jasilli is a board-certified Family Nurse Practitioner and is accepting new patients. She prides herself on providing personalized, evidence-based care. She sees patients of all genders and has a special interest in sexual/reproductive health. She also is passionate about disease prevention through lifestyle modifications.

Lauren has a M.S. in Nursing from The George Washington University and a B.S. in Nursing from the University of Florida. She is a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing and Golden Key International Honor Society. She has eight years of nursing experience working with a variety of patients in office and hospital settings, including internal medicine, general surgery, obstetrics, and gynecology.

Lauren spends her downtime playing with her daughter and family, cross country skiing, cooking, and practicing yoga.

Carl A. Moritz, MD
Family Medicine Physician

Dr. Mortiz graduated from the University of Kansas School of Medicine in 1978 and completed his residency and fellowship at Scottsdale Memorial Hospital in 1981. He moved to Boulder Colorado in 1984 where he has raised his three daughters. Wanting to avoid the growing theme of corporate medicine, and provide the best care possible, he decided to open his own private practice in 1998. Dr. Moritz is certified and specializes in family practice.