Intrauterine devices are one of the most effective forms of reversible birth control, but few American women use them. That, however, is starting to change: The percentage of women using IUDs has grown rapidly in recent years as new products have come onto the market and as more doctors recommend women consider them.
Recent government reports show that over 6 percent of women — and over 11 percent of women ages 25 to 34 — now use IUDs to prevent pregnancy. Those are small numbers, but the share of women who have IUDs is still nearly double what it was just five years ago. To find out more about the reasons IUD use is on the rise, read “The IUD Is Getting More Popular In America. Here’s Why.”
To learn why women are making this choice, The Huffington Post asked our Facebook followers to share their stories, and more than 100 people did so. Here’s what they had to say, in their own words (the quotations have been edited for clarity).
Chelsea Rae Breeze, 22, Newton, Utah
I have wanted an IUD since I first heard of them as a teenager. I knew then that I didn’t want children until I was older and my life had stabilized. I first approached my family practitioner about an IUD when I was 17, almost 18. I wasn’t sexually active, but I had read that with certain IUDs you didn’t have a monthly menstruation, which intrigued me. My family practitioner refused to discuss it with me because I wasn’t old enough. I wish that I had pushed harder for an IUD sooner. It is the best decision I have made regarding my birth control needs. Many women are sadly very misinformed about the various forms of birth control. When I first told my friends and family of my decision to get an IUD, many told me that I couldn’t receive one because I haven’t had a child or that I was too young to receive one. Neither of these are true!
Gabrielle Rozonewski 24, Albany, New York
I forgot to pick up my new pack of pills at Rite Aid and opted taking my cousin’s sample pack that our OB/GYN had given her, and I got pregnant. Whether the pack was expired or not, I am not sure. I wasn’t thinking of that at the time; I just knew I needed to take my pill so I didn’t get pregnant. I am now blessed with a beautiful baby girl. I don’t know if it’s having all the responsibilities of a working mom or what, but I couldn’t remember to take my pill for the life of me. After my annual I spoke with my OB/GYN and decided I would try the new IUD craze that seemed to be happening. I LOVE IT! (So Far…)
Christina Olsen, 33, Carmel, California
I had DVT [deep vein thrombosis] and a pulmonary embolism caused by the birth control I was on. It took six months to get the situation under control and a week of hospitalization. It ended being that the birth control I was on was the only cause for what had happened. I switched to the copper IUD, as that was the only birth control my doctor suggested, as it has no hormones.
Angela Lloyd, 42, Middletown, Pennsylvania
I switched from birth control to an IUD. BIG MISTAKE. I had bleeding the entire eight months I had it in. Apparently, mine had moved just so ever slightly. The removal was TERRIBLE — two days after, I experienced the worst bleeding and cramping that I’ve ever had in my life. I would NEVER EVER recommend an IUD to anyone.
Erin Stevens, 28, Jeffersonville, Indiana
I started missing my pills, or even worse, dropping them down the sink because they were so damn small. If I missed a pill, I would then double up. I would tell my husband I missed the pill and he would immediately freak out, always want to use a condom as a backup. I went to my doctor to beg her for an IUD. I heard that normally the IUD was meant for those who had already had a child. I had to ask and was willing to pay for the peace of mind. Luckily, my doctor agreed and it was scheduled. Also a bonus, this was RIGHT after the ACA was passed and my entire IUD WAS FREE!
Katie Clancy, 45, Dennis, Massachusetts
A safe IUD is the answer to all birth control prayers, both for young women and women of childbearing age. I had my 16- and 19-year-old daughters get them, too. One has ADHD so is a poor candidate for remembering to take a pill or to take the time to insert a diaphragm. Of all the things I have to worry about with her, at least I know she won’t get pregnant. The other has had historically heavy periods, and this was a great solution for her.
Jessica Gangwer, 30, Greenville, South Carolina
I switched over a year ago from the pill to an IUD, and it has made a world of difference. I am EXTREMELY forgetful, and it is how we ended up with my now-5-year-old! I had a very heavy flow, sometimes waking up four times a night to fix the issue. I now have very little to nothing. After insurance I paid around $ 17 for a contraceptive that is going to last me seven years. Whereas before, with the pill, I was paying around $ 30 a month. Lastly, my husband and I have made the decision to not have any more children.
Sarah Morgan-Ruth, 34, Buffalo, New York
I’m currently on my third IUD (this one is Mirena, first two were just copper) and I’d never go back to the pill! I suffer from endometriosis, and the Mirena is what gave me my life back. Prior to that, I was immobilized 20 out of 30 days of the month. Now I run a small business and nothing stands in my way!