Midlife birth control; How to know if a IUD right for you

As women age they can struggle with lower sex drive due to fear of pregnancy, heavy irregular periods, and other reasons related to their body. There is a device for women that can act as a midlife birth control, control periods, and help women gain their sex drive back.

Spectrum Health's nationally recognized menopause specialist Dr. Diana Bitner, discusses the functions and benefits of a UID when it comes to sex drive.

The IUD, or intrauterine device, comes in two forms: one is made of copper, and the other of flexible plastic and contains progesterone. They both work in similar ways to provide birth control but the IUD with progesterone also has the benefit of improving periods by making them much lighter or stopping them altogether depending on which IUD is chosen.

The IUD is easy to place in the office, and should be done by a health care provider-a doctor, Nurse Practitioner, or Certified Midwife who is experienced and very comfortable with the procedure. It is best to have the IUD placed during or immediately after the period to be more sure of not being pregnant, and if there is any question about uterine fibroid or having a uterus with a misshaped cavity, an ultrasound should be done first.

Dr. Bitner understands that having a IUD sounds scary, so here's a rundown of what a IUD does, and how to know which option is right for your body:

  • The IUD with progesterone is a great option for midlife women.
  • The IUD without progesterone is made of copper, and is good for nine years.
  • There are several IUDs with progesterone and are different sizes and doses of progesterone.
  • The IUD does not cause infertility.
  • The IUD only has a slight risk of infection associated with putting it in, but not after.
  • The IUD can be removed easily any time.
  • The IUD with progesterone has excellent birth control and can make periods lighter or go away altogether.
  • The IUD with P has good evidence that it is helpful to reduce endometriosis symptoms including pain, bowel complaints, and bloating.
  • The IUD-P can be used to treat precancerous cells in women and reduce the risk of uterine cancer in women with high risk such as PCOD, obesity, and Type II Diabetes.
  • The IUD-P can be used off label for protection of the lining of the uterus with FDA approved estrogen medications for the symptoms of hot flashes, night sweats, etc.
  • Complications of the IUD are rare such as uterus perforation, migration out of the uterus, poking into the uterus wall, falling out, etc
  • The IUD-P can be used safely in many women with risk for blood clots who cannot take the birth control pill or use systemic progesterone like the implant or shot.
  • With the higher dose IUD there is spotting for 1-3 months right after insertion, but then tends to go away and be gone for the life of the IUD, continued spotting is rare and the cause can usually be determined and fixed.
  • The lower dose IUD-p’s usually allow women to still have periods and are light and regular.

Learn more about UIDs and a wide variety of other women's health topics at Spectrum Health's Doctor Dialogue: Reclaim Your Sexual Well-Being. Midlife and menopause experts, like Dr. Bitner, will host a panel about the following women's health topics:

  • Sex therapy
  • Vibrators, lubrications and other practical solutions
  • Menopausal vaginal dryness and treatment options
  • Urinary incontinence and surgical solutions
  • Pelvic floor health

The panel will start at 6 p.m. at the Calvin College Prince Conference Center. The event is free and open to the public, but attendees must register at spectrumhealth.org/doctordialogue or call (616)-267-2626 option 4.

Can't make it to the event? Spectrum Health will be streaming the event live on their Facebook page.

Dr. Bitner's office is located at 3800 Lake Michigan Drive Northwest, Suite A. To schedule an appointment with her, call (616)-267-8225.

All information was provided by Dr. Diana Bitner, her blog. Read more.

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