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Give us an I! Give us a U! Give us a D!

Move over, Pill! According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the IUD is a whole lot more effective — and safer than was traditionally thought. For a long time IUDs have been recommended only for women in long-term monogamous relationships who’d already had children — this was based on concerns that IUDs raised the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which, left untreated, can cause infertility. But according to ACOG, the evidence does not support these concerns — meaning, IUDs do not cause PID.

When you combine this news with what we already knew — the overwhelming effectiveness of a device that you insert once every five or ten years, as compared to a pill that you have to remember to take daily — it’s kind of a no-brainer. Or, at least, the IUD is definitely a contender. Currently it’s the redheaded stepchild of the birth control world — in 2008, IUDs, were the chosen method of 5.5% of women using contraceptives (and only 1.3% in 2002). But as more and more women find out that (a) IUDs are a lot safer than they’d been warned and (b) a lot more effective than the Pill or condoms, we’re guessing that will change.

We hope it goes without saying that IUDs still provide zero protection against STDs. We’ll say it again: You’ll still need some form of barrier protection for STDs. But if we’re talking strictly birth control, the IUD can’t be beat. In fact, the only methods that beat it in terms of effectiveness are the Implanon arm implant and tubal ligation — the latter being, you know, permanent. According to Reuters, “A study earlier this year found that 0.8 percent of U.S. women using a copper IUD had an unplanned pregnancy within a year. The rate for those on the hormonal IUD was 0.2 percent. Contraceptive skin implants, meanwhile, are even more effective – with a one-year pregnancy rate of 0.05 percent. In contrast, about 9 out of every 100 women on birth control pills can expect to have an unintentional pregnancy in a year — owing largely to imperfect use. With condoms, about 2 percent of women will become pregnant, but that’s only if a couple uses them correctly, every time they have sex.” For more information on the pros and cons of IUDS, check out the Planned Parenthood info page. And here’s more from us on IUDs:

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illus. of Paraguard IUD via Med.unc.edu