There are many medications— oral contraceptives, antacid medications, and cholesterol-lowering drugs— that have become so trusted and commonplace in the modern American life that we rarely stop to consider their side effects. When it comes to birth control, few methods are as lauded as intrauterine devises. With their 99 percent effectiveness and low rate of complication, IUDs have safely prevented unwanted pregnancies for years, benefitting women, children, and society as a whole.
But as we learned with the recent discovery of hormone birth control's association with an elevated incidence of breast cancer, even trusted daily medications carry risk, and it's possible we haven't asked as many questions about our birth control as we should. As an OB/GYN, it's important to me that I inform my patients that, like many other medications, IUDs carry risks and have shortcomings that we should all start talking about. Here's how I handle birth control with my patients.