Researchers take: “If all you’ve heard about the device is that it’s dangerous, even immoral — who has the time or energy it would take to change your mind? We’ve got stuff to do.”
Ok – so I jumped on one piece of logic that Melissa Dahl used to describe why the IUD has a bad reputation. It’s a good one though. So what is it about the IUD that women do not like. Would be interested to hear your thoughts. True, this device is considered an abortifacient of sorts. It creates an environment in the uterus (an infection, really) that does not allow fertilization. True, it is painful to insert and take out – ugh – I remember my experience well. And true, there is just something that is so wrong about this device inhabiting our sacred womb. And an infection in the uterus – is not isolated, it can travel to other parts of the body.
Now add synthetic hormones to the IUD, and you have a double-edged sword – a foreign object in the uterus dripping synthetic hormones into the womb which is getting absorbed into the blood stream suppressing ovulation.
Why would women want to change their mind – or have their mind be changed (that’s called marketing) when it is obvious that the research we have done resonates with what we intuitively know is right: a foreign object dripping synthetic hormones into the uterus is not birth control – it is out of our control.
Why the IUD Can’t Beat Its Bad Reputation
Science of Us
by Melissa Dahl
June 30, 2014
Bad reputations are hard to come back from, and that’s true whether you’re talking about a kid in high school battling an unfair rap, a celebrity with an image crisis — or a teensy, T-shaped birth control device called the IUD. It’s something worth considering today, as the Supreme Court ruled in the Hobby Lobby case that companies can’t be required to provide contraception coverage if it doesn’t jive with their religious beliefs. The decision won’t affect the most common birth control methods, like condoms or the pill, USA Today reports, but it will affect what the Guttmacher Institute calls the most effective birth control method available: the IUD.
But even women — and their doctors — who aren’t religious may still be wary about the device. It’s much less popular than the pill, condoms, and even sterilization, according to Guttmacher estimates, and that’s likely at least in part because the IUD is facing a double whammy here in terms of a bad rap. In the 1970s, an early version of the device was recalled after reports of nasty infections, and even some cases of infertility. It also comes down to disagreement over what the IUD actually does; as today’s Supreme Court ruling over religious beliefs and contraceptives demonstrates, science and religion don’t always agree over what counts as “conception,” as The Atlantic’s Olga Khazan wrote in March.
That’s a lot of negativity for a little device to overcome. Here, some psychological findings that help explain why the IUD can be a hard-sell:
We remember negative information more clearly. Our brains may have evolved to cling to the bad, scary stuff in life more tightly than the good. For example, research shown that the psychological hangover you get from one bad day can last well into the following day; the same isn’t true for a good day. And, as Florida State University psychologist Roy F. Baumeister (and others) argues in a 2005 paper, the same is true for sexual experiences — research has shown that the psychic pain of one bad romp can last for years, but no matter how great any single sexual experience is, it won’t have the same lingering effect as the deleterious one. Applying this logic to the IUD, it seems the threat of risk is something our minds take more seriously than its potential reward.
Risks of using an intrauterine device (IUD) include:
- Menstrual problems. The copper IUD may increase menstrual bleeding or cramps. Women may also experience spotting between periods. The hormonal IUD may reduce menstrual cramps and bleeding.1
- Perforation. In 1 out of 1,000 women, the IUD will get stuck in or puncture (perforate) the uterus.1 Although perforation is rare, it almost always occurs during insertion. The IUD should be removed if the uterus has been perforated.
- Expulsion. About 2 to 10 out of 100 IUDs are pushed out (expelled) from the uterus into the vagina during the first year. This usually happens in the first few months of use. Expulsion is more likely when the IUD is inserted right after childbirth or in a woman who has not carried a pregnancy.1 When an IUD has been expelled, you are no longer protected against pregnancy.
Disadvantages of IUDs include the high cost of insertion, no protection against STIs, and the need to be removed by a doctor.
Disadvantages of the hormonal IUD
The hormonal IUD can cause hormonal side effects similar to those caused by oral contraceptives, such as breast tenderness, mood swings, headaches, and acne. This is rare. When side effects do happen, they usually go away after the first few months.
Pregnancy with an IUD
When to call your doctor
When using an IUD, be aware of warning signs of a more serious problem related to the IUD.