IUDS - intrauterine devices
There are three IUDs approved for use at this time. They are both small T-shaped devices inserted in the office. As a group they act by preventing implantation. They all have very high efficacy rates of preventing pregnancy, i.e. 1/300 :
None of them protect against sexually transmitted infections. If in the rare event a pregnancy occurs when an IUD is in place, it has a higher chance of being an ectopic, or tubal pregnancy.
A tubal pregnancy is a life threatening condition, and may be treated medically or surgically.
The two IUDs have some important differences:
Mirena - This device is imbued with a slow release progesterone which renders the lining of the uterus inhospitable for implantation of the fertilized egg. The Mirena is not believed to deliver a systemic dose of progesterone into the body. That is why systemic side-effects are not seen with this method. Its use is accompanied by spotty random bleeding, which, usually, over time, may go to no bleeding at all. This IUD lasts 5 years.
Skyla - This IUD is just like Mirena, imbued with a long acting progesterone, but lasts 3 years instead of 5. Additionally, it is smaller, to fit in a smaller uterus, such as those belonging to women who have not had children.
Paraguard - This IUD has no hormone and is made of copper. It lasts ten years. The Paraguard is associated with heavier crampier bleeding.