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Just How Much Do IUDs Put Your Health At Risk?

All hail the IUD, the birth-control method many gynecologists favor above all others. But while contraception that’s implanted inside of you and wards off pregnancy for five to 10 years might sound pretty futuristic, the mechanics are actually quite simple. “The IUD is a little plastic, T-shaped device that fits into the uterus,” says Mary Jane Minkin, M.D., clinical professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Yale School of Medicine. The two most popular ones are Paragard and Mirena. In Paragard, the upper part of the T is coated with copper and protects you for 10 years, while Mirena uses synthetic progestin and protects you for five. Both are very hostile to sperm. And “hostile to sperm” sounds pretty good when you’re actively avoiding bringing new life into the world, especially since the IUD’s defense mechanism makes it more than 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy, says Minkin. That being said, complications, although extremely rare, can happen. Here are three you should be aware of.

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