Monthly Archives: May 2017

Make You Have Riskier Sex

Rolling back the federal birth control mandate could lead to increases in teen pregnancies and abortions, experts say.

Abigail Abrams

October 13, 2017

This article originally appeared on

When President Donald Trump’s administration recently issued new rules immediately rolling back the federal requirement that employers cover birth control in their health insurance plans, it not only cited religious freedom concerns, but also cast doubt on the safety and effectiveness of contraception.

In the rules, issued by the Department of Health and Human Services, the administration listed side effects and health risks it said can be associated with certain types of contraception, and said it may not “advance the government interests” to mandate birth control access to teenagers and young adults. “Imposing a coverage Mandate on objecting entities whose plans cover many enrollee families who may share objections to contraception could, among some populations, affect risky sexual behavior in a negative way,” the rules said.

But scientists and health care providers who study contraception have found that birth control coverage does not lead to riskier sexual behavior. “There is no evidence to support the idea that giving contraception promotes sexual activity,” says Dr. Jeffrey Peipert, chair of the obstetrics and gynecology department at Indiana University School of Medicine, who has studied the effects of contraceptives. “These are myths that are to the detriment of public health. I would argue that not providing contraception is clearly increased risk-taking behavior.”

In 2014, Peipert and his colleagues at Washington University in St. Louis published research that found that providing women with no-cost contraception did not increase the likelihood of riskier sexual behavior. In fact, researchers found a statistically significant decrease in the number of sexual partners people reported from the last month, and they found no evidence of increased sexually transmitted infections.

The analysis was part of a large study called the Contraceptive Choice Project, in which more than 9,000 women and teen girls in the St. Louis area were given the reversible birth control method of their choice, free of charge, and told about the benefits of long-acting contraceptives like IUDs and implants. Rates of unintended pregnancy and abortion fell significantly among all age groups in the study—particularly for teens. Rates of abortion and pregnancy among teens in the study dropped to less than a quarter of the national rates for sexually active teenagers.

Really Like to Have an IUD Removed

Does it hurt? Are there side effects? And what happens if it gets stuck? We’ve got answers to all your questions about taking out this increasingly popular birth-control method.

Sarah DiGiulio

June 08, 2017

If you’ve ever contemplated getting an IUD, then you probably talked to friends and also did some Google research to find out what the insertion process is like for this long-term contraceptive.

But you may not have given much thought to what happens when it’s time to take out this one-inch, T-shaped device—either because you plan to start having kids, it’s reached the end of its lifespan (which can be up to 12 years, depending on the type you have), or you just don’t want the thing in you anymore.

Here’s what happens in a nutshell. You’ll make an appointment with your ob-gyn, just as you did when you had the IUD put in. While you’re on your back on the exam table, your doctor (or sometimes a nurse) will insert a speculum. This lets her see the IUD strings, which should be in the cervix. Once she finds them, she’ll gently pull on them with a forceps until the IUD slides out of the cervical canal and then out of your vagina. Voila—you’re done.

Sometimes it takes a little longer. For example, if the strings aren’t clearly visible, your doctor might do an ultrasound to find them and make sure the IUD is in the proper place. In rare cases, the IUD could be stuck in the wall of the uterus, which calls for minimally invasive surgery to get it out.

But for the vast majority of women, the process is quick and easy, and no extra preparation or anesthesia is needed, says Leah Millheiser, MD, director of the Female Sexual Medicine Program at Stanford University. As for side effects, you might have a little spotting for a few hours or mild cramping, says Dr. Millheiser. Still, “you can go back to your regular routine immediately,” she adds.

Get a Lot More Expensive for IUD

IUDs are one of the most effective and low-maintenance types of birth control.

Alexandra Sifferlin Pratheek Rebala

October 19, 2017

This article originally appeared on

Should you use birth control pills, condoms or an intrauterine device (IUD)? Women choose their birth control based on many factors, like effectiveness or comfort—but cost has been less of a consideration, ever since the Affordable Care Act. A provision in the act required employers to provide contraception to all women in their health plans without charging a copay or coinsurance fee. Estimates suggest that more than 55 million women had access to birth control without co-pays because of the mandate.

Going forward, the price of birth control may matter more. On Oct. 6, President Donald Trump rolled back that coverage and issued a new rule that offers exemptions for any employer, regardless of industry, who objects to offering contraception coverage due to his or her personal religious beliefs or moral convictions.

Experts don’t yet know what effect the new rule will ultimately have on women’s ability to access birth control. But some worry that the IUD—one of the most effective and low-maintenance types of birth control—could become prohibitively expensive. Without insurance, it’s one of the priciest methods up front, costing about $900. And though an IUD may be a better financial investment over time, since women can use the device for several years, such a high initial price tag is beyond the means of many women.

Health care analytics company Amino analyzed billions of health insurance claims from 2014 to mid-2017 to understand how much an IUD could cost women if their insurance no longer covered it. They analyzed the Mirena and the Skyla IUD, which use the hormone progestin, and the ParaGard IUD, a non-hormonal copper-releasing device.

On average, an IUD could cost about $1,000 out of pocket across the country, the group reported. Below is an interactive map using data from Amino of what the typical cost of an IUD could be in each state. (The price estimates are for the total cost of an IUD, including the insertion procedure.)

As the data show, the lowest estimated cost is about $800. “[An IUD] is not cheap, and the median price is well outside affordability for many women,” says Sohan Murthy, a data scientist at Amino.