IUD vs Pill: A Detailed Comparision Of Birth Control Options

iud vs pill

IUD vs Pill: In this article, we discuss, in detail, two of the most common birth control options.

IUD vs Pill: Overview

Are you in the phase of your life when you need to boil down to one birth control option rather than facing fluctuating decisions? Have you been taking pills and missing doses occasionally? Do you want to get an IUD (Intrauterine Device) installed but are worried about the side effects? Do not want to go through the hassle of vaginal rings like NuvaRing generic, spermicide tubes, condoms, cervical caps, injections, etc.?

These are all common situations and questions that women find themselves amongst. Choosing the most suitable form of birth control solutions can depend on a multitude of factors, such as age, frequency of sexual intercourse, medical history, STDs and much more.

However, it has time and again been said that the best two birth control options are either everyday pills or IUDs. Birth control pills consist of a combination of 2 hormones or a single hormone. These hormones bring out changes in the uterus and menstrual cycle while also fighting off sperms.

Whereas, IUDs can either be hormonal or non-hormonal. Copper IUDs (non-hormonal) release copper ions in the uterus and these ions create a toxic atmosphere for the sperms. The sperms do not survive for long and are destroyed and deemed inactive before they can make it all the way to the ovary.

Keep reading to have a better idea about more features of the birth control pill and the birth control IUD.

IUD vs Pill: Dosage

Birth Control Pills

  • The most common packaging of birth control pills consists of 21-day and 28-day periods. The 21-day package has tablets that must be taken every day for 21 days. Once this 3-week period is over, the 4th week is safe for unprotected sex and there is zero chance of pregnancy occurring. This cycle needs to be repeated continuously.
  • The 28-day package, on the other hand, comes with 28 pills, one for each day. The first 21 pills have active hormones and help in curbing the periods and developing a hostile environment for the sperm so that they cannot travel. Whereas, the last 7 pills are placebos and have inactive hormones. There are several other prescription methods for birth control pills.


  • IUDs do not have a specific dosage that must be taken daily. It is a T-shaped device that is fitted in the uterus. If you choose Skyla then the IUD releases Levonorgestrel at a rate of 20mcg per day. This device can stay in the uterus for 3 years.
  • If you use Liletta, then the IUD releases Levonorgestrel at a rate of 20 mcg per day. This can stay in the body for as long as 7 to 8 years.
  • If you use Sylka, then the IUD releases Levonorgestrel at a rate of 14 mcg per day and slowly after 2 to 3 years this amount reduces to 5 mcg per day.

IUD vs Pill: Side Effects

Usually, birth control pills have far more side effects than IUDs. Keep reading to understand more about the kinds of side effects that can occur.

Birth Control Pills

  • Soreness in the breasts
  • Regular mood alterations. Some times a feeling of depression and hopelessness can kick in
  • Weight alterations can occur if you are new to birth control pills
  • Irregularities in periods can lead to worrisome thoughts about pregnancy
  • Nausea and headaches

Once the body is comfortable with this inclusion of hormones, the side effects begin to naturally wear off.

Although it may seem that there are more side effects for IUDs, keep in mind that this device can portray its effectiveness for half a decade and all these side effects wear off before the end of 7-10 months, if at all.


  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
  • Foul-smelling and green colored vaginal discharge
  • Once the IUD is inserted, the patient can experience cramping for several days
  • Expect to face heavier periods during the initial months. But gradually within half a year or so, the occurrence of periods will completely stop.
  • Breasts begin to become tender
  • Skin Acne
  • Aching issues such as headaches, backaches and groin aches

IUD vs Pill: Functionality

The primary motive of both these birth control solutions is to put a halt to periods while also ensuring that the woman does not become pregnant when they indulge in sexual activity. The route that these different birth control options take do vary, but the final goal is the same.

Birth Control Pills

These pills release hormones that restrict the sperm from reaching the ovary to combine with the egg. The hormones present in the pill (whether estrogen, progestin or both) function by stopping ovulation. As ovulation is stopped, there is no way that the egg can be fertilized. Mucus that runs in the cervical tract also begins to thicken, making it almost impossible for any number of sperms to make their way through the tract.


Hormonal IUDs release a specific amount of hormone in the body that constantly reduces with time. These hormones lead to the same effect that birth control pills like Lo Ovral or Yasmin pill perform. Except that the outer lining of the uterus begins to thin for better protection.

Non-hormonal IUDs, on the other hand, are placed in the uterus and begin to release copper ions. These oxidized ions produce an extremely toxic environment for the sperms to survive. Because of this, the sperms are killed before they make their way through the cervix, the uterus and all the way to the ovary for initiating fertilization.

Also Read: Types Of IUDs And Their Benefits

IUD vs Pill: Risk factors

Depending on whichever birth control solution you opt for, there are a few factors that you must always keep in mind to ensure maximum effectiveness and lowest side effects.


IUDs should not be administered to patients who are victims of cervical cancer, uterine cancer or vaginal cancer. Treatment to these sections can interrupt the IUDs functionality and it can be deemed pointless. Whereas, hormonal IUDs should not be given to women who are suffering from liver diseases or breast cancer.

Birth Control Pills

Smoking, drinking excessive alcohol and a family history of internal blood clots are more than enough to refrain from using birth control pills. Also, if you have any heart disease and blood pressure irregularities, immediately stop consumption and visit a medical professional for better alternatives.

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs)

Sexually transmitted infections are a widespread problem and can easily be transmitted between 2 people if they have unprotected sex.

Neither birth control pills, nor intrauterine devices contribute to protection against STDs and STIs. Despite helping a woman dodge the hurdles of unplanned pregnancy, these solutions offer no support to infections that can be caught from people who already have them.

For this reason, condoms, vaginal rings or cervical caps must be used. This completely eradicates the possibility of catching a sexually transmitted infection.

Wrap Up

The number of IUDs and birth control pill solutions are countless. Finding the best option depends on a number of factors that your doctor can help you jot down and analyze. If you cannot tolerate the risk and tension of popping a pill every day then your best bet is an IUD. Also, if you have been a victim of heart diseases or heart strokes, then opting for IUDs is an absolute no brainer.


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