IU Health doctor encourages use of IUDs after new study

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A new study on a contraceptive device shows it may reduce the risks of cervical cancer in women.

The study focuses on IUDs, a tiny t-shaped plastic inserted into the uterus to provide birth control. The data combined multiple different studies focusing on IUDs and cervical cancer. Thousands of women participated in the studies from around the world.

The study found there was about a 30 percent reduction in the risk of cervical cancer for women who use IUDs versus women who don't use IUDs. Experts say the reason is because the immune response kills off HPV, the virus that causes nearly all cases of cervical cancer.

Dr. Chemen Neal with IU Health said she has always recommended IUDs for many of her patients, but believes even more women will switch to this device now.

"IUDs are my first choice of contraception for women. They are the safest form of contraception that we have. They’re also the most effective form of contraceptive that we have and they’re the most cost effective," Dr. Neal said.

The birth control option is used regularly by women in other countries, but is only recently gaining growing popularity in the U.S. after many women had health concerns in the 60s. Dr. Neal said reducing the risk of cervical cancer is just another added benefit that will likely encourage more women to choose IUDs.

"Women who have medical problems often can’t take birth control pills. It’s very difficult for a lot of women to remember to take birth control bills and so, IUDs solve that issue," explained Dr. Neal. "This is a really great benefit over all the other birth control options that we have."

The study did not answer a few questions including how long women were wearing the IUD, what kind of IUD, as well as their geographical access to medical care. Doctors believe the study will lead to more research about cervical cancer.

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