IUDs (Intrauterine Devices) have been the cause of much discussion on ODDC. Everyone seems to have similar concerns and questions about them, so here is some basic info, and a summary from our discussions in the forum.

IUDs are Long-acting reversible contraceptives that offer an alternative to traditional birth control in the form of pills.  In recent years, it seems that the IUDs’ popularity has risen, but hasn’t completely overtaken the pill, even though IUDs are considered to be 20% more effective.  Of course, there haven’t been any studies done on how IUDs affect singers, but there have been a few divas who have said that their IUDs have affected their bodies and voices in ways that were unexpected. In an ODDC poll, we asked you to weigh in on whether or not you believe that your IUD has affected your singing in a negative way. Out of the 83 people who responded, (not quite enough for a medical study), 92% reported that it didn’t affect their voice, but 8% say that it has affected their voice negatively. 

Most of the side effects, according to fellow divas who have IUDs, are weight gain, some cramping that goes away, and some spotting, but nothing that seems to deviate from the standard list of side effects listed on the IUD company websites. If you are planning a gig or audition, you should plan on putting enough space between the procedure (at least a few days) if possible, should any problems or discomfort arise. Some people claim they were good as new after a day or so, and others needed a few weeks to recover. With the hormonal IUD, it seems that some people noticed a tad bit more cramping toward the end of the effectiveness. Overall your success with the IUD is a matter of whether or not your body is compatible. Now, if you’re thinking “how do I know if this will or won’t work with my body?” you’re going to have to talk to your doctor about that. (Sorry. See disclaimer.)

DISCLAIMER: Suzanne, Sara, Errin, and other Shoperatic Divas are not medical professionals (but if someone is, please do contact us–We have questions!!). This article does not replace having a conversation with your doctor about whether or not an IUD is right for you, but we hope that is will help you form a basis of your knowledge so that you can talk to your doctor about it.

Basically, you have two options with the IUDs–the copper one and the hormonal one.  There are a few different brands in the U.S. (you can talk to your doctor about the brands).  The Copper one blocks the sperm, because apparently copper is toxic to sperm.  The hormonal one gets kind of scientific, but also blocks the sperm by making it difficult for it to fertilize an egg.  Both of them are put into the uterus–hence the name Intrauterine device—and are completely reversible.

When it comes to the voice, in some rare cases, there were complaints from ODDC of actual fach changes–think dramatic changes like coloratura soprano to mezzo-soprano, but most divas reported no noticeable changes. If you notice something like this, or any other side effect, (say it with me) TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR!  Most of the time we can get to the bottom of things by talking to a medical professional whom we trust.

Here are a list of places where you can find more information about IUDs:

  1. Your doctor (yep, recurring theme here.)
  2. Websites of each brand of IUD–They have Q &A/FAQ pages just for this reason
  3. Your doctor
  4. Several online medical search engines
  5. Last but not least, your doctor!

Coming soon: “IUD Q&A” and “Could your IUD be affecting your voice?”  These articles go much deeper into the world of IUDs and hormones.  Thanks for your input, divas!