Intrauterine Device Information

An intrauterine device (IUD) is inserted into your uterus to prevent pregnancy. There are two types of IUDs available:

  • Copper IUD—This type of IUD is wrapped in copper wire and is placed inside the uterus. Copper makes the uterus and fallopian tubes produce a fluid that kills sperm. The copper IUD can stay in place for 10 years.

  • Hormone IUD—This type of IUD contains the hormone progestin (synthetic progesterone). The hormone thickens the cervical mucus and prevents sperm from entering the uterus. It also thins the uterine lining to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg. The hormone can weaken or kill the sperm that get into the uterus. One type of hormone IUD can stay in place for 5 years, and another type can stay in place for 3 years.

Your health care provider will make sure you are a good candidate for a contraceptive IUD. Discuss with your health care provider the possible side effects.

ADVANTAGES OF AN INTRAUTERINE DEVICE

  • IUDs are highly effective, reversible, long acting, and low maintenance.  

  • There are no estrogen-related side effects.  

  • An IUD can be used when breastfeeding.  

  • IUDs are not associated with weight gain.  

  • The copper IUD works immediately after insertion.  

  • The hormone IUD works right away if inserted within 7 days of your period starting. You will need to use a backup method of birth control for 7 days if the hormone IUD is inserted at any other time in your cycle.

  • The copper IUD does not interfere with your female hormones.  

  • The hormone IUD can make heavy menstrual periods lighter and decrease cramping.  

  • The hormone IUD can be used for 3 or 5 years.  

  • The copper IUD can be used for 10 years.

DISADVANTAGES OF AN INTRAUTERINE DEVICE

  • The hormone IUD can be associated with irregular bleeding patterns.  

  • The copper IUD can make your menstrual flow heavier and more painful.  

  • You may experience cramping and vaginal bleeding after insertion.