What are intrauterine devices (IUDs)?
An intrauterine device (IUD) is a type of birth control. It is a small T-shaped plastic device that a doctor can place in your uterus to prevent pregnancy. Your uterus is the organ where babies live and grow before they’re born.
IUDs are put into your uterus through your vagina (the muscular tube that connects your uterus to the outside of your body, also called the birth canal). A plastic string is attached to the IUD. The string lets you make sure the IUD is still in place and helps your doctor remove it.
IUDs work very well to prevent pregnancy and last between 3 and 10 years
IUDs don't have body-wide effects
A doctor must put in and remove your IUD
You can get pregnant immediately after removing an IUD
An IUD may change how much you bleed or cramp during your period
Understanding Intrauterine Devices
Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are inserted by a doctor into a woman’s uterus through the vagina. IUDs are made of molded plastic. Two types of IUDs release a progestin called levonorgestrel. The other type is T-shaped and has a copper wire wrapped around the base and on the arms of the T. A plastic string is attached to the IUD. The string enables a woman to make sure the device is still in place and a doctor to easily remove it.
How do IUDs prevent pregnancy?
IUDs prevent pregnancy by:
Preventing sperm from getting to your egg
If an egg does get fertilized, the IUD may also keep the fertilized egg from attaching to your uterus
IUDs don't remove a fertilized egg that has already attached to your uterus
What types of IUDs can I use?
There are 2 kinds of IUDs:
IUDs with hormones
IUDs containing copper (copper wire is wrapped around the device) instead of hormones
IUD with hormones
Lasts 3 or 5 years, or until removed by a doctor
About 1 in 100 women get pregnant while using it
Releases a hormone called progestin
May cause you not to bleed or bleed only a little during your period
Doesn't give off hormones
Lasts 10 years, or until removed by a doctor
About 2 in 100 women get pregnant while using it
Can cause more bleeding and cramps during your period
Who can use IUDs?
Most women can use IUDs, including teenagers and women who haven’t had children.
You shouldn't have an IUD put in if you have:
An infection in your pelvis, such as an STI ( sexually transmitted infection Overview of Sexually Transmitted Infections STIs are infections that are passed from person to person through sexual contact, including oral sex. STIs may be caused by different types of germs, including chlamydia, gonorrhea, HIV, and... read more ) or pelvic inflammatory disease Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) Pelvic inflammatory disease may affect the lining of the uterus, the fallopian tubes, and sometimes the ovaries. Pelvic inflammatory disease is usually caused by bacteria from the vagina. The... read more
An unusually shaped uterus
Unexplained bleeding from your vagina
Wilson disease Wilson Disease In Wilson disease, a rare hereditary disorder, the liver does not excrete excess copper into the bile as it normally does, resulting in accumulation of copper in the liver and liver damage.... read more (a disease that causes a buildup of copper in your body) or an allergy to copper (for copper IUDs)
You shouldn't have an IUD put in if you're pregnant.
What are problems with IUDs?
Problems that may happen with an IUD include:
IUD coming out by itself during the first year (more likely in women who are young or haven’t had children)
IUD punching a hole in your uterus when it’s put in (rare)
Increased chance of infection in your pelvis in the first month you have an IUD
Increased bleeding and cramps during your period (copper IUD only)
What are benefits of IUDs?
Birth control that works very well to prevent pregnancy
Lower chance of getting cancer in your uterus
Lighter bleeding during your period (hormonal IUDs only)