Intrauterine device (IUD)

Pregnancy prevention for up to 10 years, remove at any time

An effective long-acting, reversible contraceptive

The IUD is a small, T-shaped device that is placed in a woman's womb and provides contraceptive protection for up to ten years.

Made from plastic and copper, the IUD is a long-term method of contraception. Long-acting methods of contraception all have the advantage that, once in place, you don’t need to think about them until they need replacing and none of them interrupt sex. They’ve also been shown to be 20 times more effective than short term contraceptive methods such as the pill.

Effectiveness

99% - If one hundred women used the IUD for a year and carried on with their normal sex life then only one of those women would fall pregnant during that period.

Availability

IUDs are available at all of our Centres and outreach teams.

Pricing

Please contact our team for more information about pricing.

Advantages of an IUD

All types of IUD can offer advantages as a long-acting, reversible method of contraception.

  • Easily inserted by a trained Marie Stopes provider
  • Easy to use - nothing to remember after insertion
  • Can be easily removed
  • Works as soon as it's put in
  • Lasts up to 10 years
  • Fertility returns immediately after it’s removed
  • It does not interrupt sex.

These benefits come from the correct use of the IUD when inserted by a trained provider. If using an IUD you should also make sure to follow any product manufacturer instructions.

Things to consider

There are a few things to consider when choosing a non-hormonal IUD over other contraception methods:

  • The most common side effect of IUD is heavier, more uncomfortable or prolonged periods
  • The IUD may cause a slight increase in vaginal discharge but it does not cause a rise in infections as long as it is put in properly by a trained person
  • In very rare cases a woman’s body might reject the IUD and push it out
  • Unlike condoms, the IUD does not protect you from sexually transmitted infections.

What happens during IUD insertion

Inserting an IUD is a simple procedure that takes a few minutes.

A trained person inserts the IUD. The IUD sits in your womb and does not move from there. There are threads attached to the IUD which hang down into the vagina that assist with removal or if you or your provider want to check on the IUD. Do not pull on the threads as this is how the device is removed.

Before the provider inserts the IUD, they will ask you some questions about your health and examine you to make sure that this is the right method for you. They will also make sure that you have consented to having it inserted. The provider will use a very narrow tube to insert the IUD into your uterus through your cervix. Some women may find this a little painful, and you can ask for some pain relief before the insertion to help with this.

 

Following IUD insertion

After the IUD has been inserted, you may notice that your period lasts longer, is heavier, or is more painful than before; this will normally settle down in a few months.

You should also be able to feel the two threads at the end of the IUD in your vagina. You should come back to visit your provider or call one of our contact centres at any time if you are worried that there is a problem with your IUD, or if you can no longer feel the threads. If you feel unwell and have pain in your lower belly, with a fever or a smelly discharge from your vagina, you should call a contact centre straight away.

You can have the IUD inserted at any time as long as you are not already pregnant. Once the IUD is inserted, you can start having sex again right away. The IUD does not protect you from HIV and other sexually transmitted infections, so you may need to use condoms as well.

Looking for more information about IUDs?

Try visiting our frequently asked questions where we've provided some brief answers to some of our most commonly asked questions.

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    If you are starting to use contraception for the first time, or looking to change methods, it is a good idea to have a consultation.