What is Intrauterine Device (IUD)?

Intrauterine contraception is one of the safest and most effective methods of contraception available today. It is considered “top tier contraception” because it ranks alongside implants and sterilization in capability and effectiveness and requires minimal user effort. IUDs are long acting and rapidly reversible. 

An IUD is safe in most women. It can be used in teens and even in women who have never had children. It is especially a good choice for any woman who is trying to avoid estrogen hormonal therapy.

Pregnancy is prevented by inhibiting fertilization, not by causing an abortion. For a brief period after placement, cramping or irregular bleeding may be experienced. There may also be in increase in cervical mucous production.

Types of Intrauterine DeviceS (IUDs)

There are two types of IUDs approved by the FDA:

  • Copper IUD (Paragard): Contains a fine copper wire. It is effective for 10 years. The success rate is 98-99%. If a woman has an allergy to copper or Wilson’s disease, this IUD is contraindicated (i.e. not recommended). Heavy and/or painful cycles are the most common reason for removal within the first year.
  • Levonorgesterol IUD (Mirena): Contains a hormone which is a progestin. It is effective for 5 years. It has a success rate of 99%, and has the added benefit of reducing menstrual flow, even stopping it completely. However, this IUD may cause unpredictable light bleeding or spotting.

A woman is not a candidate for IUDs if there are abnormalities to the shape of the uterus or there is acute infection. It is not recommended for women with multiple sexual partners, as the risk of infection can be higher.

IUD insertions are scheduled at your Ob/Gyn’s office. The best time for placement is toward the end of normal menstruation. Please contact our office or your insurance provider for information on benefits/cost. Find out if an IUD is right for you and make an appointment to talk to your physician.

Learn more about IUDs below:

Developed by Austin Regional Clinic.
Last modified: 2012-05-15
Last reviewed: 2012-05-15

This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.

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