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What is an IUD?

IUD stands for intrauterine device. It is a soft, small, and flexible t-shaped piece of plastic that keeps you from getting pregnant. It is placed by a trained healthcare provider in clinic.

How effective is an IUD?

An IUD is over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy, meaning it fails less than 1% of the time.

IUDs do not protect against STIs. Only condoms/barrier methods can protect against STIs.

How long does an IUD last?

An IUD can last between 3 to 10 years, depending on the device type. IUDs can be removed at any time and the return of fertility is rapid.

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How does an IUD work?

IUDs work by creating an environment in which the sperm cannot reach the egg. A doctor will place the IUD in your uterus. There are two types of IUDs: hormonal and non-hormonal.

What is a hormonal IUD?

The hormonal IUDs release a small amount of the hormone progestin. This can help prevent pregnancy in a few ways: the IUD thickens cervical mucus to make it difficult for sperm to move and, in some women, the hormones may also prevent ovulation (which is when the egg leaves the ovaries). 

There are a few different types of hormonal IUDs. The Mirena® and Liletta® can last up to 8 years. Kyleena® can last up to 5 years, and Skyla® can last up to 3 years.

Hormonal IUD side effects

For some women, lighter, irregular or no period. Some women experience cramping after insertion, while your body gets used to having the IUD. 

Every person is different, talk to your doctor or nurse about potential side effects. 

What is a non-hormonal IUD?

The non-hormonal IUD is wrapped in copper, which is toxic to sperm. This stops the sperm and keeps you from getting pregnant. The non-hormonal IUD device is Paragard® and is FDA-approved to last up to 10 years.

Copper IUD side effects

For some women, the experience heavier periods. Some women experience cramping after insertion while your body gets used to having the IUD. Every person is different, talk to your doctor or nurse about potential side effects. 

Common questions with IUD

What not to do after IUD insertion

Your healthcare provider will provide post-care instructions. Generally, it will be advised to not use tampons for 7 days after insertion and refrain from sexual intercourse for 24 hours. Doctors will likely provide a period of time that you should keep using your prior method of birth control, and will follow-up to check on your bleeding patterns and strings in 4-6 weeks.

Does an IUD cause weight gain?

IUDs do not list weight gain as a side effect. Some report weight gain with IUDs or other forms of birth control, but the medical community has not confirmed a link. Asking your doctor is best!

Signs that your IUD is out of place

Your doctor should talk you through this, but some signs include not being able to feel the strings, pain during sexual intercourse, intense/abnormal cramping, you can feel the plastic of the IUD. Consult your healthcare provider if you have concerns.

IUD removal side effects

Some experience side effects such as cramping, spotting, bleeding, nausea or dizziness for a few days and can be managed with over-the-counter pain relievers.

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