An IUD is a device used to prevent pregnancy. An IUD is a small plastic device that is inserted into the uterus that contains copper or a hormone. The two most common types of IUDs are ParaGard® and Liletta® or Kyleena®.

How do IUDs work?

IUDs work by preventing an egg from being fertilized. IUDs change the lining of the uterus in ways that stop a woman from getting pregnant. The hormonal IUDs may also suppress the release of an egg.

Who should not use IUDs?

There are some cases when an IUD should not be used. You should not use an IUD if:

  • You are pregnant

  • You have an infection such as gonorrhea, chlamydia, or cervicitis

  • You have an active, recent, or frequent pelvic infections

  • You have or are suspected to have cancer of the uterus or cervix

How well do IUDs work?

The IUD has a success rate of 99% with normal use. Check monthly for the IUD strings. Call your clinic if the string is missing or if it is longer than before.

How is an IUD put in?

An IUD must be prescribed and placed by a health care provider. It can be put in anytime if you are not pregnant. An IUD can also be placed after giving birth and is safe while breastfeeding.

Will the IUD hurt?

You may have some cramping when the IUD is put in and for a few days after. To ease cramping, try:

  • Ibuprofen (Advil®) 600 mg every 4-6hours as needed

  • Heating pad

What are the risks of using an IUD?

The three main risks of an IUD are:

  • Expulsion

  • Infection

  • Perforation

Expulsion: This is when the IUD completely or part way falls out of the uterus. This is most common in the first year, often in the first few months after placement. This is more likely to happen in patients who have never had a baby. If you do not feel the strings or feel the strings are longer, please call the clinic. Your provider may want you to return to the clinic to make sure the IUD is in the proper place.

Infection: An IUD can make a cervical or uterine infection worse. Call your provider if you notice any signs of an infection.

Perforation: Rarely, the IUD may puncture the wall of the uterus. This may happen when it is put in. In such cases, surgery may be required to remove the IUD.

How is the IUD removed?

The IUD can be removed at any time. It is a simple procedure done by your health care provider. Your fertility will return to normal right after the IUD is removed. Unless you want to get pregnant, you will need to use another form of birth control. The IUD can also be replaced with a new one. This can be done at the same time as the other one is removed.

Never try to remove the IUD yourself or ask someone other than your provider to do it.

When to Call

If you have any of the symptoms below, call your health care provider right away.

  • Excessive heavy bleeding

  • Abdominal (belly) pain

  • Pain with sex

  • Infection, exposure to any STD, or abnormal vaginal discharge

  • Not feeling well, unexplained fever or chills

  • IUD string missing, shorter or longer