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Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit

 
FAQ

Birth Control Options

 

IUD (Intrauterine Device)

What is it?

An IUD is a small, plastic, T-shaped device that contains copper and sits inside the uterus to prevent pregnancy. It can be left in place for up to 5 years.



How does it work?

There are several theories on how the IUD works, however the exact method is not completely understood. It may work by slowing the sperm as they move toward the egg, thereby preventing fertilization. The IUD may also alter the lining of the uterus so that a fertilized egg cannot attach to the uterine wall.



How effective is it?

  • The IUD is 99.4% effective in preventing pregnancy.





What are the advantages?

  • Very effective in preventing pregnancy
  • Long-acting (up to 5 years)
  • Does not contain any hormones
  • Can be used by women who smoke or who are breastfeeding
  • Does not interfere with intercourse
  • May decrease the risk of endometrial cancer
  • Fast return of fertility after removal




What are the disadvantages?

  • Must be inserted and removed by a trained health professional (may be uncomfortable or painful)
  • Possible side effects after insertion include irregular bleeding or spotting
  • May increase menstrual bleeding and/or cramping
  • Perforation of the uterus may occur at the time of insertion (rare)
  • May fall out in 2-10% of women
  • Does not protect against sexually transmitted infections
  • Increased risk of infection and/or pelvic inflammatory disease



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Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit
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