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)