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A T shaped plastic and copper device that's inserted into the vagina by a health professional and release copper to prevent pregnancy

How effective are they?

More than 99% effective. An IUD can stay in place for 5 to 10 years depending on the type but can be taken out at any time. Fewer than 1 in 100 women will get pregnant in a year, depending on the type of IUD. Older types are less effective.

What are the advantages?

  • Your periods can be heavier, longer or more painful in the first 3 to 6 months after an IUD is put in,
  • Not effect by other medicines and no hormonal side effects such as headaches or mood swings,
  • Taken out at any time and its possible to get pregnant straight away,
  • Takes 5 minutes to fit and works straight away,
  • Lasts for 5 to 10 years depending on type.

What makes them less effective to the disadvantages?

  • Health professionals check inside your vagina, measuring the size of the womb but also testing for sexually transmitted infections which can take 20-30 minutes,
  • Your periods may become heavier, longer or more painful, though this may improve after a few months,
  • 2 thin threads hang down a little way from your womb to the top of your vagina,
  • It can be uncomfortable when the IUD is put in.


  • Doesn't protect against sexually transmitted infections,
  • There's a small risk of getting a pelvic infection or body may push out or move the IUD,
  • If the IUD fails and you get pregnant, there's a small chance of an ectopic pregnancy.

If you experience pain in your lower abdomen, have a high temperature or expeirence a smelly discharge coming from your vagina, you should talk to your doctor or a health professional Immediately. 

You should also ask about risk factors such as smoking, your age or medical history before you get the intrauterine device