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

How effective are they?

More than 99% effective. An IUS normally works for five years but can be taken out earlier. Fewer than 1 in 100 women will get pregnant over five years when using an IUS.

What are the advantages?

  • It can make your periods lighter, shorter or stop altogether, so it may help women who have heavy or painful periods,
  • Taken out at any time and its possible to get pregnant straight away,
  • Not effected by other medicines,
  • Doesn’t interrupt sex,
  • Lasts for 3 to 5 years.

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,
  • Some women may experience side effects, such as mood swings, skin problems, headaches, breast tenderness, low libido,
  • It can be seen, 2 thin threads hang down a little way from your womb to the top of your vagina,
  • It can be uncomfortable when the IUS 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 IUS,
  • If the IUS 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