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What is an Intra Uterine Device (IUD)?

An IUD is a small device that is inserted into a uterus as a form of female contraception.

What makes up an IUD?

An IUD can be made from different materials including copper, or one that contains the hormone progesterone (called Mirena).

How does it work?

A Copper IUD works primarily by preventing fertilisation, as the copper is toxic to the sperm. They can also block implantation.
The Mirena will change the thickness of the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from passing through the cervix and can also impede implantation.

How effective is an IUD?

An IUD is 98- 99% effective.

How long does it last?

5 to 10 years depending on the type

How is an IUD inserted?

An IUD is inserted by a trained doctor through the vagina, through the cervix and into the uterus.

How is an IUD removed?

An IUD is removed quite simply by a doctor who will pull it out

How long does it take to work?

There is immediate contraceptive effect.

Who should use an IUD?

IUDs are suitable for certain women. IUDs are more effective in older women. They are suited for women in relationships. They are suited for women who have given birth previously. Women who want a long term method. The Mirena can help control heavy periods.

What are the side effects?

There are a range of side effects. These can include the following;
  • Bleeding patterns usually change and bleeding may stop, become heavy, be irregular
  • Acne (but this might improve too)
  • Headache
  • Abdominal pain
  • Breat pain
  • Mood changes
  • Decreased libido
  • Hair loss
  • Potential weight gain

What are the risks associated with an IUD?

There are few risks associated with IUD. They include

  • A pregnancy may occur and the miscarry
  • An ectopic pregnancy
  • Expulsion of device and then pregnancy
  • Perforation of device through uterus (rare)
  • Pelvic infection, though the IUD is not the cause
  • Pain
  • Bleeding

Are there any medical conditions that would prevent me from having an IUD?

There are a few medical conditions that represent contra-indications to using an IUD. Some of these include;
  • Current liver tumour
  • Severe liver disease
  • Current breast cancer
  • Allergy to an constituent
  • Pregnancy
  • Current infection genital tract
All of the information contained in this leaflet is designed to provide basic level education. It does not represent medical advice and no action should be taken as a result of the information contained within without discussing it with a doctor. Medical information changes rapidly and this content may be out of date and therefore incorrect. The content has been written with the intention of helping those who read it and specific medical terminology, complex and detailed information has been purposefully omitted. The author holds no responsibility for any action taken as a result of reading this information. The content of this leaflet remains the property of Two One Five Melbourne Street Medical Practice and any usage, apart from personal use, must receive the authority of the owner.
©2016 Two One Five Melbourne Street Medical Practice