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Intrauterine device (IUD)

Pregnancy prevention for up to 10 years, remove at any time

An effective long-acting, reversible contraceptive

The IUD is a small, T-shaped device that is placed in a woman's womb and provides contraceptive protection for up to ten years.

Made from plastic and copper, the IUD is a long-term method of contraception. Long-acting methods of contraception all have the advantage that, once in place, you don’t need to think about them until they need replacing and none of them interrupt sex. They’ve also been shown to be 20 times more effective than short term contraceptive methods such as the pill.


99% - If one hundred women used the IUD for a year and carried on with their normal sex life then only one of those women would fall pregnant during that period.





Advantages of an IUD

All types of IUD can offer advantages as a long-acting, reversible method of contraception.

  • Easily inserted by a trained Marie Stopes provider
  • Easy to use - nothing to remember after insertion
  • Can be easily removed by a provider
  • Works as soon as it is put in
  • Fertility returns immediately after it’s removed
  • It does not interrupt sex.

Things to consider

There are a few things to consider when choosing a non-hormonal IUD over other contraception methods:

  • The most common side effect of IUD is heavier, more uncomfortable or prolonged periods
  • The IUD may cause a slight increase in vaginal discharge but it does not increase the risk of infections as long as it is put in properly by a trained person
  • In very rare cases a woman’s body might reject the IUD and push it out
  • Unlike condoms, the IUD does not protect you from sexually transmitted infections.

If you are unsure on whether an IUD is right for you, take a look at our online contraception tool – Choice. The website uses a simple questionnaire to provide you with clear, tailored advice on your contraceptive options.

How an IUD works

The IUD works by stopping a man's sperm meeting an egg or it may also stop an egg implanting in the uterus.

Copper changes the make-up of the fluids in the womb and fallopian tubes, preventing sperm from surviving long enough to fertalise an egg. IUDs may also stop fertilised eggs from implanting in the womb.

Fitting an IUD

Inserting an IUD is a simple procedure that takes a few minutes.

A trained person inserts the IUD. The IUD sits in your womb and does not move from there. There are threads attached to the IUD which hang down into the vagina that assist with removal or if you or your provider want to check on the IUD. Do not pull on the threads as this is how the device is removed.

The IUD starts working as soon as it is put in and stops working as soon as it is taken out, at which point your normal fertility returns immediately.

Looking for more information about IUDs?

Try visiting our frequently asked questions where we've provided some brief answers to some of our most commonly asked questions.

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    Find a suitable method for you

    If you are starting to use contraception for the first time, or looking to change methods, it is a good idea to have a consultation. Chat with us on WhatsApp on 0908 00 22252.