What is an IUD?

What is an IUD?

At Complete Women Care, we offer various types of contraceptives (birth control). IUD, or Intrauterine Devices, are a t-shaped piece of plastic inserted into the uterus to provide reliable birth control.

Types of IUDs

This type of IUD releases the hormone, progestin which causes the cervical muscles to become thicker so sperm cannot reach the egg. This hormone also changes the lining of the uterus so implantation of a fertilized egg cannot occur.

Mirena, Kyleena, Skyla and Liletta

This type of IUD contains copper, which is slowly released into the uterine cavity. The copper stops the sperm from making it through to the vagina and uterus to then reach the egg, thus preventing fertilization.



How effective are IUDs?
IUDs are quite effective at a 99% effective rate. 1 out of 100 women who use an IUD will become pregnant every year. 

What’s the insertion like?
Insertion varies with each woman. Pain ranges from mild to severe.

What are the side effects of IUDs?
Side effects may include but are not limited to:  

  • Heavier periods
  • Irregular periods
  • Backaches or cramping
  • Spotting between menstrual period

How safe are IUDs?
Typically, IUDs are safe to have inserted but there are certain conditions that may stop approval. 

  • Having a STD or pelvic infection
  • Pregnancy
  • Untreated cervical cancer
  • Uterine cancer
  • Non-menstrual period bleeding
  • Abortion within the last few months
  • Post-childbirth infection

What’s the removal like?
This is typically a quick and easy procedure. The physician or nurse pulls on the IUD string which makes the IUD arms fold up where they are able to pull it out. 


  • An IUD has a 99% effective rate
  • IUDs DO NOT protect against STDs
  • Inserting Paragard within 5 days of unprotected sex prevents pregnancy by 99.9%
  • Usually covered by insurance but can have a cost depending on your insurance 
  • A doctor or nurse performs the insertion
  • Offered in various year durations, up to 12 years

Benefits in a nutshell

● Highly effective pregnancy prevention (>99 percent) (figure 1).

● Does not require regular adherence from user to maintain high effectiveness.

● Long acting.

● Rapidly reversible.

● Few medical contraindications for most women, including teens and nulliparous women. (See “Intrauterine contraception: Candidates and device selection”, section on ‘Contraindications’.)

● Few side effects.

● Private and does not interfere with the spontaneity of sex.

● Avoidance of exogenous estrogen (both IUD types) and hormones (copper IUD only).

● Reduced costs with long-term use.

● Reduced risk of cervical cancer – A meta-analysis of 16 studies assessing the incidence of cervical cancer in IUD users reported that women with any history of IUD use were approximately 30 percent less likely to develop cervical cancer (summary odds ratio 0.64, 95% CI 0.53-0.77) [32]. The proposed mechanism is an altered immune response resulting from device insertion and presence [33,34]. This finding may be particularly relevant for women who have not received the human papillomavirus vaccine or who have limited access to cervical cancer screening. It is not yet known if the type of device further influences the reduction in cervical cancer risk.

Source: UpToDate.com

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