What You Should Know Before Choosing IUD as Your Contraceptive

Gone are the days when preventing pregnancy was a thing of concern. There are several available options when it comes to preventing pregnancy. Some contraceptivesmay be more effective than others, and some others offer long term protection against pregnancy.

Amongst these available contraceptives are IUDs. IUDs are quite popular and effective, but there are a lot of misconceptions about IUDs. If you have decided to get IUDs, there are several things you need to know about them.

What is an IUD?

IUDs (Intrauterine devices) are small devices in a T-shape which a healthcare provider inserts into the uterus through the vagina. The device remains in the uterus for a specific number of years and helps to prevent pregnancy. Some IUDs can prevent pregnancy for about 12 years if fitted correctly. If you decide to get pregnant before the IUD expires, you can ask your healthcare provider for coil removal.

Presently, IUDs are arguably the most effective contraceptive for both adolescents and adults. Although all methods of preventing pregnancy are effective, implants and IUDs are the only contraceptives you use and won’t need to worry about it for a long time.

IUDs are about 99% effective in preventing pregnancy, and most insurance providers offer payment for IUD placement.

It’s common for most persons to get scared or have concerns about getting IUDs because of the few risks associated with it like perforation or falling out of the device. Some other people fear that the insertion process might be painful, but IUDs are safe, and you would only feel a little discomfort during its placement.

Benefits of IUDs

IUDs offer several benefits that make them a better option to most of the other birth control methods.

It’s a one-time thing

After you place your IUD, you do not have to worry about it every day, unlike using other contraceptives like the pill where you might forget to take it at the same time daily or misuse it. Once you insert your IUD, you are protected until it expires, which usually takes a few years.


In terms of healthcare resources, IUDs are cost-effective as you only have to pay for its fitting once in a few years. If you get the copper IUD, it lasts you for about 12 years, so you do not have to spend on birth control for that long.

Very effective

IUDs provide long-term protection against pregnancy. Their effectiveness is more than 99%, and they serve as both birth control and sterilisation. Amongst all birth control options, they are the most effective. You can’t forget to take them or misuse them.


With IUDs, you do not need regular trips to the pharmacy, and you don’t have to do anything before having sex for 3 – 12 years depending on the type you get.

Better periods

IUDs that contain hormones usually make periods less painful and lighter. Some even stop periods and serve as a treatment for people who experience severe cramps and anaemia during their periods.

Suitable for people intolerant to synthetic hormones

People who do not tolerate synthetic hormones may find the copper IUDs a suitable form of contraception. Copper IUDs (Paragard) are very effective in preventing pregnancy and do not contain hormones.

Emergency contraceptive

Copper IUDs can serve as an emergency contraceptive when you have it inserted within the first 120 hours after unprotected sex, and it can remain in place, preventing pregnancy for up to 12 years.

Types of IUDs


This type of IUD is the only IUD that doesn’t contain copper. While in the uterus, the device releases copper which changes the uterine composition, making it difficult for the sperm to fertilise the egg.
The device is 32mm in width and 36mm in height, and it prevents pregnancy for about 12 years.


Mirena IUDs are a bit smaller than Paragard, and they release a synthetic hormone called progestin into the uterus which thickens the uterine walls, making it difficult for the sperm to meet and fertilise the egg.
Most women who use Minera have lighter periods, and about 25% of them do not have their periods.
It contains about 52g of progestin and can prevent pregnancy for about seven years. Horizontally and vertically, the device is 32mm.


Skyla IUDs are smaller than Mirena IUDs, and they also release progestin, but the dose is slightly higher than those released by Mirena. It contains a total of about 13.5mg of progestin and prevents pregnancy for about three years. The width of the device is 28mm while its height is 30mm.


Liletta is also a hormonal IUD. It releases progestin into the uterus and the bloodstream to prevent ovulation. It usually makes periods lighter and makes some women’s period cease. It contains 52mg of progestin and prevents pregnancy for about five years.


It is a new IUD and also releases progestin into the uterus. The device is smaller, and the insertion is less uncomfortable. The total amount of hormone it contains is 19.5mg, and it prevents pregnancy for about five years. Horizontally it is 28mm and vertically 30 mm.

Side effects of IUDs

IUDs have a few side effects, just like every other medication or medical treatment. One of the common side effects is heavy bleeding and irregular spotting within the first six months of insertion. After a while, periods may stop or become shorter.

Other side effects include bloating, pelvic cramping, and back pain after insertion, but this subsides after a few weeks or months. If you experience any of these, you can easily manage them.

Of all the side effects, uterine perforation is the most serious, but it rarely occurs. Uterine perforation occurs when the device punctures the uterine wall during insertion. If the IUD perforates the uterine wall during insertion, you would have to wait for about a week before you insert the IUD.
Generally, the possible side effects of IUDs tend to subside after a while, and this leaves you with enough time to enjoy its benefits.


Different types of IUDs are available, and they are very effective in preventing pregnancy. Most Ob-Gyns recommend IUDs because they are 99% effective in preventing pregnancy, but bear in mind that IUDs offer no protection against STDs.

For more information on IUDs contact Gynaecology Clinic or call on 020 7183 0435.