Birth Control: Family Planning Using Intrauterine Device (IUD)

Intra-Uterine Contraceptive Device (IUCD) - DoctorOnCall

What Is An IUD?

An IUD (or sometimes called a coil) is a small, T-shaped, plastic and copper device that is inserted into the womb (uterus) by a specially trained doctor or nurse.

How Does An IUD Work?

An IUD starts working immediately after it is inserted into the womb. It can:

• Stop sperm from reaching the egg by preventing the sperm from surviving in the cervix, womb or fallopian tubes

• Prevent a fertilized egg from implanting in the womb. 

There are different types and sizes of IUDs; some IUDs contain more copper and are therefore more effective. Your doctor or nurse will examine the position and size of your uterus before deciding and fitting an IUD for you. 

An IUD can be left inside the womb for 5–10 years to avoid pregnancy or can be removed at any time if a pregnancy is desired. It may also be left in the womb until menopause if a woman is at the age of 40 years or older when it is fitted.

How Effective Is An IUD?

An IUD is a very effective, long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) method. However, the IUD does not offer protection against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs); therefore, condoms may also be required during sexual intercourse if one is at high risk of an STD. An IUD can also be used as emergency contraception, in which it can be fitted up to 5 days after sex, or up to 5 days after the earliest time an egg could have been released (also known as ovulation).

Ask your healthcare provider if you want to know if the IUD is suitable for you.

*The free doctor consult initiative is supported and fully funded by DoctorOnCall