Iuds And All You Should Know About It

Iuds And All You Should Know About It

An IUD a small plastic, t-shaped and flexible device that is put into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. It is a common and effective contraceptive. An IUD can be used for the long term and removed when there is no need for it or when it is expired.

What does IUD mean?

An IUD (intrauterine device) is also called an IUC (intrauterine contraception).

What are the types of IUDs?

There are 5 brands of IUDs in the UK that are approved for use. They include

  • Mirena
  • Kyleena
  • Liletta
  • Skyla
  • Paragard

These five brands are divided into 2 types namely

  • Copper IUDs (Paragard)

Paragard does not release any hormone but is wrapped in a tiny piece of copper that can prevent pregnancy for up to 12 years

  • Hormonal IUDs (Mirena, Skyla, Kyleena, and Liletta)

Mirena, Skyla, Kyleena, and Liletta release a hormone called progestin to prevent pregnancy. Progestin is a synthetic hormone that acts as the natural progesterone hormone.

Mirena can prevent pregnancy for up to 7 years, Kyleena for 5 years, Liletta for 7 years while the Skyla IUD works for up to 3 years.

How do IUDs work?

Copper and hormonal IUDs prevent pregnancy by altering the movement of the sperm cells, so they do not get to the egg. If the sperm cannot get to the egg, there will be no fertilisation that can lead to pregnancy.

The hormonal IUDs prevent pregnancy in 2 ways

  • They thicken the mucus that lines the cervix. This traps and blocks the sperm before it gets to the egg.
  • Sometimes, the hormones prevent ovulation by stopping the release of the eggs from the ovaries. If there is no egg to be fertilised, pregnancy cannot occur.

IUDs can last for years, but they are not permanent. If at any time, you decide to get pregnant or you do not want the IUD anymore, you can quickly and easily remove it, and you would be able to get pregnant after the IUD is removed.

Can IUDs be used as an emergency?

Some IUDs can be used as emergency contraception like the Paragard (copper) IUD. If it is put in within 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected sex, it can be more than 99.9% effective. It is the most effective way to prevent pregnancy after sex.

Another great thing about copper IUD is that it’s not only an emergency contraceptive, but it can stay in place for up to 12 years and will be effective throughout the years.

The morning-after-pill is another kind of emergency contraception. It can be used 5 days after having unprotected sex to reduce the risk of pregnancy.

Effectiveness of IUDs

IUDs are very effective as a birth control measure and as an emergency contraception

How effective are IUDs for birth control?

Using IUDsare one of the most effective birth control methods, and they are more than 99% effective. It means that less than 1/100 persons get pregnant using an IUD each year.

IUDs are effective because there is no avenue for making mistakes. You cannot forget to take it as a pill or misuse it like in using a condom. You are also protected from getting pregnant at every time for the years it is in your uterus. Once the IUD is in the uterus, you can forget about it until it expires. It's important to note the date of expiration so you can get a new one before it expires.

How effective are copper IUDs as emergency contraception?

The Paragard (copper) IUD is currently the most effective method of emergency contraception. If the IUD device is inserted within 120 hours (5 days) after having unprotected sex, it is more than 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. Once the doctor has placed the device, it can prevent pregnancy for up to 12 years.

Do IUDs protect against STDs?

IUDs do not protect against STDs. When an IUD is in place, using condoms during sex can lower the chances of contracting or spreading an STD.

How can I get an IUD?

You can get an IUD from your gynaecology clinic, planned parenthood health centre or any nurse or doctor. You may be able to get it at little or no cost.

How much does an IUD cost?

An IUD varies in price and costsbetween £0 - £1000. The cost of getting an IUD has a wide range but you can get it for free with some government programs or your health insurance coverage.

The cost of getting an IUD also depends on the kind you get. The cost of getting an IUD covers the medical exam, fitting the IUD and follow-up visits. Sometimes, paying for an IUD upfront may be more expensive than other birth control options but you will end up saving more in the long run because it lasts for years.

If you are worried about the cost of getting an IUD, check with the government organisations around you that fit the IUD within your budget.

Can I get an IUD for free or at a low cost?

There is a possibility that you can get an IUD for free or at a reduced cost if you have health insurance because most insurance plans cover birth controls, including IUDs.However, some plans do not cover all brands of IUDs. Your health insurance provider will let you know the brands your insurance plan covers. Your doctor may also help you get a birth control method that your health insurance covers.

If you are not covered by a health insurance plan, there are still other options. You can get an IUD at little or no cost from some government organisations that render birth control services.

Planned parenthood is available to provide you with the birth control services you need whether or not you have health insurance. Most planned parenthood centres accept health insurance and charge less for birth control services depending on your income. 

Where do I get an IUD?

You can get an IUD at a gynaecology clinic, family planning clinic or your local planned parenthood centre. A doctor, or health care provider can fit in an IUD for you.

What is an IUD insertion like?

A doctor or nurse will put the device into your uterus through your vagina. Some people feel pains after the insertion, but it doesn’t last for long. Over-the-counter pain killers can easily alleviate the pain.

How is an IUD inserted?

The doctor or nurse carrying out the insertion will first ask you questions about your medical history. They will examine your vagina, cervix, and uterus. They may also ask you to perform for STD tests.

Before inserting the IUD, the doctor or nurse may give you a medication to help open and numb your cervix. The doctor will make use a speculum to open your vagina and special inserter to put the IUD into your uterus through the opening of your cervix. The process usually takes less than 5 minutes.

An IUD can be inserted during any stage of your menstrual cycle. You can get one immediately after childbirth or an abortion.

How does getting an IUD feel?

Some people feel cramps or pain when getting their IUD fitted. The pain gets worse for some people after the insertion while it gets better for some others. Your doctor may prescribe a few medications for you before the fitting to help prevent the cramps and pain. Your doctor may also inject a local numbing medicine around your cervix to make you feel more comfortable.

Some other persons feel dizzy during the night after their IUD insertion. There is also a small chance of fainting. You can ask someone to accompany you to the appointment, so you do not have to drive or go home alone.

What can I expect after an IUD?

A lot of persons feel perfectly fine after an IUD insertion, but few people feel cramps, backaches, and headache right after. If you observe any of the outlined symptoms, it's important you rest and take a pain relief medication to ease off the cramps.You may experience spotting after getting your IUD but this always stops within 3 – 6 months. Hormonal IUDs are found effective in making your periods lighter and less painful. In some cases, hormonal IUDs stop periods.

Copper IUDs, on the other hand,  can make your periods heavier and increase cramps. For some people, this may subside after a few months. If your IUD causes you pain discomfort and other side effects, contact your doctor.

After your IUD insertion, a string of about 1 – 2 inches will come out of your cervix into the top of your vagina. There’s no need to be worried about the string because you will not feel it. The string is there so that it can be used to remove your IUD when you want it to be removed or when it expires. You should be able to feel the string by inserting your fingers into your vagina and reaching upwards into your cervix. Do not tug on the string because you may move the IUD out of place or pull it out.

There is a little probability that your IUD will slip out of place. This can happen any time, especially during your periods in the first three months of insertion. Always check your pad, tampons, or cup to see if it fell out.

If your IUD falls out, you will not be protected from getting pregnant so make sure you get an alternative birth control immediately and make sure you see your doctor.Remember to note when you got your IUD, probably write it down somewhere so you will know when it needs to be replaced.

ParagardIUDs should be replaced after 12 years. Mirena should be replaced after 7 years. Kyleena after 5 years. Liletta after 7 years and Skyla should be replaced after 3 years.

How soon can I have sex after getting an IUD?

You can have sex right after getting an IUD. You might need to use alternative birth control like condoms until the IUD starts working. Your protection after getting an IUD depends on the type you had inserted.

A Paragard IUD helps to prevent pregnancy as soon as it is in place while the hormonal IUDs (Mirena, Liletta,Kyleena,  and Skyla) only prevents pregnancy right after their insertion if you put it in during the first seven days of your period. If you get a hormonal IUD during any other time in your cycle, you will be protected after 7 days.

How safe are IUDs?

IUDs are usually very safe for most people. You can find out if an IUD is right for you with the information below.

Can I get an IUD?

Most people can use IUDs, but there are a few conditions that may cause severe side effects and complications if an IUD is inserted. Do ensure you talk to your doctor if you have any condition you are concerned about before getting an IUD.

You may not be able to get an IUD if

  • You have certain STDs or pelvic infections
  • You have cancer that hasn’t been treated
  • You think you are pregnant
  • You have had pelvic infection after childbirth or an abortion in the past 3 months
  • You have cancer of the uterus

If you are allergic to copper, you have a bleeding disorder or Wilson’s disease, you shouldn’t get a Paragard IUD. Breast cancer patients are advised not to get a hormonal IUD.

Sometimes the shape or size of the uterus affects the placement of an IUD and makes it difficult for the IUD to stay in place. If you have atroubling health condition that rules out the use of IUD, there are other birth controls available that you can try out.

What are the risks of an IUD?

There are certain risks associated with IUDs,but they are rarely serious. The device may slip out of the uterus coming all the way out or just a little bit. If this occurs, you can get pregnant and the device has to be removed.It is possible to get pregnant, but this is extremely unlikely to happen but if it happens, you need to remove the IUD immediately you find out. If your IUD is in place, and you get pregnant, it increases the risk of ectopic pregnancy and other serious health problems.

You might also get an infection with the IUD inside the uterus. If the infection is left untreated, it may affect your chances of conceiving in the future.

When the IUD is inserted, it could push through the walls of the uterus. This may sound quite painful, but it doesn't hurt. You will need surgery to remove the IUD.

What warning signs should I look out for?

There is a very high tendency that you will have no problems with your IUD but it is very necessary for you to pay attention to your body and possible changes that you will feel after you get your IUD. Here are a few warning signs you should look out for and contact your doctor immediately you notice them.

  • You feel the hard plastic bottom of the IUD coming out through your cervix
  • You bleed or experience pain after sex
  • Your vaginal discharge is different
  • The length of your IUD string feel shorter or longer than it was
  • You think you are pregnant
  • You have heavier vaginal bleeding than usual.
  • You experience unexplained chills, fever or trouble breathing
  • You have severe cramping, pain or soreness in your lower belly or stomach

You have unprotected sex with someone that has an STD; an IUD will not prevent you from getting the STD.

Is it safe to use an IUD while breastfeeding?

You can use an IUD while breastfeeding. It would not have any effect on how much milk you produce, and it will not hurt the baby. Using an IUD is an excellent method to prevent pregnancy while breastfeeding.


What are the benefits of an IUD?

There are several benefits of using an IUD. Some of the benefits are as follow.

  • IUDs are very effective

IUDs are long-term contraception that has more than 99% effectiveness in preventing pregnancy. They work as well as sterilisation and birth control implants. They are one of the best ways to prevent pregnancy because you cannot forget to take them as pills or misuse them like condoms.

  • IUDs are convenient

Once they are properly fitted, you don’t have to worry about them. It works effectively until it expires or you want to take it out. This means that you do not have to go to the pharmacy, take pills or do anything to prevent pregnancy before sex. You can be protected from getting pregnant for 3 – 13 years, depending on the brand you use.

  • You can conceive after taking out an IUD

IUDs are reversible, and if you decide to get pregnant at any time, all you have to do is see your doctor take it out. IUDs will not affect your fertility in any way. It is possible to get pregnant as soon as you take it out.

  • IUDs can make your periods feel better

Hormonal IUDs can reduce cramps during periods and make the periods lighter. Hormonal IUDs stops periods in some people. They can be used to help treat people who experience severe cramps, anaemia, and heavy periods.

  • The copper IUDs do not have hormones

Some people do not like to use hormonal birth controls or cannot use hormonal birth controls because of some health conditions. Paragard IUD is very effective at preventing pregnancy, and it does not use hormones.

  • Copper IUDs can be used as an emergency contraception

Paragard IUDs are the tested and most effective form of emergency contraception if it is inserted within 120 hours (5 days) of having unprotected sex. Its effectiveness is over 99%, and it can prevent pregnancy for up to 12 years.


What are the disadvantages of IUDs?

Several people have laid claims to experience side effects after getting an IUD but these side effects usually stop after a few months when the body gets used to the device in the uterus and are rarely serious.

Side effects of IUDs

Common side effects of using IUDs include

  • Pain when inserting the device
  • Irregular periods
  • Spotting between periods
  • Heavy periods and worse menstrual cramps for Paragard
  • Cramps and backaches for a few days

Pain medications are usually sufficient to take care of the cramping and pain. If bleeding or cramping gets worse with time, contact your doctor immediately.

IUDs do not protect against STDs

IUDs are arguably the best way to prevent pregnancy, but they do not protect against STIs and STDs. Using condoms during every sexual intercourse can reduce the chances of getting an STI or STD.

How is an IUD removed?

An IUD can effectively protect you from pregnancy for 3 – 5 years but the doctor can take it out at any time you want it to be taken out. Removing an IUD is a simple procedure.

How will it feel to remove my IUD?

Your health care provider will gently pull the string, and the IUD’s arms will fold up as it slips out. You may feel a little cramping for a minute as the IUD slips out.

If your IUD does not come out easily, your doctor or nurse will have to use a special medical instrument to remove it or surgery may be needed, but this rarely happens.

When should I remove my IUD?

You can remove your IUD at any time you want. If the IUD is expired, you will have to remove it and replace it with a new one.

  • Paragard should be replaced after 12 years
  • Mirena and Liletta should be replaced after 7 years
  • Kyleena should be replaced after 5 years
  • Skyla should be replaced after 3 years

What should I expect after I remove my IUD?

You should feel comfortable and normal after you remove your IUD. You may experience spotting. If you do not use hormonal birth control after removing your IUD, your period will go back to normal.

How soon can I get pregnant after I remove my IUD?

Your fertility will be back to normal after you remove your IUD so you can get pregnant right away.

You can get your IUD inserted or removed at Gynae Clinic London by an expert gynaecologist. Call us today on 020 71831049 or send an email via [email protected] to book an appointment.

Gynae Clinic is a website designed to inform our patients about gynaecological services delivered at Medical Express Clinic at 117a Harley Street. In the event that patients are seen by a clinician, this will be arranged at Medical Express Clinic which is registered in the United Kingdom with the Care Quality Commission to provide healthcare services.