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What is the IUD?

The IUD or Intra-Uterine Device (sometimes known as ‘the coil’) is a small plastic and copper device which is put into the womb (uterus) for contraception.

How does the IUD work?

  • It stops sperm reaching an egg
  • It may also stop a fertilised egg implanting in the womb (uterus).

The IUD is one of the LARC methods.  LARC stands for Long Acting Reversible Contraception.  The LARC methods are the most effective form of contraception available. You do not have to remember them every day.

Are there any advantages to the IUD?

  • It works as soon as it is fitted.
  • It can stay in 5–10 years depending on type, but can be taken out at any time.
  • You don’t have to think about contraception for as long as the IUD is in place.
  • When the IUD is removed your fertility will return to normal.
  • It provides very effective contraception.
  • It may be used as emergency contraception.

Are there any disadvantages or risks to the IUD?

  • Periods may be heavier or longer and more painful.
  • There is a very small chance of getting an infection during the first 20 days after insertion.
  • There is a small chance that the IUD can fall out after it has been fitted.
  • Insertion can be uncomfortable.

Further Information about the IUD

  • If it is fitted after 40 it can stay in place until the menopause
  • Women are taught to check the IUD is in place
  • A check for STIs is usually advised before an IUD is put in
  • It is not affected by other medicines.

For more information about the advantages, disadvantages and risks of the IUD you may want to read this leaflet.

Where can I get an IUD fitted?

You can get an IUD fitted at the following places:

  •  your GP (if there is someone at your practice who fits them)
  • Unity Sexual Health
  • Brook (if you are under 20 years)
  • WISH (Weston Integrated Sexual Health Services).

If you do decide to have an IUD fitted please read our leaflet “Practical advice before you have an IUD fitted” to give you helpful tips on how to make the procedure run as smoothly as possible.

It would be helpful if you completed a brief self-assessment to make sure that you are adequately prepared for the procedure. You may wish to print off this form and bring it with you to your appointment.

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