Prescription onlyMultiple hormones

IUD

No
Yes
Back to: Full Site NavigationSkip to: side effects sectionSkip to: Common concerns from users and pharmacists
5.8881188118811885IUD
Skip Upsides & Downsides section. Skip to side effects section.

Our bottom line

The "intrauterine device" is one of the most hassle-free and effective methods of birth control. It's a small plastic or copper device inserted inside your uterus, and lasts between 3-12 years, depending on type.

What’s the failure rate?
0.8%
of people using this method got pregnant in a year

Upsides

  • Once you get it, you don't have to worry about your birth control for up to 12 years – no need to remember to take it everyday.
  • Undetectable and won't get in the way of spontaneity.
  • The plastic IUD is progesterone-only and the copper IUD contains no hormones, which some women prefer.
  • Decreases flow and frequency of periods for most women, and can stop periods altogether.
  • Side effects are less serious and usually go away within 3-6 months once your body gets used to the device.
  • Helps with heavy periods, severe cramps and anemia.
  • One of the most effective methods for preventing pregnancy.
  • Safe to use while breastfeeding.
  • Fertility typically returns 4-6 months after removal of the plastic IUD and right away after removal of the copper IUD.
  • Since you don't have to do anything with it once it's inserted, every use is perfect use with an effective rate of over 99%.
  • The copper IUD can be used as emergency contraceptive if inserted within 120 hours or 5 days of sexual intercourse.

Downsides

  • Requires an appointment to have it inserted and taken out, and the procedures can be uncomfortable.
  • Not advised for women who get pelvic infections or other infections easily.
  • Increased irregular bleeding in the first 3-6 months.
  • Partner might feel the strings of the device, but they usually soften over time or can be trimmed.
  • Possibility of the device attaching or going through the uterus wall.
  • Expensive for people who don't have insurance or Medicaid.
  • Does not protect against STDs.
What do people say?
1010 reviews
Skip side effects section. Skip to common concerns.

Side effect rates for IUD

0 reports
These are side effects of IUD (All) reported to the FDA by people taking it, and by doctors and pharmacists.

Common concerns from people using IUD

Final section. Do you want to return to method navigation?
Pain
  • Paragard
    Extremely painful during insertion. Nurse erroneously told me most females don't feel anything during procedure and I didn't do my research. Went in without painkillers and thought I was going to die from the pain (I haven't given birth yet but I can't imagine it being worse). Felt sharp pain down one leg for a week. Use heated blanket after to ease cramping. Pain died after a month. Period got 2-3x more heavy.
  • Liletta
    Make sure you do your research, insertion IS painful. I don't recommend trying to complete a full, active day after. Rest helps a lot. But after a day or two you won't even remember it is there which is great for me. Also do your research and see what types of IUDs are available at the place you're going. Also see what their insertion policy is. For instance, my doctor wouldn't insert my IUD unless I was on my period.
  • Mirena
    Insertion can be painful for some. Take a pain killer beforehand. I was fine, but my sister had pain. Great thing is that I've not had a period in years!
Weight
  • Mirena
    Caused weight gain