IUD

Std Protection?
No
Failure rate
Covered by insurance?
Yes
Typical cost range
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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.

Quick facts about IUD
  • Method class: Intrauterine
  • Rx status: Prescription only
  • Generic status: No lower cost generic available
  • Hormone status: Multiple hormones
People’s experience with IUD

1010reviews so far. What do you think?

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

This method is ranked 4 out of 17 birth control methods listed. The lower the number, the better.Source

More birth control methods

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.
How it works

The IUD is a small T-shaped device inserted inside the uterus with a speculum and a special inserter. Once it's in there, the material or hormones of the IUD affects reproductive function for 3-12 years, depending on which one you get.

Quick facts about IUD
  • Method class: Intrauterine
  • Rx status: Prescription only
  • Generic status: No lower cost generic available
  • Hormone status: Multiple hormones
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?
Price
  • Worth it
    Low hassle
    Reviewed IUDon 10/16/2016The discomfort that some experience during the insertion lasts no more than 20 min and this method is GREAT for many years, so it's worth it for sure! Also, get through those first 3-6 months as those can be sometimes difficult but afterwards its totally amazing. I had an EXCELLENT experience with NO irregular bleeding or cramping after 1 month.
    24
    Woman
    Pregnancy prevention
Pain
  • Worth it
    Low hassle
    Reviewed Mirenaon 2/11/2017Insertion 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!
    33
    Woman
    Pregnancy prevention
  • Worth it
    Big hassle
    Reviewed Paragardon 3/19/2019Definitely take painkiller (I took two Advils) before insertion. It's not great (they had to dilate my cervix) but it is short and the rest of the day isn't worse than particularly bad period cramps. I stuck Paragard out for 8 months because I didn't want to deal with mood changes from hormones, but it increased my period flow at least 3x which became unmanageable (still extremely heavy at 8 months) and spotting days were also doubled.
    22
    Woman
    A year or so
    Pregnancy prevention
  • Worth it
    Low hassle
    Reviewed Mirenaon 4/19/2017Insertion moderately painful but over very quickly (<5min) and didn't hurt after the procedure at all. Removal was like pulling off a bandaid - yeowch! But only for a second. (Removed to try for a pregnancy.) Irregular bleeding for a few months that was light- then no periods, yay! I can't use most hormonal contraceptive because of other health problems I have but this was safe and effective. I would definitely do it again.
    34
    Woman
    Pregnancy prevention
Weight
  • Worth it
    Low hassle
    Reviewed Mirenaon 6/11/2019You still pls, you'll probably spot a bit here or there. Plus my chin broke out in bad acne due to hormones... But overall it didnt make me gain weight, or give me any "180-degrees" types of behavioral changes.
    24
    Woman
    Two years or more
    Pregnancy prevention
  • Worth it
    Some hassle
    Reviewed Mirenaon 1/27/2017Caused weight gain
    28
    Woman
    Pregnancy prevention