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Welcome to the comprehensive medical library of Joseph N. O’Donnell. The information shared below is provided to you as an educational and informational source only and is not intended to replace a medical examination or consultation, or medical advice given to you by a physician or medical professional.

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Birth Control: IUD (Intrauterine Device)Control de la natalidad: El dispositivo intrauterino

Birth Control: IUD (Intrauterine Device)


An intrauterine device (IUD) is a small T-shaped device. It is placed in the uterus by your healthcare provider. The IUD prevents pregnancy by changing the environment inside the uterus. There are 2 types of IUDs: Hormone-releasing IUDs and hormone-free IUDs. Your healthcare provider can talk to you about which type is best for you.

Pregnancy Rates

Talk to your healthcare provider about the effectiveness of this birth control method.

Using an IUD

  • Your IUD insertion is done in the healthcare provider's office.

  • Small strings allow you to check the device's position in the uterus. Check these strings each month after your period to be sure the device is in place.

  • Depending on which kind of IUD you have, it can stay in place for up to 5 years or up to 10 years.


  • Provides long-term, but reversible, birth control.

  • No interruption to sex.

  • Easy to use. Very little to remember to do.

  • Low pregnancy rate.

  • Can be easily removed by your healthcare provider.

  • Hormone-releasing IUDs may reduce heavy menstrual bleeding and cramping.


  • May cause side effects such as cramping, backache, spotting or bleeding, and longer, heavier periods.

  • Increased chance of tubal pregnancy if conception does occur.

  • Slight increase in chance of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) at time of insertion.

  • Does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STIs).

The IUD may not be for you if...

  • You have not had children and plan to have them in the near future.

  • You have had a tubal pregnancy, painful periods, or PID.

  • You have more than one sex partner.

  • You have a condition, such as fibroids, that changes the shape of your uterus.

Date Last Reviewed: 2006-03-15T00:00:00-06:00

Date Last Modified: 2009-03-25T00:00:00-06:00

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