Intrauterine Device (IUD)

The IUD is a t-shaped piece of plastic that is inserted in the uterus to inhibit the way sperm can move and prevent them from fertilizing an egg. There are two types: hormonal and non-hormonal. The hormonal type contains levonorgestrel which thickens cervical mucous, and thins the uterine lining. The non-hormonal type contains copper which is deadly or toxic to sperm. They offer years of protection—between three and ten, depending on the type. They are reversible, meaning that they can be removed at any time, allowing a woman the opportunity to get pregnant. The copper IUD is also an effective method of emergency contraception if placed up to 5 days after vaginal sex.


It’s one of the most effective methods (99.9%), long-lasting and reversible.  This means that statistically less than 1 out of every 100 users will get pregnant using this method in the first year (Cason P, Cwiak C, Edelman A, et al.  Contraceptive Technology, 22nd Edition.  Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning, 2023.)


The IUD can stay in the body for 3 years (Skyla®), 5 years (Kyleena®), 8 years (Mirena® and Liletta® or 10 years (ParaGard®). With Medicaid they are usually free, or cost a small co-pay.  With insurance the usual cost is the co-pay.  Without insurance, the cost is typically $450 to $550, the equivalent of just $4-22 a month. There may be an additional fee to insert or remove them.


Talk with your doctor to make sure the IUD is right for you.

The IUD can be inserted any time of the month, when pregnancy is ruled out. It’s inserted at the doctor’s office or clinic. It is common to feel some cramps after insertion; which subside with rest or pain medication. Some women might feel dizzy immediately after it is placed. Once the IUD is in, there is a little string that hangs down into the vagina. No strings can be seen outside the vagina. It’s there so that the IUD can be removed later. After it’s in, check the string ends from time to time to make sure it’s in place.

Side effects

Spotting between periods (especially during the first few months), increased period flow (for users of the ParaGard® brand), cramps, backaches, possible infections, and in rare cases uterine perforation or pregnancy complications.

Contra IUD

effective (Cason, et al., 2023)