Intrauterine Device Insertion

An intrauterine device (IUD) is a type of temporary birth control for women. It is inserted by a doctor. There are two types of IUDs: Both devices are shaped like a letter “T” with a tiny string attached. When the device is removed, most women can become pregnant again.

  • Call Your Doctor

    After arriving home, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:

    • Notice change in the length of the strings
    • Cannot feel the strings with your fingers
    • Feel the "T" part of the IUD passing through your cervix
    • Think you may be pregnant
    • Heavy periods or periods that last longer than usual
    • Missed, late, or unusually light period
    • You or your partner have or are exposed to a sexually transmitted disease
    • Severe cramps, pain, or tenderness in your abdomen
    • Pain or bleeding during sex
    • Unexplained fever or chills
    • Flu-like symptoms, like muscle aches or tiredness
    • Unusual discharge from the vagina or sores on your genitals
    • Unexplained vaginal bleeding
    • Severe headaches

    • Rapid heartbeat

  • Definition

    An intrauterine device (IUD) is a type of temporary birth control for women. It is inserted by a doctor.

    There are two types of IUDs:

    • Hormone-releasing—releases the hormone progestin. Can be left in the body for five years before it needs to be replaced.
    • Copper—releases copper ions. Can be left inside the body for 10 years.
    Intrauterine Device
    IMAGE
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

    Both devices are shaped like a letter “T” with a tiny string attached. When the device is removed, most women can become pregnant again.

  • What to Expect

  • Reasons for Procedure

    This procedure is done to prevent pregnancy. It does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases. The hormone-releasing IUD may also have other benefits, such as treating:

    • Heavy menstrual bleeding
    • Pelvic pain
    • Endometrial hyperplasia

  • Possible Complications

    Serious complications are rare, but no procedure is completely free of risk. Your doctor will review a list of possible complications, including:

    • Cramping
    • Abnormal bleeding and increased spotting for a few months

    • Irregular or
      no menstrual period
      (hormone-releasing IUD)
    • Heavier menstrual periods (copper IUD)
    • Pain when menstruating
    • IUD can slip out of the uterus or vagina
    • Infertility
    • Pelvic infection
    • Damage to the uterus or other pelvic organs


    Even with an IUD inserted, there is a chance that you can still get pregnant. If so, there is a possibility of an
    ectopic pregnancy
    . This happens when the fetus develops outside the uterus. Other possibilities include miscarriage, premature labor, or delivery.

    An IUD is not for every woman. Certain things would make a woman a poor candidate for IUD insertion, such as :

    • Pregnancy
    • Vaginal bleeding of unknown cause
    • Deformed uterus
    • History of ectopic pregnancy
    • History of pelvic infection after childbirth or after an abortion in the last three months

    • History of
      pelvic inflammatory disease
      , unless there has been a normal pregnancy since then
    • Sexually transmitted disease or other infection in the pelvic area
    • Increased risk of pelvic infections
    • Cervical
      or
      uterine
      cancer

    • Liver disease or
      liver cancer
      (for the hormone-releasing IUD)
    • Breast cancer
      (for the hormone-releasing IUD)
    • Allergy to copper (for the copper IUD)
    • Wilson’s disease
      (for the copper IUD)

    Discuss these risks with your doctor before the IUD insertion.