Deciding about an IUD


An intrauterine device (IUD) is a small, plastic, T-shaped device used for birth control. It is inserted into the uterus where it stays to prevent pregnancy.

Alternative names

Contraception - IUD; Birth control - IUD; Intrauterine - deciding

Types of IUDs

You have choices for what type of IUD to have. Talk with your health care provider about which type may be best for you.

Copper-releasing IUDs:

Progestin-releasing IUDs:

How IUDs work

Both types of IUDs prevent sperm from fertilizing an egg.

Progestin-releasing IUDs also works by:

Pros and cons

IUDs have certain benefits.

There are also downsides.

IUDs do not appear to increase the risk for pelvic infection. They also do not affect fertility or increase the risk for infertility. Once an IUD is removed, fertility is restored.

Things to think about

You may want to consider an IUD if you:

You should not consider an IUD if you:


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Hormonal IUD. Association of Reproductive Health Professionals. Accessed November 29, 2016.

Morbidity and mortality weekly report (MMWR). Centers of Diseases Control and Prevention. Updated June 20, 2013. Accessed November 29, 2016.

Rivlin K, Westhoff C. Family planning. In: Lobo RA, Gershenson DM, Lentz GM, Valea FA, eds. Comprehensive Gynecology. 7th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2017:chap 13.

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Review Date: 11/11/2016
Reviewed By: Irina Burd, MD, PhD, Associate Professor of Gynecology and Obstetrics at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine, Baltimore, MD. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, Brenda Conaway, Editorial Director, and the A.D.A.M. Editorial team.
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