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Intrauterine Device


An intrauterine device (IUD) is a type of birth control that is inserted into your uterus. It is a small, flexible piece of plastic with a string on the end. It is inserted and removed by your healthcare provider. IUDs prevent sperm from reaching or fertilizing an egg. IUDs also prevent a fertilized egg from attaching to the uterus and developing into a fetus.


Make sure your IUD is in place:

An IUD has a string that is made of plastic thread. One to 2 inches of this string hangs into your vagina. You cannot see this string, and it will not cause problems when you have sex. Check your IUD string every 3 days for the first 3 months that you have your IUD. After that, check the string after each monthly period. Do the following to check the placement of your IUD:

  • Wash your hands with soap and warm water. Dry them with a clean towel.
  • Bend your knees and squat low to the ground.
  • Gently put your index finger inside your vagina. The cervix is at the top of the vagina and feels like the tip of your nose. Feel for the IUD string. Do not pull on the string. You should not be able to feel the firm plastic of the IUD itself.
  • Wash your hands after you check your IUD string.

For more information:

  • Planned Parenthood Federation of America
    434 West 33rd St.
    New York City , NY 10001
    Phone: 1- 800 - 230-7526
    Web Address:

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • You think you are pregnant.
  • You bleed after you have sex.
  • You have pain during sex.
  • You cannot feel the IUD string, the string feels longer, or you feel the plastic of the IUD itself.
  • You have vaginal discharge that is green, yellow, or has a foul odor.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately if:

  • You have severe pain or bleeding during your period.
  • You have a fever and severe abdominal pain.

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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.