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Intrauterine Device

Medically reviewed by Last updated on Jun 5, 2024.

What is an intrauterine device (IUD)?

An 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.

Female Reproductive System

What are the most common types of IUDs?

Your healthcare provider will recommend the type of IUD that is right for you. This is based on your age and if you have had a child. If you have not had a child, a smaller IUD will be used.

Types of IUDs

What are the advantages of an IUD?

What are the disadvantages of an IUD?

How is the IUD inserted?

How can I make sure my IUD is still in place?

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

Where can I find more information?

When should I seek immediate care?

When should I call my doctor?

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.