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  • Writer's pictureGrace Health

Everything You Need to Know About IUDs: A Comprehensive Guide

If you're looking for a highly effective, long-term birth control option that requires very little input from you, an intrauterine device (IUD) could be the perfect solution. But with so many types of IUDs on the market and plenty of misconceptions surrounding them, it can be tough to know where to start. That's why we've put together this comprehensive guide to everything you need to know about IUDs. From the different types available, how they work, to what you can expect during and after insertion. So whether you're considering an IUD for the first time or just looking to learn more, read on to get the full scoop on this popular birth control option.

Everything you need to know about IUD

In this article:

Types of IUDs:

There are several types of IUDs available, this includes:

  1. Mirena: a hormonal IUD that can last up to 7 years

  2. Skyla: a hormonal IUD that can last up to 3 years

  3. Kyleena: a hormonal IUD that can last up to 5 years

  4. Liletta: a hormonal IUD that can last up to 7 years

  5. Paragard: a non-hormonal IUD that can last up to 10 years

How do IUDs work?

IUDs work by preventing fertilization, or the meeting of an egg and sperm.

Hormonal IUDs work by thickening the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching the egg. They can also prevent ovulation in some cases.

Non-hormonal IUDs work by creating an environment in the uterus that is toxic to sperm, preventing fertilization.

Benefits of IUDs

IUDs are a highly effective form of birth control, with a failure rate of less than 1%. They are also long-lasting, meaning you don't have to worry about changing or upgrading for several years. IUDs are also reversible, meaning you can have them removed at any time if you decide you want to get pregnant.

Risks and Side Effects

While IUDs are generally safe and well-tolerated, they come with risks and side effects. Some women may experience cramping or spotting after insertion, while others may experience heavier or longer periods. In rare cases, IUDs can become displaced or perforate the uterus. Hormonal IUDs may also cause side effects such as acne, mood changes, or decreased libido.

Insertion and Removal

Insertion and removal of an IUD should always be done by a healthcare provider. The procedure is quick and usually only takes a few minutes. During insertion, you may experience some cramping or discomfort, but this usually subsides quickly. Removal is also quick and generally painless.

What Else Should I Know About IUDs?

  • IUDs are more effective than birth control pills: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the typical failure rate for birth control pills is around 7%. By comparison, the failure rate for IUDs is less than 1%.

  • IUDs can be used as emergency contraception: If you have unprotected sex and want to prevent pregnancy, you can have an IUD inserted up to 5 days after intercourse to prevent implantation of a fertilized egg.

  • IUDs do not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs): While IUDs are highly effective at preventing pregnancy, they do not provide any protection against STIs. It's important to use condoms or other barrier methods in addition to an IUD if you are at risk for STIs.

  • IUDs can be expensive upfront: While IUDs are cost-effective in the long run, they can be expensive upfront. However, many insurance plans cover the cost of IUDs, and some clinics offer reduced-cost or free IUDs for low-income patients.

  • IUDs do not affect future fertility: Once an IUD is removed, fertility usually returns quickly. Some women may even become pregnant during the first cycle after removal.


In conclusion, IUDs are a safe and effective form of long-term birth control that are worth considering if you're looking for a low-maintenance option. With several types of IUDs available, it's important to talk to your healthcare provider to determine which is right for you. While IUDs do come with some risks and side effects, most women find that the benefits outweigh the drawbacks. If you're considering an IUD, don't hesitate to talk to your healthcare provider to learn more.

Stay informed, stay in control What else would you like to learn about IUDs?

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Lamb Herman
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IUDs are also reversible, meaning you can have them removed at any time if you decide you want to get pregnant

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