IUD / IUS

Intrauterine System – IUS/Coil

The IUS is a method of Long Acting Reversible contraception LARC.

A doctor or nurse will insert a small, T-shaped plastic device, which is a similar size to a match, into the uterus. The IUS then releases progestogen into the womb and also thickens cervix mucus and thins the lining of the womb, to prevent pregnancy. In some women, it can also prevent ovulation although this is not the case for most.

Advantages

  • Over 99% effective.
  • Works for 3 or 5 years depending on the brand used.
  • Doesn’t interrupt sex.
  • Periods will usually become much lighter and shorter and sometimes less painful. They may even stop completely after the first year of use.
  • Suitable for women who can’t take oestrogen contraception.
  • Fertility will return to normal once the IUS is removed.
  • The IUS is not affected by other medicines.

Disadvantages

  • It is possible that your uterus may push out the IUS. Although uncommon, this is why the nurse or doctor will show you how to check your IUS threads.
  • May cause discomfort and cramping for the first few days.
  • An IUS does not protect you from sexually transmitted infections, so you will need to use condoms as well.
  • The IUS does not increase your risk of an STI but if you get one while the IUS is in place this could lead to a pelvic infection if not treated.

Intrauterine Device – IUD/Coil

The IUD is another method of Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC). Similarly to the IUS, a  small plastic device is put into the uterus but the difference is that this method of contraception is uses copper in the coil and is completely hormone-free.

The IUD releases copper into the body to protect against pregnancy. It can be used for 5-10 years and is occasionally referred to as a “coil” or “copper coil”.

Advantages

  • Over 99% effective.
  • Starts to work as soon as it is fitted.
  • Can be fitted for emergency contraception up to five days after unprotected sex.
  • Can stay in place for 5 – 10 years.
  • You don’t have to think about contraception whilst it is in place.
  • Fertility will return to normal once the coil is removed.
  • Not affected by other medicines.

Disadvantages

  • It is possible that your uterus may push out the IUD. Although uncommon, this is why the nurse or doctor will show you how to check your IUD threads.
  • Periods may be heavier or longer and more painful.
  • May cause discomfort and cramping for the first few days.
  • An IUD does not protect you from sexually transmitted infections, so you will need to use condoms as well.
  • The IUD does not increase your risk of an STI but if you get one while the IUD is in place this could lead to a pelvic infection if not treated.
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