What is an IUD?

 

The IUD (Intrauterine Device), a small T-shaped device (no larger than 32 mm x 36 mm), is inserted into the uterus by a healthcare provider to prevent pregnancy.[i]  IUDs are categorized as long-acting reversible contraceptive methods (LARCs).[ii] There are three different types of IUDs in the U.S.:

The Copper IUD
     Mirena

 

Skyla

The Copper IUD, known as ParaGard, can stay in place for up to 10 years.[iii]

 

Two types of hormonal IUDs, known as Mirena or Skyla, can stay in place for up to 5 or 3 years,[iv] respectively. These IUDs continuously release a small amount of progestin (Levonorgestrel) to prevent pregnancy.[v]


(Photos courtesy of Love My LARC)

[i] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Intrauterine Devices – Contraception – Reproductive Health” [website].  Accessed at: http://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/unintendedpregnancy/contraception.htm

[ii] Reproductive Health Access Project, ‘IUD Facts’. Accessed from: http://www.reproductiveaccess.org/fact_sheets/iud_facts.htm

[iii] World Health Organization Special Program of Research Development and Research Training in Human Reproduction. Long-term contraception. Twelve years of experience with the TCu380A and TCu220C. Contraception. 1997;56:341-352. In Hatcher RA, Trussell J, Nelson A, Cates Jr., W, Kowal, D, Policar, M, Contraceptive Technology: Twentieth Revised Edition. New York NY: Ardent Media, 2011, pg.149, 184.

[iv] Hatcher RA, Trussell J, Nelson A, Cates Jr., W, Kowal, D, Policar, M, Contraceptive Technology: Twentieth Revised Edition. New York NY: Ardent Media, 2011, pg.149, 184.

[v] Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. “Intrauterine Devices – Contraception – Reproductive Health” [website].  Accessed at: http://www.cdc.gov/reproductivehealth/unintendedpregnancy/contraception.htm