Intrauterine device (IUD)

An IUD is a small T-shaped plastic and copper device that’s put into your womb (uterus) by a doctor or nurse.

It releases copper to stop you getting pregnant, and protects against pregnancy for between 5 and 10 years. It’s sometimes called a “coil” or “copper coil”.

Having an IUD fitted

An IUD can be fitted at any time during your menstrual cycle, as long as you’re not pregnant. You’ll be protected against pregnancy straight away.

Before your IUD is fitted, a GP or nurse will check inside your vagina to check the position and size of your womb. You may be tested for any existing infections, such as STIs, and be given antibiotics.

The appointment takes about 20 to 30 minutes, and fitting the IUD should take no longer than 5 minutes:

Having an IUD fitted can be uncomfortable, but you can have a local anaesthetic to help. Discuss this with your GP or nurse beforehand.

You may get period-type cramps afterwards, but painkillers can ease the cramps. You may also bleed for a few days after having an IUD fitted.

Once an IUD has been fitted, it’ll need to be checked by a GP after 3 to 6 weeks to make sure everything is fine. Tell the GP if you have any problems after this initial check or if you want the IUD removed.

See a GP if you or your partner are at risk of getting an STI, as this can lead to an infection in the pelvis.

You may have an infection if you:

  • have pain in your lower abdomen
  • have a high temperature
  • have a smelly discharge

Intrauterine system (IUS)

An IUS is a small, T-shaped plastic device that’s put into your womb (uterus) by a doctor or nurse.

It releases the hormone progestogen to stop you getting pregnant and lasts for 3 to 5 years.

Two brands of IUS are used in the UK: Mirena and Jaydess.

Having an IUS fitted

An IUS can be fitted any time in your menstrual cycle, as long as you’re not pregnant.

If it’s fitted in the first 7 days of your cycle, you’ll be protected against pregnancy straight away.

If it’s fitted at any other time, use additional contraception, such as condoms, for 7 days afterwards.

Before your IUS is fitted, a GP or nurse will check inside your vagina to check the position and size of your womb.

You may be tested for any existing infections, such as STIs, and be given antibiotics.

The appointment takes about 15 to 20 minutes, and fitting the IUS should take no long than 5 minutes:

Having an IUS fitted can be uncomfortable, but you can have a local anaesthetic to help. Discuss this with a GP or nurse beforehand.

You may also get period-type cramps afterwards, but painkillers can ease the cramps.

Once an IUS is fitted, it’ll need to be checked by a GP after 3 to 6 weeks to make sure everything is fine.

Tell the GP if you have any problems after this initial check or you want to have it removed.

See a GP if you or your partner are at risk of getting an STI, as this can lead to infection in the pelvis.

You may have an infection if you have:

  • pain in your lower abdomen
  • a high temperature
  • smelly discharge