An IUD is a plastic “T” shaped device (about an inch and a half tall) that is placed inside a woman’s uterus. There are 2 types available—one with copper metal and one with progestin hormone. It is inserted during an office visit by a medical provider. The copper IUD lasts up to 10 years, and the hormone IUD lasts up to 5 years.
How does it work to prevent pregnancy?
The devices affect sperm so that the egg is not fertilized. The hormone IUD usually changes a female’s “periods”, with less bleeding over time.
How effective is it in preventing pregnancy?
Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are extremely effective. Typically, none or 1 of 100 couples will become pregnant in the first year.
How effective is it in preventing STDs?
This method is NOT AT ALL effective in preventing STDs or HIV. If a person has sex, condoms must also be used to reduce the risk of STDs and HIV.
Other Things to Know about IUDs:
- The couple does not have to remember to do something to prevent pregnancy
- The copper IUD lasts 10 years, and the hormone IUD lasts 5 years, unless they are removed sooner
- The woman must go to a doctor or clinic to receive an IUD
- The IUD must be inserted (and removed) by a health provider
- With the copper IUD, periods may be heavier or have more cramps
- With the hormone IUD, most females do not have regular monthly periods, but there is usually less bleeding
Acknowledgement: This fact sheet was adapted from PlannedParenthood.org, and BigDecisions.org, websites that provide education about reproductive and sexual health.
Special Thanks: Melissa A. Habel, MPH, Health Scientist
Division of STD Prevention Centers for Disease Control & Prevention