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Other Contraceptives

Intrauterine Device (IUD)

Effectiveness (Theoretical)
Effectiveness (Theoretical)
Effectiveness (Real World)
Effectiveness (Real World)

The intrauterine device (IUD) is a T-shaped plastic device that is inserted into the uterus. The insertion of an IUD is a simple procedure performed in a doctor's office. IUDs have a thread that hangs down from the uterus into the vagina, which enables women to ensure that the device is still in place after each menstrual period.

The IUD contains copper and prevents pregnancy by causing a reaction within the uterus, so that fertilized egg cannot be implanted.

The typical effectiveness rate of the IUD is 97%. Some IUDs can be left in place for up to four years, while others must be replaced annually, or when desired.

The most common side-effects are cramping and spotting in the first few weeks after insertion. The IUD may cause heavier menstrual periods. Doctors may not prescribe IUDs to women who are pregnant or have an infection of the uterus, cervix or vagina; a sensitivity to copper; unusual vaginal bleeding; an increased risk of sexually-transmitted diseases; a poor immune system; abnormalities of the cervix or uterus; a history of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) or ectopic pregnancy. IUDs may increase the incidence of PID. With IUDs, there is also an increased risk of tearing the uterus during insertion and removal. IUDs do not protect against sexually-transmitted diseases.

An IUD can stop pregnancy if it is fitted within five days after having unprotected sex, but it has to be removed after the next period.

An IUD including insertion costs about $400 CDN.

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