IUD (Intrauterine Device for Birth Control)

  • Medical Author:
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

  • Medical Editor: William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR

    Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.

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Quick GuideBirth Control Pictures Slideshow: Methods, Side Effects and Effectiveness

Birth Control Pictures Slideshow: Methods, Side Effects and Effectiveness

What are the side effects of an IUD?

Side effects of the IUD are limited primarily to the uterus and depend upon the type of IUD that is inserted. The copper IUD may cause worsening of menstrual cramps and heavier menstrual bleeding, although hormonal IUDs usually reduce menstrual flow. Women with hormonal IUDs may have irregular periods and spotting, particularly in the first three to six months.

It is also possible for the IUD to pass through (perforate) the uterine wall and enter the abdominal cavity, where it must be retrieved surgically. Perforation of or trauma to the uterus by the IUD occurs in one to three per 1,000 insertions.

Does an IUD cause pain?

An IUD does not cause pain. The insertion procedure is done in a doctor's office and may cause a brief discomfort similar to menstrual cramping. An anesthetic can be injected into the cervix prior to the insertion procedure.

What are warning signs and symptoms of possible complications from an IUD?

Warning signs of possible complications from an IUD include

If a woman experiences any of these signs, she should contact a health-care professional.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 2/25/2016
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