Intrauterine device (IUD)

The Intrauterine device (IUD) is a small object that is put inside a woman's womb (uterus) by a doctor and is left there for 5 to 10 years. IUDs don't prevent you from getting a sexually transmitted infection (STI). It's important to use condoms as IUDs only prevent pregnancy.

The IUD works by stopping the male's sperm from reaching the female's egg, and also prevents a fertilised egg from attaching to the lining of the womb.

IUDs are 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.

Intrauterine device


  • convenient and cheap because it lasts up to 10 years,and is highly effective for this entire time. 
  • It can be removed at any time (by a doctor).
  • Insertion does not need a general anaesthetic.


  • does not protect against STIs – protection, like condoms, must be used.
  • sometimes there is pain or discomfort when it's inserted.
  • each month you have to check that the IUD is still in the right place.

You can get an IUD from your doctor or sexual health clinic.

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