What is an IUD?

An intrauterine device or IUD is a T-shaped device that is placed into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. Some women who do not want to take the birth control pill or have difficulty remembering to take their pills opt for this birth control option.

There are different types of IUDs, including hormonal and copper.

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Hormonal IUDs: The three brands of hormonal IUDs available in the U.S. include Mirena, Skyla, and Liletta. Once a hormonal IUD is placed into the uterus, it releases small amounts of the hormone progestin over time to hinder sperm from reaching the egg. The hormones also thicken the cervical mucus and thin the uterine lining, further preventing pregnancy. Hormonal IUDs can continue to work for 3-5 years.

Copper IUDs: ParaGard is a copper IUD, which works for 10 years once placed. It works by stopping sperm from meeting up with the egg. You may experience heavy bleeding and cramping initially during your periods while using this IUD, which should lighten after a few months.

Who is a Candidate for an IUD?

Most women who are overall healthy can benefit from IUDs to prevent pregnancy. However, IUDs do not prevent STDs, and you should not receive one if you have an STD, are pregnant, have had a recent pelvic infection, have abnormal vaginal bleeding, or have cancer of the uterus or cervix. Individuals who have allergies to copper or have Wilson’s disease should not receive copper IUDs, while those who have liver disease, breast cancer, or are at high risk for breast cancer should not use hormonal IUDs. The best way to determine if you are a good candidate for an IUD is to schedule an appointment with Dr. Tepper.


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How is an IUD Inserted?

IUDs can be inserted during an office visit, and usually takes about 10 minutes. During this process, you will lie on the exam table with your feet in stirrups, and a tool called a speculum will be placed into the vagina. The IUD will then be inserted in a small tube that is placed into the vagina and through the cervix to the uterus. The IUD will be pushed into the uterus and the tube removed. IUDs have strings that are attached to them that will hang 1-2 inches inside the vagina. Some women experience cramping or dizziness during this procedure, which should pass within a few minutes.

After your IUD insertion, you may experience temporary side effects such as cramping, aching back, heavy periods, irregular periods, or spotting between periods. These effects should resolve with time as your body gets used to your IUD. Both hormonal and copper IUDs can be removed at any time if you wish to get pregnant or are unhappy with possible side effects.


Whether you are a new or returning patient, Dr. Tepper can assess your concerns and discuss your options to find the most comfortable and convenient care for you. To get started, call our office to set up an appointment.


Contact Us to Learn More

If you are interested in learning more about IUDs or other birth control methods, contact our office today to schedule an appointment with Dr. Tepper. It is important to always speak with a doctor regarding the benefits and risks of any form of birth control.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can a family doctor remove an IUD?

Yes, any nurse or doctors who inserts IUDs can also remove them.

Can a tampon pull out an IUD?

It is very rare that a tampon would pull out an IUD. A special device is needed to successfully remove IUDs at the doctors office.

Can I drive after having an IUD inserted?

Most women will only experience slight discomfort during the insertion of an IUD and are usually fine to drive following the procedure.

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