Intrauterine Device (IUD)

Overview of Intrauterine Device (IUD)

The IUD is a small T-shaped plastic device placed directly into the uterus. Three types of IUDs are now available in the U.S. The ParaGard IUD contains copper and can be left in place for up to 10 years. The Mirena IUD contains the hormone progestin and can be left in place for up to 5 years. The Skyla IUD contains progesterone and can be left in place 3 years. A health care provider inserts the IUD in the office and there typically is some cramping. This method is completely reversible at any time. ParaGard is effective immediately after insertion. Mirena and Skyla require a back up method for one week.

How It Works

The IUD works primarily by preventing fertilization of the egg. IUDs affect the way the sperm or egg move. The progestin in the Mirena and Skyla also thickens the cervical mucus. The copper in the ParaGard impairs sperm function.


99.8% (Typical and Perfect)


  • Highly effective
  • Very safe
  • Long lasting (up to 3-10 years)
  • The ParaGard IUD contains no hormones (effective for 10 years)
  • The Mirena IUD contains no estrogen (effective for 5 years)
  • The Skyla IUD contains no estrogen (effective for 3 years)
  • Does not interfere with sex
  • Cost-effective
  • The Mirena and Skyla IUDs can decrease menstrual bleeding
  • Discreet


  • Some people experience heavier and longer menstrual bleeding and cramping with the ParaGard IUD and this usually decreases by 3-6 cycles
  • Irregular bleeding in early months with Mirena and Skyla (not common with Paragaurd)
  • Cramping and pain at insertion (lasts about 10-15 minutes)
  • There is a 2-10% chance of expelling the IUD in the first year
  • No protection from sexually transmitted infections


Available at SHCS Medical Services, appointments with an SHCS provider are available for consultation, referral and insertion.