Is an IUD Right for Me?

When considering birth control options, you may have come across something called a long-acting contraceptive. One example of a long-acting contraceptive is an intrauterine device or IUD. We highly recommend IUDs at Northern Colorado Women’s Wellness and want to share more information about them with Northern Colorado women who may be considering their birth control options.

What is an IUD?

An intrauterine device is a small, plastic device that is inserted and left in the uterus. As we said before, an IUD is a type of long-acting contraceptive. This means that after the contraceptive is placed in the uterus, it can last for years, depending on the brand and type. When it comes to intrauterine devices specifically, there are two different types: hormonal or copper.


A hormonal IUD releases the hormone progestin into the uterus. Different brands contain different hormone levels, which determine how long they will last. Most hormonal IUDs are approved for 3-7 years.


A copper IUD does not contain hormones. Instead, it releases copper into the uterus. Copper IUDs are approved for up to 10 years of use.

How Do IUDs Work?

An intrauterine device works by preventing the fertilization of eggs. Hormonal IUDs thicken the mucus of the cervix, which makes it harder for sperm to reach the egg. The hormones also thin the lining of the uterus. Copper IUDs interfere with a sperm’s ability to move, which makes it harder for it to enter the uterus and find an egg.

Learn more about how IUDs work in this video, below.

How Effective Are IUDs?

Intrauterine devices are one of the most effective forms of birth control. Less than 1 out of 100 women get pregnant in their first year of IUD use. Over the rest of the long-term use, an IUD becomes 20 times more effective than birth control pills, patches, or rings.

What Are the Benefits of an IUD?

An intrauterine device has several benefits. These include:

  1. IUDs are easy to use. Once your IUD is placed, you do not have to do anything else.
  2. It doesn’t interfere with sex or other daily activities.
  3. It can be inserted immediately after an abortion, miscarriage, or childbirth.
  4. Over time, the hormonal IUDs help decrease menstrual pain and heavy menstrual bleeding, and some women even stop having menstrual bleeding.
  5. If you want to get pregnant an IUD can be removed and you can get pregnant right away.

Are There Side Effects?

When you get an IUD, you might see changes in your menstrual bleeding. With a copper IUD, you might have an increase in painful periods and bleeding in your first few months.

With a hormonal IUD, you might see more frequent spotting, more days of bleeding, and heavier bleeding during your first few months after it is inserted. Some women might experience headaches, nausea, breast tenderness, and mood changes.

How is an IUD Inserted?

A health care professional must place an IUD. They will go over your medical history and then perform a pelvic exam. The IUD is guided through the vagina and cervix and then placed in the uterus. Our providers at Northern Colorado Womens Wellness are able to insert an IUD for you.

Will I Feel the IUD Once It’s In Place?

Placement of the IUD might cause some discomfort when it’s first inserted.

The IUD also has strings made of thin plastic threads that are used to remove it. The strings shouldn’t cause discomfort, but in rare cases, your sexual partner might feel them during sexual activities. If this happens is a concern for you or your partner, your doctor might be able to trim the strings.

Can I Have an IUD Removed Early?

Yes. Intrauterine devices can be removed at any time by your gynecologist.

How Is the IUD Removed?

During a pelvic exam, your health care provider will remove your IUD. They will grasp the strings on the end of the IUD with an instrument, and gently pull it out. This procedure often takes less time than the procedure to insert an IUD.

How Do I Know If an IUD is Right for Me?

One benefit of IUDs is that almost all women can be approved for them. There are some medical problems that might prevent you from being approved, so it is important to consult your doctor before deciding on an intrauterine device.

If you’re considering an intrauterine device, you can schedule a consultation with one of our health care providers. We will be happy to answer any questions and review your options for IUDs.