What is an IUD?

What is an IUD?

An IUD is a small plastic and copper device with one or two plastic threads on the end. A trained doctor or nurse fits the device into the womb.

What can I expect after an IUD is fitted?

What can I expect after an IUD is fitted?

  • You may expect some staining or fresh bleeding for a few days after the IUD is fitted.
  • You may have some period type pain or cramps for a few days. Take any simple pain killer that you would take for period pain.
How soon does the IUD work?

How soon does the IUD work?

  • You can rely on your IUD for contraception as soon as it is fitted (unless the doctor has advised you differently).
How will I know the IUD is still in place?

How will I know the IUD is still in place?

  • The doctor or nurse can teach you how to check the threads if you would like to know how to do this. The best time to check is usually after a period.
How often do I need to come back?

How often do I need to come back?

  • The doctor or nurse may advise you to return to have the IUD checked 6 weeks after it is fitted.
  • Information from the World Health Organisation recommends that annual checks are not needed. You should come back for a check if you are worried or having a problem.
What problems should I be concerned about?

What problems should I be concerned about?

Please contact the clinic or see the doctor if:

  • You have very heavy bleeding.
  • You have severe lower abdominal pain.
  • You have heavy, smelly vaginal discharge.
  • You miss a period or have an unusual very slight bleed only.
  • You are worried that your IUD is coming out.
How long can an IUD stay in place?

How long can an IUD stay in place?

Most IUDs can stay in for 5-10 years depending on the type. Your doctor or nurse will advise you. If you have had a copper IUD fitted after your 40th birthday it does not need to be changed unless you’re having problems with it. Once your periods have been stopped for a year after the menopause, we recommend you have the IUD taken out.

How is the IUD taken out?

How is the IUD taken out?

A trained doctor or nurse can take out the IUD at any time. This is usually a simple procedure. If you are not going to have another IUD put in, and you do not want to become pregnant, we would advise you to use an extra contraceptive method such as a condom from the start of your period that month. Your usual fertility returns as soon as the IUD is taken out.

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Accessing our service

In response to the emergence of COVID-19 we have implemented a telephone triage system for all of our clinics. Our central telephone number is 0300 303 3989.

We are currently experiencing high demand for our Sexual Health Services across Devon and Torbay with unprecedented demand in Exeter. Please note always review urgent cases the same day. If your need is urgent and you are struggling to reach us keep trying as our phone system will explain how to access same-day care with us.

We have updated information on the provision of routine contraception here.

Self-requested STI testing by post is available for those aged under 25- more info

We are now running an under 18’s sit and wait clinic at Exeter, Torquay, and Barnstaple for more information click here

If you are struggling to access sexual health services, alternatives may be available:

  • Emergency Contraception - from a local pharmacy - more info
  • Contraceptive pills and LARC procedures - obtained from your GP
  • HIV PEPSE - available via A+E departments - more info
  • Condoms by post (for gay and bisexual men only) - more info