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 during the COVID pandemic

How to access our service:

We have now implemented a telephone triage system for all of our clinics. This system will be in place for the duration of the pandemic. Please contact our services to access this triage system. Our central telephone number is 0300 303 3989.

If you are experiencing symptoms of Coronavirus please do not attend the clinic. Clear advice for people with symptoms of coronavirus is available at nhs.uk/coronavirus .

Advice from our service:

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

We are currently prioritising these groups for coil and implant (LARC) fits:

  • Those with vulnerabilities including but not limited to those who are: <18, attending abortion and maternity services, homeless, sex workers, victims of sexual assault, people with language barriers, drug and alcohol problems, learning disability, serious mental illness
  • Those aged <30 years

More details on LARC fittings at our service are found here

There is also specific advice on coronavirus available for People Living with HIV here, and for pregnant women here

Self-requested Sexual Health screening by post is available for for under 25s only - more info here

For others with testing requirements please contact the service on 0300 303 3989.

Information is now also available to advise on sexual contact during a time of social distancing here.

Alternative provision:

Please be aware that we may have to cancel, rearrange or shut clinical services in response to changing clinical and staffing pressures created by the Coronavirus pandemic. 

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

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