family planning

IUD - Types of IUD, Advantages, and Disadvantages of IUDs

  • 4.8   (5 Votes)
Medically Reviewed by Dr. Deepika Tiwari - MBBS on 17 Jul 2018 - Written by Dr. Sankar Das Mahapatra - MBBS - Grammatically Approved by Dr. Kavita Jaggi Agrawal - MBBS

Intrauterine Contraception Device (IUD) is one of the most commonly utilized contraceptive methods. IUD is more effective than oral contraceptive pills. Copper T, Hormonal IUD, and Inert IUI are different types of IUDs. IUD is 99 % effective for women who are trying to avoid pregnancy.

An intrauterine device (IUD), also known as an intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD), is a small T-shaped plastic device with copper banded around the transverse arms, which is inserted into the uterus to prevent you from getting pregnant or conceive. IUD contraception is one of the best birth control methods that are better than the oral contraceptive pills

The advantages of the IUD include the fact that it is highly effective in preventing you from getting pregnant or conceive, is reversible, and starts working almost immediately. Once the birth control IUD is removed, there is a quick return to fertility. IUD contraception is one of the best birth control methods that are better than the oral contraceptive pills. The levonorgestrel-releasing IUD (99% effectiveness) is replaced every three to five years. The copper IUD is also 99% effective and only needs to be replaced every 10 years.

What are the types of IUD?

Copper IUD or Copper-T

It is a small plastic device which has the copper wire (acts as a spermicide) wrapped around its stem. It releases copper ion and stops sperm from fertilizing the egg and affects the transport of the egg in the fallopian tubes that prevent you from getting pregnant or conceive.

iud, birth control methods

Hormonal IUD

It is a small device of the shape similar to copper IUD  which releases hormone (Progestin). It thickens cervical mucus to prevent sperm from entering your uterus. IUD contraception is one of the best birth control methods that is better than the oral contraceptive pills. 

Inert IUD

It is similar to copper IUD and stainless steel (inert material) is used instead of copper. It is less effective than Copper and hormonal IUDs.

How is IUD Used?

The birth control IUD is inserted into the uterus by the doctor. The string at the end of the IUD will hang down through the cervix a short distance into the vagina and should be checked periodically (especially after menstruation).

Who can one use IUD?

Healthy women can easily use birth control IUD. They are not right for every woman and some women should not use an IUD for contraception. Before an IUD is inserted, a woman will have pregnancy test to ensure that she is not pregnant and will be tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). IUD contraception is one of the best birth control methods that is better than the oral contraceptive pills. 

The following are reasons that a woman should not use an IUD:

  • Ongoing pelvic infection, such as an STD or a recent STD
  • Cancer of the uterus or cervix
  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding
  • Abnormal or distorted uterine anatomy

What is the effectiveness of IUD?

It is 99% effective

How long is IUD effective?

Copper T is effective for 10 years and Hormonal IUD is effective for 5 years.

iud, birth control methods

What are the advantages of IUD?

  • Long-acting reversible contraception
  • Very effective contraception
  • Can stay in place for five or more year
  • Can be easily removed if you don’t like it or want to conceive
  • It is possible to get pregnant as soon as IUD is removed
  • It does not affect breastfeeding
  • It does not interfere with sexual intercourse
  • No-one else needs to know you are using it
  • There is no evidence of an increased risk of cancer
  • Copper IUDs do not contain any hormones

It is also suitable for women who cannot use estrogen-containing contraceptives, such as:

  • Those with a history of venous thromboembolism
  • Those with stroke, myocardial infarction, or other forms of arterial disease
  • Those with long-standing diabetes
  • Those subject to migraines
  • Women over 35 years who smoke heavily

What are the disadvantages of IUD?

  • You have to have the birth control IUD inserted. This is usually a simple and safe procedure that is carried out by doctor or nurse who is experienced at fitting IUDs. It takes about 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Most women have some period like cramping. Some women feel pain and occasionally faint when the IUD is put in or removed. IUD contraception is one of the best birth control methods that is better than the oral contraceptive pills. 
  • There are some health risks from having an IUD put in: There may be a small chance of infection (about 1%) when an IUD is put in
  • There is a very small risk of damage or perforation of the womb (about 1 in 1,000)
  • You may (rarely) get pregnant with an IUD
  • Copper IUD may cause excessive bleeding and cramping during periods
  • Copper can very rarely cause an allergic reaction

iud, birth control methods

What are the contraindications of IUD?

The use of the IUD is contraindicated in women who have:

  • Irregular vaginal bleeding which has not been diagnosed and could be due to cancer of the female sexual organs
  • Current or recent past history of pelvic infection
  • Current dysmenorrhea or menorrhagia which could be worsened by the IUD
  • Small uteri or abnormally-shaped uteri
  • Ovarian, cervical, or endometrial cancer

To know more about missed periods while on birth control pills, read our article on Birth control Pill Side Effects. If you are planning for IUI treatment then go through our curated list of Best IUI Clinics in Delhi.

Dr. Sankar Das Mahapatra

Written by

Obstetrician, Laparoscopic Surgeon

"Dr. Sankar Das Mahapatra is a Laparoscopic Surgeon (Obstetrics and Gynecology) and Gynecologist based in Kolkata. He has nearly 3 decades of experience. He completed his MBBS from Nil Ratan Sircar College and Hospital, Kolkata in 1990. After that, he enrolled himself in Patna Medical College, Patna in 1993 to get a degree in MS in Obstetrics and Gynaecology. He went to Australia to do his Fellowship in Minimal Access Surgery from Sydney University in 2005. With a book ""State of the Art of Laparoscopic Suturing"" under his name, he has been in a successful career of performing nearly 2000 Laparoscopic Procedures. He came back to India and became a member of the Indian Association of Gynecologic Laparoscopists (IAGE). He is very helpful to the patients having High-Risk Pregnancies and Abnormal Vaginal or Menstrual Bleeding. The patients seeking treatment for gynecological problems like Gyne Laparoscopy, Laparoscopic hysterectomy, IUI, and IVF can consult Dr. Mahapatra at Millenium Clinic, Teghoria and Narayana Multispeciality Hospital, Barasat, Kolkata. You can get his contact details on"


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Tracey Wain

I have used hormonal IUI as well as Copper IUD. In my opinion, Hormonal IUD is far better as compared to copper IUD.

Aug. 14, 2018, 12:50 p.m. 5.0


Jagadbandu Sthanumurthy

Can copper T hurt partner while having intercourse?

March 29, 2018, 5:56 p.m. 4.5


Sarah Dolan

Contraception should be taken after getting a full body check up. Any kind of infection inside the body can be harmful. Be careful while choosing them.

Aug. 27, 2017, 12:22 p.m. 5.0


Sanjeela Sharma

Oral contraceptive pills are also an effective birth control method. But it takes more time with pills to get back to normal periods than IUD.

Aug. 27, 2017, 12:18 p.m. 4.5


Manik Agarwal

IUD is one of the most effective birth control methods. One can choose IUD according to their body type.

Aug. 27, 2017, 11:33 a.m. 5.0

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