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What is an IUD?

An intrauterine device (IUD) is a small T-shaped device that’s placed in the uterus or womb to prevent pregnancy or control heavy periods. An IUD is a reversible contraceptive that’s more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. 

There are two types of IUD available:

  • Hormonal IUDs like Mirena and Kyleena release a very small quantity of progesterone hormone daily into the uterus and are effective for 5 years.
  • Copper IUDs are effective for 5-10 years.

How is an IUD inserted?

The IUD insertion is usually done in our Rooms using a local anaesthetic. Before the procedure, the vagina and cervix are cleaned with an antiseptic solution to reduce the chance of infection. 

It’s common to experience some discomfort during insertion but this usually resolves quickly for most women. 

The insertion takes around 15 minutes, but you’ll be in our Rooms for about one hour. Following insertion, you won’t be able to feel the device, but you should be able to feel the threads of the device inside your vagina with your fingers. 

Is it painful to have an IUD insertion?

We usually recommend that you take some Panadol or Nurofen one hour before your appointment and have a light meal. 

It’s common to experience some cramping at the time of insertion and for the rest of the day. The cramping can continue for the rest of the week. 

Some women become lightheaded after the insertion and may feel faint, but this usually gets better with some rest and plenty of fluids. Rest assured, we’ll keep you in our Rooms until you feel well enough to go home.

Most women can drive home or take public transport after the procedure. However, you may have to arrange for someone to drive you home afterwards if you are feeling lightheaded. 

When is the best time to have an IUD insertion?

Insertion is easier in the early part of your menstrual cycle, soon after your period has finished. Please use some reliable contraceptive leading up to the IUD insertion. 

Does an IUD affect my periods?

You’ll experience some irregular bleeding for the first 3 months with both hormonal and non-hormonal IUDs.


Copper IUDs are associated with a slightly higher menstrual loss and may not be the best option if you already have heavy periods or low iron (anaemia).

Hormonal IUDs are a good option for women who experience heavy and/or painful periods. After the first 6 months, the majority of women experience very light or no periods.

What are the risks of IUD insertion?

Possible side effects or disadvantages of an IUD are:

  • An IUD can sometimes fall out, most commonly in the first couple of months.
  • In about 1 in 500 women, the insertion results in an injury to the uterus, occasionally requiring a laparoscopy.
  • Around 1 in 300 women get a pelvic infection following IUD insertion, which is usually successfully treated with antibiotics. Occasionally, removal of an IUD and/or laparoscopy may be necessary. The infection presents as pelvic/lower abdominal pain, vaginal discharge and/or a fever. 

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