August 23, 2022

Glossary: Intrauterine Device (IUD)

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What is an intrauterine Device (IUD)? 

An IUD is a small plastic T-shaped device that is inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy (NIH). The insertion of the device may cause pain, cramping, and dizziness. Some people experience cramps and back aches for days, weeks, and months after insertion. There are two types of IUD: hormonal (Mirena) and non-hormonal (ParaGard). The Mirena IUD contains the hormone progestin, which prevents pregnancy by thickening the mucus in the cervix to prevent egg fertilization and thinning the lining of the uterus to suppress ovulation (Mayo Clinic). The ParaGard, or copper IUD, prevents pregnancy through the copper wires in the device. The copper induces an inflammatory response that is toxic to the eggs and sperm (Mayo Clinic). Mirena can prevent pregnancy for 5 years, while the ParaGard can prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years. 

Although the chance of pregnancy is less than 1 percent with an IUD, people who conceive with an IUD are at high risk for an ectopic pregnancy.

Common Side Effects of Mirena 

  • Acne
  • Breast Tenderness
  • Cramping
  • Headache
  • Irregular bleeding for up to 6 months
  • Mood Changes
  • Pelvic Pain

Common Side Effects of ParaGard

  • Bleeding between periods
  • Cramps
  • Heavy Bleeding
  • Severe menstrual pain

It’s Fetch is a community that provides a safe space for members to discuss health and wellness topics. We provide access to archived health related content, note the date of last review or update on all articles. No content shared, regardless of date should ever be used as a substitute for direct medical advice from your doctor or other qualified clinician. 

-Written by Sabrina Park MPH


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