Hormonal IUD icon

Hormonal IUD 

  • 99% effective
  • Lasts 3 to 8 years
  • Inserted and removed by a provider
  • Contains hormones
  • No STI/STD protection
  • Not visible to your partner


What is it?
  • The hormonal IUD (intrauterine device) is a small, flexible T-shaped plastic device that’s placed inside your uterus to prevent pregnancy.

  • There are thin strings attached to the tip of the IUD, which hang a little bit out of the cervix. 

  • You can only feel the IUD if you place your finger deep into your vagina. Your partner won’t feel the strings during sex.

  • A health care provider inserts the IUD into your uterus during a pelvic exam.

  • The hormonal IUD is one of the most effective birth control methods available — it’s 99% effective in preventing pregnancy1,  and it works for up to 3 to 8 years.

  • The hormonal IUD is low maintenance. There’s no chance of forgetting to take it or using it incorrectly.

  • If you decide you want to get pregnant, a health care provider can remove the IUD and you can try to get pregnant right away.

  • Hormonal IUDs contain a hormone like progesterone (called levonorgestrel) and brands include Mirena, Skyla, Kyleena, and Liletta.
How it works
  • The hormonal IUD releases the hormone progestin to stop you from getting pregnant. 

  • The progestin works by:

    • Stopping your ovaries from releasing eggs. When eggs aren’t released, you can’t get pregnant.

    • Making the mucus in your cervix too thick for sperm to pass through. This prevents sperm from meeting an egg.
How to get it
  • You can get a hormonal IUD at your medical facility. 
  • Because of the Affordable Care Act, Kaiser Permanente members can get certain types of birth control methods at low or no cost. Check with Member Services or your provider for details.
What to expect
  • The hormonal IUD must be inserted by a health care provider.

  • The one-time procedure only takes a few minutes.

  • The provider puts a speculum into your vagina and uses a special tool to insert the IUD through the opening of your cervix and into your uterus.

  • Once it’s inserted, there’s no daily maintenance. It lasts up to 3 to 8 years.

  • You’ll need to get the IUD removed by a provider after 3 to 8 years, when it expires.
  • The hormonal IUD is safe and 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.

  • It’s a long-term birth control method, lasting up to 3 to 8 years.

  • There’s no daily or regular maintenance, and you don’t need to go to the pharmacy for refills. It works until it expires or you have it taken out.

  • It can be used immediately after you have a baby and while you’re breastfeeding.

  • The hormonal IUD won’t affect your fertility.2 You can try to get pregnant once your provider removes the IUD.

  • Periods may be lighter, less painful, or absent completely.

  • It may help cut down on period cramps.

  • The hormonal IUD, specifically levonorgestrel 52 mg, is one of the most effective forms of emergency contraception, at nearly 100% when placed within 5 days of unprotected sex.³
  • The hormonal IUD doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs/STDs), including HIV. Even if you have an IUD, you should use a condom every time you have sex to reduce your chances of getting or spreading STIs.

  • You may experience cramps or backaches during the IUD insertion and for a few days after the procedure. Taking an over-the-counter pain medication, like ibuprofen, as directed can help.

  • You may have extra spotting, or light vaginal bleeding, between periods for 3 to 6 months.

  • Serious complications and side effects are rare. Rare complications may include: The IUD can poke through the wall of the uterus, the IUD can fall out of the uterus, or you can get an infection.
  • You can have the hormonal IUD taken out whenever you want. You must get it taken out after 3 to 8 years, when the hormonal IUD expires.

  • A provider must do the IUD removal.

  • Hormonal IUD removal is a quick procedure. The provider gently pulls on the strings, and the IUD slips out easily with minimal or no discomfort.


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© 2020 Kaiser Permanente

1“Contraceptive Fact Sheets,” Adolescent ACCESS Project, Indiana University School of Medicine & Purdue University College of Pharmacy, pharmacyaccessforms.org, July 14, 2018. 

2“IUD,” Planned Parenthood, plannedparenthood.org/learn/birth-control/iud/what-are-the-benefits-of-iuds, accessed August 13, 2019.

³David K. Turok, MD, et al., “Levonorgestrel vs. Copper Intrauterine Devices for Emergency Contraception,” The New England Journal of Medicine, January 28, 2021, p. 335.