- The copper IUD (intrauterine device) is a small, flexible T-shaped plastic device wrapped in a tiny bit of copper 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 copper IUD is one of the most effective birth control methods available — it’s 99% effective in preventing pregnancy, and it works for up to 10 to 12 years.1
- The copper 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.
- A common copper IUD brand is Paragard.
- 99% effective
- Lasts 10 to 12 years
- Inserted and removed by a provider
- No hormones
- No STI/STD protection
- Not visible to your partner
- Copper on the IUD causes sperm cells to stop moving, keeping them from reaching the egg. Since the sperm and egg can’t meet, a pregnancy isn’t possible.
- You can get a copper IUD at your medical facility.
- In the United States, a copper IUD can cost up to $1,300. The cost may vary depending on where you live.
- Kaiser Permanente members may be able to get a copper IUD at low or no cost.2
- The copper 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 10 to 12 years.
- You’ll need to get the IUD removed by a provider after 10 to 12 years, when it expires.
- The copper IUD is safe and 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.
- It’s a long-term birth control method, lasting up to 10 to 12 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 copper IUD won’t affect your fertility.3 You can try to get pregnant once your provider removes the IUD.
- It has no hormones.
- The copper 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.
- Some people have heavier, longer periods and more cramping for the first few 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 copper IUD taken out whenever you want. You must get it taken out after 10 to 12 years, when the copper IUD expires.
- A provider must do the IUD removal.
- Copper 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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