Everything You Need to Know About Different Types of IUDs

Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are small, T-shaped contraceptive devices that are inserted into the uterus to provide long-term contraception. There are different types of IUDs available, each with its own features and benefits. Here are some common types of IUDs:

1. Copper IUD (Non-hormonal IUD)

Copper IUDs, such as ParaGard, are non-hormonal IUDs. They are made of plastic and wrapped with a copper wire. Copper IUDs work by releasing copper ions into the uterus, which create an environment toxic to sperm, preventing fertilization. Copper IUDs can provide long-term contraception for up to 10 years.

2. Hormonal IUDs

Hormonal IUDs, such as Mirena, Skyla, Liletta, and Kyleena, release a small amount of progestin hormone into the uterus. Progestin thickens the cervical mucus, making it difficult for sperm to reach the egg, and also thins the uterine lining, reducing the likelihood of implantation. Hormonal IUDs provide long-term contraception and have varying durations of effectiveness, ranging from 3 to 7 years, depending on the specific type.

3. Hormonal-releasing Arm Implant (IUD-like Device)

While not strictly an IUD, the hormonal-releasing arm implant, known as Nexplanon, is a long-acting contraceptive method that is inserted under the skin of the upper arm. It releases a progestin hormone to prevent pregnancy for up to three years. The mechanism of action is similar to hormonal IUDs, thickening cervical mucus and thinning the uterine lining.

It’s important to note that the specific types of IUDs available may vary depending on the country and healthcare provider. When considering an IUD as a contraceptive option, it is recommended to consult with a healthcare professional who can provide personalized advice and guidance based on individual health factors and preferences.