Intrauterine contraception

There are two forms of intrauterine contraception: the copper intrauterine device (IUD) or the hormonal intrauterine system (IUS, or hormonal IUD). Both are long-acting and highly effective forms of family planning and work in different ways to prevent pregnancy. They both do not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) or HIV/AIDS.

A hormonal IUD is a small plastic device that is inserted into the uterus. It prevents pregnancy by gradually releasing a progestogen hormone directly into the uterus, which thickens the mucus at the cervix so that sperm cannot get through to meet an egg. The hormonal IUD changes the lining of the womb, preventing an egg from implanting. The hormonal IUD is a very effective type of contraception (99.8%) and can last for up to five years. It’s very important to have it removed and/or replaced after the recommended duration as it will no longer be effective.

You should not use this contraceptive method if you do not want your periods to change. The most common side effects of a hormonal IUD are irregular spotting between periods or unpredictable bleeding in the first few months after insertion. In most women, this settles down and, in general, women experience a reduction in the amount of bleeding, the number of bleeding days, and less painful periods. It is particularly beneficial for women who normally have heavy or long periods.

Hormonal side effects are uncommon but may include acne, headaches, moodiness and weight gain. If present, these are usually mild and often settle down after the first few months.

If, following insertion of the hormonal IUD, you experience pain during sex, continuous lower abdominal pain, fever and/or unusual and persistent vaginal discharge this may indicate that you have an infection. It is important you consult your doctor if this occurs.

If you are happy to have a hormonal contraceptive which is highly effective and would prefer to have lighter periods, the hormonal IUD may be the best option for you.

A copper IUD is a small device made of plastic and copper that is inserted into the uterus, where it can provide protection against pregnancy for five to 10 years (depending on the type.) A copper IUD prevents sperm from fertilising an egg and/or prevents an egg from implanting in the uterus. Copper IUDs can also be used as an emergency contraception within five days of unprotected intercourse, or five days after expected ovulation.

The copper IUD is a highly effective type of contraception (>99%) but the most common side effects are heavier, more painful or prolonged periods. Some women might also experience light spotting between periods, especially in the first few months after insertion. In most cases these side effects usually improve with time.

If, following insertion of the hormonal IUD, you experience pain during sex, continuous lower abdominal pain, fever and/or unusual and persistent vaginal discharge this may indicate that you have an infection. It is important you consult your doctor if this occurs.

If you would like a non-hormonal contraceptive or if you need highly effective emergency contraception, the copper IUD may be the best option for you.

Prices

Prices are based on the minimum cost for each procedure for patients holding a valid Medicare card. Further discounts apply for Healthcare Card holders in many cases. Visit the prices page to understand the factors that influence cost, or contact us to get an exact price based on your personal circumstances.

Intrauterine device (IUD/IUS), local anaesthetic

FROM $200*

Intrauterine device (IUD/IUS), IV sedation

FROM $450*

* Prices quoted do not include the cost of the device or injection. Please contact us for a detailed quote. If you would like to have an IUD, IUS or a contraceptive implant, removed or replaced, contact us for pricing.

FAQ

An IUD must be inserted by a specially trained doctor and can be inserted by some GPs, at sexual health clinics and at Marie Stopes clinics. To make an appointment for a Marie Stopes IUD consultation, call 1300 003 707 or enquire online.
Once you have consented to the procedure, the doctor will insert a speculum into your vagina to view your cervix (the same process as having a pap smear). A thin, flexible plastic tube is used to insert the IUD into the uterus. The tube is then removed and the threads cut. In some cases a small amount of local anaesthetic may be used to numb the cervix. The insertion procedure usually only takes a few minutes.

Some women may find the insertion uncomfortable or feel slightly faint after insertion or removal of the device. This is a normal reaction that should pass within a few minutes. You may take a mild pain killer prior to or after the insertion if you prefer.

To avoid infection, do not insert anything into your vagina for 48 hours following the insertion of the IUD (i.e. avoid sexual penetration and use pads instead of tampons for two days after the insertion). You will usually be asked to return for a check-up after your first period, usually about six weeks after insertion.

Removal of an IUD is an easier procedure than insertion and it can be removed at any time in your menstrual cycle. However, if you do not want to become pregnant it is important to use an alternative method of contraception in the week leading up to the removal of the device.
Sexual activity during this week could result in an unplanned pregnancy once the device is removed. Always see a doctor for removal of an IUD.

It is possible to have a new IUD inserted immediately after the previous one is removed.

This depends on whether a hormone or copper IUD is used. If a hormone IUD is inserted in the first seven days of your menstrual cycle (where day one is the first day of your period) then it is effective immediately, otherwise another type of contraception (such as condoms) should be used for the next seven days to avoid unplanned pregnancy. A copper IUD is always effective immediately after insertion. If you are using other another method of contraception and are changing to an IUD, you will need to discuss with your doctor when is the best time for the device to be inserted to avoid an unplanned pregnancy.
IUDs are widely considered a safe method of contraception in breastfeeding women and can be inserted 4 weeks after delivery.
IUDs have two fine nylon strings attached to them which, when in place, come out through the cervix. It is important for you to learn how to feel for the strings of the device yourself to check that it is correctly in place. Ask your doctor to assist you if you are having difficulty locating your IUD strings.
Neither you nor your partner should be aware of the IUD during sex. If you experience any discomfort you should have the positioning of your IUD checked by your doctor.
Before having an IUD inserted you must inform your doctor if you: might be pregnant; have had a history of any unusual vaginal bleeding or painful or heavy periods; have fibroids or other abnormalities in the uterus; have an existing sexually transmitted disease (STI) or pelvic infection; have had an abnormal pap smear and are waiting for treatment; are allergic to copper or have Wilson’s disease (if you want the copper IUD); or have had previous problems using an IUD. Your doctor will talk with you about your contraception options and help you determine the best contraceptive method for you.
Once an IUD is removed there is no delay in a return to previous fertility. Therefore, it is important that you start using another family planning method immediately if you do not want to become pregnant.
If you have any concerns at all following your procedure, please call our 24-hour aftercare service on 1300 003 707 to speak to a registered nurse.

Speak to our friendly staff or book online