Intrauterine Devices (Mirena, Paragard, Skyla, Liletta)

What is an IUD?

Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are small T-shaped plastic devices that can be inserted into the uterus by a physician for long term contraception. These can be inserted in the office with minimal discomfort. A plastic string is tied to the end of the IUD and hangs from the device through the cervix and the vagina. IUDs prevent fertilization of the egg by damaging or killing sperm and also keep the uterine lining where a fertilized egg would plant from growing.

An IUD can be inserted at any time as long as you are not pregnant. This insertion procedure takes only a few minutes, and your physician can give you local anesthetic if necessary.

There are four different types of IUDs

The Paragard IUD is made from copper and is effective by releasing a small amount of copper into the uterus which causes a spermicidal effect. The Paragard is effective for 10 years. Other IUDs are hormonal and release progestin into the uterus. These IUDs work in various ways to prevent pregnancy as well as control abnormal periods. The Mirena is effective for 5 years and Sklya and Liletta are both effective for 3 years.

You should discuss the various types of IUDs with your provider to determine which one fits your specific needs.