The Copper IUD is a small plastic and copper device. It’s placed inside the uterus by a specially trained doctor or nurse and stays there for 5 or 10 years depending on the type.
How does it work?
- Affects sperm movement and survival so they can’t move through the uterus to reach and fertilise an egg.
- Stops a fertilised egg from implanting in the uterus.
How well does it work?
The Copper IUD is 99.2 – 99.4% effective at preventing pregnancy.
What are the benefits?
- You don’t have to remember to take a pill every day.
- It starts working right away.
- Fertility returns as soon as it’s taken out.
- Doesn’t contain any hormones.
- Safe to use if you’re breastfeeding or can’t use hormonal methods of contraception.
IUDs can be used by most women, including young women.
What are the downsides?
- Copper IUDs don’t protect against STIs but you can use condoms at the same time.
- Putting the IUD into the uterus can be a bit painful, especially if you haven’t had children yet.
- There’s a small chance of infection in the first three weeks after it’s inserted which could lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) – PID may rarely affect fertility later on.
- Periods could be heavier, last longer and be more painful than before.
Are there side effects?
Serious health problems are rare with the copper IUD. You may experience:
- cramping when it’s put in
- heavier periods which last longer
- an increase in vaginal discharge
Can anyone use a Copper IUD?
Most women can use a Copper IUD but they are not usually the first contraceptive choice for young women.
Where do you get it?
A Copper IUD must be inserted and removed by a trained doctor or nurse. This can be done at a Family Planning clinic, by some doctors or by a gynaecologist.