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What is an IUD?


The IUD or 'coil' is a small plastic device, not much longer than a match, which is placed inside the womb, where it prevents you from getting pregnant.

The word 'intrauterine' just means 'inside the womb'. Far back in the 20th century, it was found that if an object, such as a short strip of plastic, was placed inside the womb, its presence would prevent most pregnancies.

About 40 years ago, it was discovered that such devices worked better if they had a length of thin copper wire wrapped round them. So today, most IUDs contain copper.

Most women who have had a child can use an IUD, though the device isn't usually a good choice for anyone who has heavy periods because it may make them worse.

IUDs are not so easy to insert in young women who haven't had children. Also, official advice is that young, sexually-active women should be carefully screened forsexually transmitted diseases (STDs) before having an IUD put in.


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