Advantages and disadvantages

Advantages and disadvantages of the IUD

Although an IUD is an effective method of contraception, there are some things to consider before having one fitted.

  • It protects against pregnancy for 5 or 10 years, depending on the type.
  • Once an IUD is fitted, it works straight away.
  • Most women can use it.
  • There are no hormonal side effects, such as acne, headaches or breast tenderness.
  • It does not interrupt sex.
  • It’s safe to use an IUD if you’re breastfeeding.
  • It’s possible to get pregnant as soon as the IUD is removed.
  • It’s not affected by other medicines.


  • There’s a small risk of getting an infection after it’s been fitted. If you get an infection when you have an IUD fitted, it could lead to a pelvic infection or UTI if not treated.
  • If you have an IUD fitted, you may have a slightly higher chance of getting thrush that keeps coming back. This is because candida spores can anchor to the strings of the IUD and despite treatment, the spores can keep causing reinfections. Speak to a GP if you have an IUD and keep getting thrush. You might want to think about trying a different type of contraception.
  • There’s a small risk that your body may push out the IUD or it may move. Your doctor or nurse will teach you how to check it’s in place.
  • It can be uncomfortable when the IUD is put in, but painkillers can help.
  • It may not be suitable if you have had previous pelvic infections.
  • It does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), so you may need to use condoms as well.
  • Your periods may become heavier, longer or more painful, though this may improve after a few months.
  • Most women who stop using an IUD do so because of vaginal bleeding and pain, although these side effects are uncommon.
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