Barrier methods of family planning 195
IUD (IntraUterine Devices: IUCD,
Copper T, the Loop)
You may prefer a different method if:
• you cannot manage heavy
The Intra-Uterine Device
(IUD) is a small object made
of plastic, or of plastic and
copper, that has 2 small
• you cannot open your legs very wide.
• you get muscle spasms in your
The IUD does not protect against HIV/AIDS or other STIs. A trained health
worker or midwife can insert an IUD inside the womb, and the strings hang down into
the vagina. The IUD prevents the man’s sperm from fertilizing the woman’s egg. To use
an IUD safely, you need to be able to check the strings inside your vagina regularly. It
is best to do this just after your monthly bleeding has stopped. If you cannot check the
strings yourself, ask your partner or someone you trust to help you.
The IUD can be left in for up to 10 years. Women with IUDs should get regular
pelvic exams to make sure it is still in correctly.
Common side effects
You may have some light bleeding during the first week you have an IUD. Some
women also have longer, heavier, and more painful monthly bleeding, but this
usually stops after the first 3 months. If you want to use an IUD, talk with an
experienced health worker to see if this method will work well for you.
IUS (intraUterine SYSTEM: an IUD with Hormones)
One type of IUD called the Intrauterine System (IUS) contains the progestin
hormone, levonorgestrel. The 2 most common brand names are Mirena and
Levonova. The IUS reduces the amount of blood lost during monthly bleeding and
is also very effective in preventing pregnancy for 5 years. Unfortunately, it is more
expensive than other IUDs and is not available in as many countries. Talk with a
health worker to see if it is available in your community.
WARNING! If you have an IUD, get medical help if any of these
danger signs appear:
• late or missed monthly bleeding or unusual spotting between monthly
• pain in the belly that does not go away, or pain during sex
• signs of infection: unusual discharge or bad smell from the vagina,
fever, chills, feeling ill
• IUD strings get shorter or longer, are missing, or you can feel the IUD
in the vagina
A Health Handbook for Women with Disabilities 2007