Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
William C. Shiel Jr., MD, FACP, FACR
Dr. Shiel received a Bachelor of Science degree with honors from the University of Notre Dame. There he was involved in research in radiation biology and received the Huisking Scholarship. After graduating from St. Louis University School of Medicine, he completed his Internal Medicine residency and Rheumatology fellowship at the University of California, Irvine. He is board-certified in Internal Medicine and Rheumatology.
In this Article
- Introduction to birth control
- What are UIDs (intrauterine devices)?
- How does an IUD work?
- What are the side effects of an IUD?
- What are warning signs and symptoms of possible complications from an IUD?
- What are the types of IUDs (Paragard, Mirena, Skyla)?
- What are the advantages of an IUD?
- How is an IUD removed?
- What are the risks and complications of IUDs?
- Find a local Obstetrician-Gynecologist in your town
What are the side effects of an IUD?
Side effects of the IUD are limited primarily to the uterus and include:
- heavy menstrual flow,
- pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and
It is also possible for the IUD to pass through (perforate) the uterine wall and enter the abdominal cavity, where it must be retrieved surgically. Perforation of or trauma to the uterus by the IUD occurs in 1/1,000 insertions.
What are warning signs and symptoms of possible complications from an IUD?
Warning signs of possible complications from an IUD include:
- abdominal pain,
- heavy bleeding,
- abnormal spotting or bleeding, and
- a smelly vaginal discharge.
If a woman experiences any of these signs, she should contact her health care professional.
What are the types of IUDs (Paragard, Mirena, Skyla)?
Intrauterine devices (IUDs) that are available in the US come in two different types: 1) copper-releasing, or 2) progesterone-releasing.
- The TCu380A (Paragard) is a copper-containing IUD. It releases copper from a copper wire that is wrapped around the base. The released copper contributes to an inflammatory reaction in the uterus that helps prevent fertilization of the egg. It is approved to remain in place for up to 10 years.
- Levonorgestrel-releasing IUD (Mirena or Skyla): This form of IUD releases a progestin hormone from the vertical part of the T. Progestin acts to thicken cervical mucus, creating a barrier to sperm, as well as renders the lining of the uterus inhospitable to implantation of a pregnancy. The two brand named IUDs in this category contain different amounts of the hormone. Mirena is approved for up to five years of use, and Skyla for up to three years.
Viewers share their comments
Find out what women really need.