An intrauterine device (IUD) or system (IUS) is a small T-shaped rod that slides into your uterus and provides one of the BEST forms of birth control. There are three types of IUDs/IUSs available.

An examination is necessary to insert the device.

These devices offer the most reliable birth control available and are working all the time without you thinking about your birth control. The American Association of Pediatrics recommends the IUD/IUSs be offered to young people as the first option for preventing unplanned pregnancies. They are over 99% effective and work for 3-10 years. They DO NOT prevent STDs, so you must use condoms. If you get a sexually transmitted infection, it could cause pain and scarring in your abdomen.


Paragard is a hormone-free IUD that is inserted into your uterus. The copper on the T-shaped rod prevents pregnancy by killing the sperm before it can reach the egg. It works for 10 years, but can be taken out at anytime.


  • No hormones
  • No mood changes or weight gain
  • Your periods will come as often as they usually do


  • Could cause your periods to be more crampy
  • You may have heavier bleeding
  • Your period could last longer than usual - this should get better in 2-3 months


Mirena is an intrauterine system that contains a hormone called progesterone. Women naturally produce progesterone just before their period begins. Progesterone makes the mucus at the cervix (the opening of your uterus) thick and the sperm cannot pass through to reach the egg. It can also thin the lining of your uterus so your periods may be very light. For some women, progesterone can stop you from releasing an egg. It works for 5 years and can be removed at anytime.


  • You might have lighter periods or no period at all - this is normal and safe


  • Irregular bleeding or spotting that is unpredictable - this normal


Skyla is like Mirena, only smaller. It contains progesterone which thickens the mucus at the cervix or the opening of the uterus. Skyla prevents the sperm from getting to the egg. It is inserted in your uterus and can work for three years.


  • Lighter periods or no period at all
  • It might fit better in your uterus if you have never been pregnant


  • You might have irregular bleeding or spotting - this is normal

Because every person is different, there can be other less common side effects to the IUD/IUSs. Call the Mesa County Public Health Clinic at (970) 248-6900 to ask more questions or visit one of the sites below: