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What Are The Side Effects of an IUD?

Reviewed on 11/30/2018

Ask a Doctor

I had to quit taking hormonal birth control because it really killed my libido. Now I’m looking for other options and I want to find out more about intrauterine devices. What are the side effects of an IUD?

Doctor’s Response

Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are tiny, implantable contraceptive devices that are about 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. Advantages are that they are long-term and reversible, and there is no concern for user error as they are inserted by a physician.

IUDs can have some side effects, but most will go away in about 3–6 months, once your body gets used to the device. Side effects of IUDs include:

  • Pain when the IUD is inserted
  • Backaches or cramping the first few days after an IUD is put in
  • Spotting between periods
  • Irregular or heavy bleeding
  • Acne
  • Excess hair growth
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Mood changes
  • Weight gain

Serious side effects of IUDs are uncommon but may include the IUD slipping out of the uterus (which can result in pregnancy), infection (may occur if bacteria gets into the uterus when the device is inserted), and rarely, perforation of the wall of the uterus.

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Reviewed on 11/30/2018
References
Planned Parenthood. What are the disadvantages of IUDs? 2018. 10 November 2018 .

Pocius, MD, MPH, Katherine D and Deborah A Bartz, MD, MPH. Intrauterine contraception: Management of side effects and complications. 18 October 2018. 10 November 2018 .
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