How is an IUD fitted?
You will need to book an appointment with your doctor or at a contraceptive clinic. This appointment will usually include:
A few questions about your medical and family history, to work out what method would suit you best.
An internal examination – a doctor or nurse will look inside your vagina to check the position and size of your uterus before the IUS can be fitted. This is called a sound.
They will also check for any signs of infection and sometimes you may also be given antibiotics.
Some services may be able to fit the IUD at the same appointment, or you may need a second appointment.
The appointment usually takes about 20 to 30 minutes, and fitting the IUD should take no longer than 5 minutes:
The vagina is held open using a speculum, like it is during a smear test.
The IUD is inserted through the cervix and into the womb.
You may get period-type cramps afterwards, but painkillers can ease the cramps. This usually disappears within a few days. You may also bleed for a few days after having an IUD fitted. If you experience severe pain or heavy bleeding after the IUD is inserted, or if pain/bleeding persists for more than a few weeks, please make an appointment to see your doctor or nurse.
Once your IUD has been fitted, you may be offered a check-up by a GP after 3 to 6 weeks to make sure everything is fine. Tell the GP if you have any problems after this initial check or you want to have it removed.
An IUD is prescribed and fitted by a trained healthcare professional.
You can get the IUD for free, even if you're under 16, from:
Sexual health or genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics
Some young people's services
Getting your IUD taken out is pretty quick and simple. A health care provider gently pulls on the threads with forceps. The IUD arms will fold up as it slides through the opening of the cervix.
An IUD (Intrauterine Device) insertion is usually well tolerated by most women. Local anaesthesia may be applied to the cervix prior to the insertion. Some women may experience pain and dizziness after insertion, which usually settles after resting for a short time.
PP-UN-WHC-GB-0074 September 2023