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An IUS is a small, T-shaped plastic device that's put into your womb uterus by a doctor or nurse. It releases the hormone progestogen to stop you getting pregnant and lasts for 3 to 5 years, depending on the brand.

It thickens the cervical mucus, which makes it more difficult for sperm to move through the cervix, and thins the lining of the womb so an egg is less likely to be able to implant itself. For some people, it can also prevent the release of an egg each month ovulationbut most people continue to ovulate. If you're 45 or older when you have the IUS fitted, it can be left in until you reach the menopause or no longer need contraception. If it's fitted in the first 7 days of your cycle, you'll be protected against pregnancy straight away.

If it's fitted at any other time, use additional contraception, such as condoms, for 7 days afterwards.

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Before your IUS is fitted, a GP or nurse will check inside your vagina to check the position and size of your womb. The appointment takes about 15 to 20 minutes, and fitting the IUS should take no longer than 5 minutes:. Having an IUS fitted can be uncomfortable, and some people might find it painful, but you can have a local anaesthetic to help. Discuss this with your GP or nurse beforehand. Let the person fitting your IUS know if you feel any pain or discomfort while you are having it fitted.

You can ask to stop at any time.

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Once your IUS is fitted, you may be advised to get it checked by a GP after 3 to 6 weeks to make sure everything is fine. See a GP if you or your partner are at risk of getting an STI, as this can lead to infection in the pelvis.

An IUS has 2 thin thre that hang down a little way from your womb into the top of your vagina. Check your IUS is in place a few times in the first month and then after each period, at regular intervals. It's very unlikely that your IUS will come out, but if you cannot feel the thre or think it's moved, you may not be protected against pregnancy.

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See a GP or nurse straight away and use additional contraception, such as condoms, until your IUS has been checked. If you've had sex recently, you may need emergency contraception. Your partner should not be able to feel your IUS during sex. If they can, see a GP or nurse for a check-up. If you're not having another IUS put in and do not want to become pregnant, use additional contraception, such as condoms, for 7 days before you have it removed. Most people with a womb can use an IUS. A GP or nurse will ask about your medical history to check if an IUS is suitable contraception for you.

An IUS can usually be fitted from 4 weeks after giving birth vaginal or caesarean.

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You'll need to use alternative contraception after the birth until the IUS is put in. In some cases, an IUS can be fitted within 48 hours of giving birth. It's safe to use an IUS when you're breastfeeding, and it will not affect your milk supply. You'll be protected against pregnancy immediately.

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There's a very small chance of getting a pelvic infection in the first few weeks after the IUS has been inserted. There's a small chance that the IUS can be rejected expelled by the womb or it can move displacement.

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If this happens, it's usually soon after it's been fitted. You'll be taught how to check that your IUS is in place. In rare cases, an IUS can make a hole in the womb when it's put in. This may be painful, although there may not be any symptoms.

If the IUS fails and you become pregnant, there's also an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy.

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Find a sexual health To have it in for. If you need contraception, call your GP surgery or a sexual health clinic as soon as possible. Only go in person if asked to. Most IUSs can be left in and will continue to work for up to 6 years. If your low-dose IUS is due to be replaced and you do not want to get pregnant, use condoms or the progestogen-only pill for now. If you're under 16 and want contraception, the doctor, nurse or pharmacist will not tell your parents or carer as long as they believe you fully understand the information you're given and the decisions you're making.

Doctors and nurses work under strict guidelines when dealing with people under They'll encourage you to consider telling your parents, but they will not make you. The only time a professional might want to tell someone else is if they believe you're at risk of harm, such as abuse. The risk would need to be serious, and they would usually discuss this with you first. last reviewed: 1 April Next review due: 1 April Where to get contraception. What is emergency contraception? Where can I get emergency contraception? Emergency contraception.

Things to consider Age, health, lifestyle, side effects How effective is contraception at preventing pregnancy? Combined pill Progestogen-only pill Natural family planning fertility awareness. Condoms Female condoms Diaphragm or cap. Condoms Female condoms. Female sterilisation Vasectomy male sterilisation. Contraception after having a baby. Using contraception effectively Will antibiotics stop my contraception working?

What if my partner won't use condoms? Where can I get emergency contraception morning after pill, IUD? How effective is emergency contraception? When can I use contraception after a baby or while breastfeeding? Where can I get contraception? Missed pills and extra pills What should I do if I miss a pill combined pill?

What should I do if I miss a pill progestogen-only pill? What if I've lost a pill? What if I've taken an extra pill by accident? What if I'm on the pill and I'm sick or have diarrhoea?

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How do I change to a different pill? Will a pregnancy test work if I'm on the pill? Does the pill interact with other medicines? When will my periods return after I stop taking the pill? How do I know I've reached menopause if I'm on the pill?

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What is the male pill? It can be taken out at any time by a specially trained doctor or nurse. It's possible to get pregnant straight after it's removed. It can make your periods lighter, shorter or stop altogether, so it may help people who have heavy or painful periods.

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It can be used by people who cannot use combined contraception such as the combined pill — for example, those who have migraines. Once the IUS is in place, you do not have to think about it.

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Some people may experience side effects, such as mood swings, skin problems or breast tenderness. There's a small risk of getting an infection after it's been fitted. It can be uncomfortable when the IUS is put in, but you can take painkillers after, if you need to. The IUS can be fitted at any time during your monthly menstrual cycle, as long as you're not pregnant.

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