Get it, forget it

The Coil (IUD)

The coil

The coil or IUD (intrauterine device) is a small T-shaped plastic and copper device that is fitted into the womb (uterus) by a specially trained doctor or nurse.  It can last for five to ten years, depending on the type of IUD. The IUD works by stopping the sperm and egg from surviving in the womb or fallopian tubes. It may also prevent a fertilised egg from implanting in the womb.


The IUD is a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) method. This means that once it's in place, you don't have to think about it each day or each time you have sex. It doesn’t interrupt sex and it works straight away after being fitted.

It is over 99% effective, one of the most effective contraceptive methods available.

  • There are several types and sizes of IUD.
  • Most women can use an IUD, including women who have never been pregnant.
  • It can be used if you're breastfeeding.
  • Your normal fertility returns as soon as the IUD is taken out
  • It's not affected by other medicines.
  • There's no evidence that having an IUD fitted will increase the risk of cervical, uterine or ovarian cancers.
  • There is no evidence that the IUD affects weight.

To find out more about the IUD, visit the NHS Choices website