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HealthInfo Canterbury

Inserting an IUD or IUS (Mirena)

inserting IUDIf you decide use an IUD or IUS for contraception, you will need to make an appointment to get it inserted.

If your GP does not insert IUDs, they will refer you to another GP who does. They will write a letter to the GP, including information about any relevant previous tests you've had. This will include the results of your recent cervical smear tests.

The GP you are referred to may want you to have an extra appointment before your IUD is put in.

To make sure you are not pregnant on the date planned to fit your IUD, you must either:

Who should not have an IUD or IUS?

Please tell your GP if you:

Arranging the appointment

You will need to organise the appointment. You will probably be asked to ring the GP – check with your usual general practice whether they have made an appointment for you, or if you need to do this yourself.

What happens when the IUD is inserted?

Before the appointment

It's a good idea to take some pain relief one to two hours before your appointment. Paracetamol or an anti-inflammatory such as ibuprofen is suitable.

You should arrange to have someone you can call to come and collect you in case you feel too unwell to drive, although this is very unlikely. You might like to arrange a support person to come with you.

What happens during the appointment?

First, the doctor will want to check the size and position of your womb. They will do this by gently placing two fingers in your vagina, then placing the other hand on the lower part of your abdomen.

The doctor will then insert an instrument called a speculum into your vagina (like when you have a smear test).

They will then place a holder on your cervix to keep it steady while they move a thin instrument through your cervix into your womb. This measures the length of your uterus and opens up the cervix so the IUD can be inserted.

The doctor will then insert the IUD.

You may feel some cramping while this is happening.

After the appointment

When will I be safe from pregnancy?

Copper IUDs protect you against pregnancy as soon as they are fitted.

A Mirena IUS doesn't work as a contraceptive until seven days after it is put in (unless it was fitted within seven days of the start of your period).

Follow-up

You may have a follow-up visit six weeks after the procedure with your GP or the GP who performed the procedure. This is to check the strings from the IUD or IUS, and discuss any concerns you might have about the device.

If you have any problems before this appointment, please contact your GP or the after-hours service.

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Updated September 2016.

Page reference: 31774

Review key: HICAS-53138