IS AN IUD RIGHT FOR ME?

 We are a friendly, female-staffed clinic providing IUD insertions in Toronto.  No referral needed – we have same-day appointments and also take walk-ins. You can bring your own IUD, or you can get an IUD here. Cost varies depending on the type of IUD you want and the kind of insurance coverage you have.

 What are the benefits of an IUD?

 An IUD is a form of Long Acting Reversible Contraception, or LARC. Once you put the IUD in, you can leave it in place for years. When you are ready to get pregnant, you can have your IUD removed, and you should be able to get pregnant right away.  Most IUDs can be used for 5 years before they need to be changed; some IUDs can last up to ten years.

 IUDs have other benefits besides preventing unplanned pregnancies.  Hormonal IUDs, such as Mirena and Kyleena, also make periods lighter and less painful; about half of women stop getting their periods altogether!   The copper IUD can be used for emergency contraception for up to seven days after unprotected sex.

 Is an IUD safe if I’ve never been pregnant before?  

 Yes!  In the past, doctors thought that an IUD should only be used by women who have already had children.  However, these days , the IUD has become the first contraceptive choice for teenagers and young women and is recommended by the Canadian Paediatric Society. It is recognized as a very safe and effective form of birth control for women who have not been pregnant, and especially younger women and girls who have a hard time remembering to take a pill every day, or who don’t want their parents to know that they are on birth control.  

 Who shouldn’t have an IUD?

 You are not a good candidate for a copper IUD if you have a very distorted shape to your uterus, such as a bicornuate (heart shaped) uterus, or fibroids.  Also, if you have unexplained vaginal bleeding then it is important that the cause of the bleeding is figured out before you get an IUD.  If you have a current infection of your uterus and other pelvic organs then it will need to be treated before the IUD is inserted.   Having a pregnancy greater then 1 week from conception is also a reason that you can’t get an IUD.

 If you have a history of an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy, or if you are at increased risk for a tubal pregnancy (known PID or pelvic surgery), you will still be at increased risk for an ectopic pregnancy, even with an IUD.

 There may be some other reasons why an IUD is not right for you, or why one kind of IUD would work better than another.  You can discuss your options with our medical team at the time of your appointment.

 When I can I get an IUD inserted?

 You can get an IUD inserted at any time during your menstrual cycle (at any time during the month) as long as you are sure that you aren’t pregnant!  We recommend getting your IUD while you are having your period; this means that you are sure that you are not pregnant.  You can also get an IUD put in after an abortion, or after giving birth. You can ovulate and get pregnant again 8-10 days after an abortion, so the sooner you get your IUD, the better. Both the copper and hormonal IUDs are safe to use during breastfeeding.

 How do I choose between a copper IUD or a hormonal IUD?

 Both kinds of IUDs are easy, safe and up to 99% effective.  There are some differences that you should know about so that you can pick the IUD that is right for you: 

Copper IUD

Hormonal IUD

Many different brands including: Flexi-T, Mona Lisa, Liberte, etc;

Most last for five years; some last for ten years

Associated with slightly heavier and more painful periods

Can be used for emergency contraception up to seven days after unprotected sex

Not available by prescription at most pharmacies; can be purchased at our clinic for $120.00

Not covered by most drug plans

Types include:

Mirena - good for five years, slightly higher hormones

Kyleena - smaller, good for five years, slightly lower hormones

Associated with lighter periods; sometimes periods stop completely

Does not work for emergency contraception

Available by prescription at most pharmacies; full cost is $300 - $500

Covered by most drug plans including OHIP+ and ODB


How does it feel when I get an IUD?  It is painful?

Most women experience mild to moderate cramping at the time of the IUD insertion.  It may help to take an anti-inflammatory such as Ibuprofen thirty minutes before the procedure.  Some women feel faint or nauseated after having an IUD inserted; this usually lasts only a few minutes.  We will ask you to wait in our post-procedure waiting area for about ten minutes after getting an IUD to make sure that you are feeling okay.  Cramping is generally mild and can last from hours to a few days, along with some light vaginal bleeding.

 

I already tried to get an IUD but the health-care provider failed to insert it.  What should I do now?

Most of the time putting in an IUD is easy, but sometimes the provider may have difficulty: this may be due to the shape of your uterus, or simply because you have a tight cervical os (the opening between the cervix and the uterus).  The benefit of having an IUD at our clinic is that we can use real-time ultrasound to check the position of your uterus and to make sure that the IUD is in the right place.  We can also try some different techniques such as softening the cervix before the insertion using medication.

 

After I get an IUD, how do I know that it is still in the right place?  What do I do if it falls out?

After the IUD is inserted, the strings attached to the end are cut at about 2-3 cm length.  If you put your finger into your vagina and feel your cervix, then you should be able to feel the strings. (With time these will become soft and wrap around the edge of the cervix.)   The greatest risk for expelling the IUD is in the first month, although it can come out at any time.  

If you can’t feel the strings, or if the strings feel too long, then you should come in for an assessment. Also, if you have a hormonal IUD (Mirena or Kyleena) then you should get a check before six weeks has passed.  If your IUD falls out in the first six weeks then the manufacturer will replace it for free, otherwise you’ll need to buy a new one.  Having said that, the IUD is a highly effective form of birth control and most women do NOT have a problem with the IUD falling out or being expelled.

 

If you have more questions about the IUD, or if you would like to arrange an appointment for and IUD insertion, then click the CONTACT US link above or call the clinic at 416-849-4595

If you are a health care provider and would like to refer your patient for an IUD insertion you can use this IUD REFERRAL FORM