Hormonal IUD

What is A Hormonal IUD?

The Hormonal IUD (intrauterine device) is one of the most effective forms of birth control with an efficacy rate of 99% in preventing pregnancy for up to five years. It is now the most commonly used form of contraception in Australia. It works by a low dose progestin released into the uterus, inhibiting sperm movement so it is more difficult to reach and fertilise the egg. It is also used to treat heavy and painful periods, reducing a period to spotting for some women and ceasing periods altogether for others.

    • Small and T-shaped

    • Made of soft, flexible plastic

    • Slow release low dose levonorgestrel, a type of progestin that is often used in birth control pills

    • Placed in your uterus by a healthcare professional who can remove it at any time in case your plans change

    • 1 IUD for 5 years vs 1,825 birth control pills for 5 years

    • Can be used whether or not you’ve had a baby

How is it inserted?

Having an insertion is similar to having a CST (Pap smear) but will take between 15 minutes and half an hour. It is usually scheduled for a time when you are not having your period but bleeding does not mean it cannot be done.

    • An ultrasound is performed to assess the size and shape of the uterus, as well as the ovaries. This helps in placement of the device

    • A speculum is inserted into the vagina. 

    • The doctor looks at the cervix and a cotton swab may be used to remove excess mucous, and a cleaning solution is applied to the cervix.

    • Sometimes an instrument is used to hold the cervix and uterus steady. It may be felt as a sharp pinch and there may be some associated cramping pains afterwards.

    • The device is advanced gently and steadily with it’s inserter until it touches the upper uterus. A cramp may be felt.

    • The inserter is withdrawn and the strings trimmed.

    • The cervix is wiped and all instruments removed.

    • The position of the device is confirmed with another ultrasound


After the procedure:

It is important to read through the information booklet given to you which includes symptoms to expect following the IUD insertion. We recommend that you do no drive for at least 15 minutes after the insertion. Very rarely, procedures on the cervix can trigger a simple faint. Provided you have no reactions to Panadol or Nurofen these can also safely be used following the insertion.

Use alternative contraception for seven days, after which the device will then be providing contraception reliably.

Looking after yourself after treatment:

    • You may have some bloodstained discharge for a couple of days, followed by streaking which may last for a couple of weeks.

    • Contact your doctor if you have any heavy bleeding, fever or smelly vaginal discharge.

    • Taking time to look after yourself includes a healthy diet, doing some exercise, getting enough sleep and not smoking. These basic lifestyle changes are the best way to stay healthy and well.

    • Dr Elgey will advise you when the device will require replacement (typically every 5 years for contraception and up to 7 years for cycle control.)

Frequently Asked Questions


Choose the Ava Fertility 5 Step Pathway

We have developed our 5 Step Pathway to fertility care that streamlines your experience and care

Step 1

See your GP for referrals. (if you have a partner to get one for them, so we can consult them!)

Step 2

Meet with us to discuss your concerns, assist you and offer advice

Step 3

We'll arrange necessary tests and investigations to help guide you

Step 4

Let's review and advise you on a suitable plan for your care

Step 5

You're on your way!

Get to know Dr Elgey

Have a listen to our podcast with Lola Berry where we discuss all things IVF

Hormone IUD




Bartholin’s Cyst




How What You Eat Can Impact Your Cycle


Understanding Male Infertility

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