Conveniently located in Woburn, MA and Wilmington, MA

Understanding the Different Types of IUDs

An intrauterine device (IUD) is an excellent option for long-term birth control. The device sits in your uterus and prevents pregnancy in multiple ways.

There are several options for an IUD, and you should know everything about them before choosing one. Each type of IUD works well, but they may come with certain risks.

At New England Women's Healthcare, our team of OB/GYN doctors helps you decide on the correct form of birth control for your needs. Our doctors answer any questions you have about birth control and guide you in your decision.

What is an IUD?

An intrauterine device (IUD) is a form of birth control that sits in the uterus and contains hormones or copper. Hormonal IUDs release levonorgestrel, a hormone that prevents pregnancy.

The hormone alters several aspects of the reproductive system, keeping sperm from penetrating the egg. It thickens cervical mucus, which sperm can't swim through, and sometimes prevents the ovary from releasing an egg. Without an egg, the sperm have nothing to fertilize, meaning no pregnancy. 

If an egg is released, the copper IUD makes it impossible for the sperm to reach the egg. Sperm don't like copper, meaning they avoid the uterus at all costs.

The IUD is an excellent option if you're not looking to have children for several years. They last 3-10 years, depending on the brand you use and your body.

Also, an IUD doesn't require you to remember to do anything – it simply sits in your uterus and provides pregnancy protection for years. Placing the IUD is a simple in-office procedure; you can go about your day as usual afterward.

Types of IUDs

There are several brands of IUDs that we offer to prevent pregnancy. The FDA has approved the following five for use in pregnancy prevention:


The Mirena® IUD is a hormonal form of birth control that prevents pregnancy by helping your body ovulate less. This thickens the cervical mucus and prevents sperm from reaching and penetrating an egg.

You get up to seven years of pregnancy prevention with the Mirena IUD, and it comes with minimal side effects, such as irregular cycles or spotting between periods.


Paragard® is nonhormonal and works by creating an unpleasant environment in the uterus for sperm. The copper coil around the IUD creates inflammation in the uterus, which is harmful to sperm.

The significant benefits of the Paragard IUD are that it prevents pregnancy for up to 10 years, and you can also use it as a type of emergency contraception. However, we must insert the Paragard IUD within five days of unprotected sex for it to be effective.


Skyla® is another hormonal IUD that prevents pregnancy in similar ways as Mirena, but it’s suitable for pregnancy prevention for only three years. We then need to replace it to ensure you don't get pregnant.


The Skyla IUD also has some side effects, such as painful periods, ovarian cysts, and uterine inflammation.


Liletta® is another hormonal IUD that works by releasing levonorgestrel (LNG) into your body slowly, which prevents pregnancy. It's incredibly similar to the way the other hormonal IUDs work.

Liletta works for six years and comes with side effects such as cramping, spotting, and weight gain, although not everyone experiences these effects.


The Kyleena® IUD releases LNG into your body to thicken cervical mucus and decrease ovulation. It lasts five years and is one of the newer types of IUDs.

Kyleena also has some possible side effects, which include acne, breast pain, and vaginal discharge or itching. These are only possible effects and vary from person to person.

Determining which IUD is right for you depends on whether you want a hormonal or nonhormonal option, and how long you want it to work.

To find out which IUD works for you, don't hesitate to call our team at our Woburn or Wilmington, Massachusetts, offices or request an appointment here on the website.

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