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Health Matters Fact Sheets

Is the Non-Hormonal IUD Right for You?

(Updated July 2013)

The intrauterine device (IUD) is a form of birth control. It is shaped like a tiny “T” and made of soft but strong plastic. Your health care provider places it in your uterus (womb) to keep you from getting pregnant.

Getting the IUD is quick and simple. It can be done in an office or clinic. As the IUD goes in, you may feel cramping or pinching.

The Copper T IUD (ParaGard®) contains copper. It does not contain hormones.

Here are some facts to help you decide if this form of birth control is right for you.

The Copper T IUD works very well — and for a long time

  • Less than 1 out of 100 women get pregnant while using it. It works just as well as having your tubes tied. But your health care provider can remove it at any time.
  • The Copper T IUD starts working right away. It keeps working for up to 12 years.

The Copper T IUD can change your period

The Copper T IUD can make your period heavier and increase cramps.
This usually lessens over time.

The Copper T IUD won’t get in your way

There will be some thin threads inside your vagina. These threads won’t get urine on them. They won’t get in the way of having sex or wearing a tampon.

The Copper T IUD needs little care

  • The Copper T IUD is easy to use. You won’t need to think about birth control each day or each time you have sex.
  • Check your vagina once a month to make sure the threads are still in place. In rare cases, the IUD can slip out of place. This is more likely to happen if you’ve never had a baby.
  • Use a condom to protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

To learn more about the Copper T IUD

Ask your health care provider if the Copper T IUD is right for you. To compare it to other forms of birth control, go to

This fact sheet was made possible by an educational grant from Teva Pharmaceuticals.