Also know as the coil, IUD is a small plastic and copper T shaped device that is fitted in the womb. It can be fitted up to 5 days after unprotected sex.

How an IUD works

The main way an IUD works is to stop sperm reaching an egg. It does this by preventing sperm from surviving in the cervix, womb or fallopian tubes. It may also work by stopping a fertilised egg from implanting in the womb.

IUD does NOT cause an abortion.

Where to get an IUD

The Emergency IUD can only be fitted by a trained doctor or nurse and therefore is usually only available from:

  • CASH (Contraceptive & Sexual Health Clinic)
  • Some GPs that provide Contraceptive Services
  • Some Young People's Clinics
  • Some GUM Clinics


Unlike the IUD, the IUS is plastic only. It is is a small plastic device which is inserted into the uterus and slowly releases a hormone called progestogen which is similar to the natural progesterone produced in the ovaries of a female.

How an IUS works

It makes the lining of the uterus thinner so it is less likely to accept a fertilised egg. It also thickens the mucus in the cervix to make it harder for a sperm to reach an egg. Most females who use an IUS still continue to ovulate, although this may stop for some.

The IUS is over 99% effective but the effectiveness does depend on how old you are, how often you have sex and how well the instructions are followed.

Where to get an IUS

It is likely that a trained doctor or nurse at your surgery will be able to fit the IUS for you or you can contact the local family planning clinic to check whether they provide the service. It works for up to 5 years.

The difference between an IUD and an IUS

IUS is a small plastic device that contains a hormone. The IUD is a small plastic and copper device that doesn't contain any hormone.

Long acting reversible contraception (LARCs)

There are many long acting reversible contraception methods that can be used as a form of contraception (e.g. implant, injection and the IUD/IUS). The main differences between these methods and other methods of contraception are that they are long-lasting, easily reversed and you don't have to remember to take it every day.

All LARC methods are suitable for women of all ages. Other types of LARCs include: