NHS Choices - Having an IUD fitted
Your GP or clinician can advise you, based on your medical history, whether an IUD is the best method of contraception for you.
Before you have an IUD fitted, you will have an internal examination to determine the size and position of your womb. This is to make sure that the IUD can be positioned in the correct place.
You may also be tested for infection, such as sexually transmitted infections (STIs). It's best to do this before an IUD is fitted so that any infections can be treated. Sometimes, you may be given antibiotics at the same time as the IUD is fitted.
It takes about 15 to 20 minutes to insert an IUD. The vagina is held open, like it is during a cervical smear test, and the IUD is inserted through the cervix and into the womb.
The fitting process can be uncomfortable and sometimes painful. You may experience cramps afterwards.
You can ask for a local anaesthetic or painkillers, such as ibuprofen, before having the IUD fitted. Discuss this with your GP or clinician beforehand. An anaesthetic injection itself can be painful, so many women have the procedure without one.
You may get period-like pain and bleeding for a few days after having an IUD fitted. This is normal. Painkillers before and after the procedure can ease this.
Once an IUD is fitted, it will need to be checked by a doctor after three to six weeks. Speak to your GP or clinician if you have any problems after this initial check or if you want the device removed.
Also speak to your GP or clinician if you or your partner are at risk of getting an STI. This is because STIs can lead to an infection in the pelvis.
Feeling unwell after having an IUD fitted
If you feel unwell, have pain in your lower abdomen, have a high temperature or a smelly discharge after having an IUD fitted, see your GP or go back to the clinic where it was fitted as soon as you can. You may have an infection.
How to tell whether an IUD is still in place
Once fitted, an IUD has two thin threads that hang down a little way from your womb into the top of your vagina. The GP or clinician who fits your IUD will teach you how to feel for these threads and check that the IUD is still in place.
Check your IUD is in place a few times in the first month after fitting, and then after each period or at regular intervals.
It's very unlikely that your IUD will come out, but if you can't feel the threads or if you think the IUD has moved, you may not be fully protected against pregnancy. See your GP or clinician straight away and use extra contraception until your IUD has been checked. If you've had sex recently, you may need to use emergency contraception.
Your partner shouldn't be able to feel your IUD during sex. If he can feel the threads, get your GP or nurse to check that your IUD is in place. If you feel any pain during sexual intercourse, go for a check-up with your GP or clinician.