Home | Reproductive Health | Hormone Releasing Intrauterine System (IUS)

The Hormone Releasing Intrauterine System is a progesterone-releasing intrauterine system (IUS or IUD) and is a very effective contraception. It is a very small T-shaped device that is fitted into the uterus (2.8 x 2.8cm).It is approximately 99.9% effective at preventing pregnancy and is as reliable as permanent contraception i.e., vasectomy and sterilisation. However it is reversible and not permanent and may last up to 5 years. It can be removed at any time. Side effects are minimal as the device works more locally within the uterus and there is only a very small amount of progesterone hormone that passes into the bloodstream. Not only is it a very good form of contraception, the menstrual period tends to become shorter and lighter in most women and some women may stop having periods altogether. Having no period is very safe and has added health benefits. For this reason it may be used for women who suffer from heavy periods and not just for contraception.

Who is suitable for IUS?

IUS is suitable for women who:

  • Have heavy painful periods
  • Are unable to take oestrogen, eg. Breastfeeding, other
  • Wish to have effective long term reversible contraception
  • Have difficulty remembering to take oral contraceptive pill

IMPORTANT NOTE: IUS may NOT BE SUITABLE for women who have:

  • Unexplained vaginal bleeding – this requires investigation and diagnosis first
  • A recent history of PID (Pelvic Inflammatory Disease)
  • High risk of STI or are likely to have more than one sexual partner or have a partner with more than one sexual partner
  • Some uterine and cervix abnormalities
  • Have difficulties with vaginal examinations or procedures. These women may require anaesthesia for its insertion

IUS is NOT SUITABLE for women who have:

  • Recently had breast cancer
  • Some other forms of cancer

When is IUS inserted?

  • It is usually fitted within 7 days of the start of a period (any time between day 1 and day 7, day 1 being the first day of the period)
  • During the hormone-free 7-day section of the oral contraceptive pill
  • If an IUD is already in place and needs replacement, it may be inserted at any time
  • Best to wait 6-8 weeks after childbirth, miscarriage or termination (with first or second period)
  • Within 12 weeks of having Contraceptive 3 Month Injection
  • At any time if the Contraceptive Implant is currently used and the implant should be removed AFTER insertion of IUS
  • If you are breastfeeding and your periods have not yet returned (and it has been 6 weeks or more after childbirth), then IUS may be inserted at any time as long as there is abstinence of intercourse for 2 weeks before insertion

How is IUS inserted?

It involves a small procedure and may be performed at one of our centres whilst you are awake or you may choose to have an intravenous sedation and go to sleep. If you are awake, there may be varying degrees of discomfort with the insertion process. If you choose to be sedated, then it is important to fast (nothing to eat or drink) for 6 hours before your appointment and have someone to drive and escort you home. Intravenous sedation is desirable to avoid discomfort during the insertion process. Please contact us at any of our centres for more information.

For more information please download/view our IUS information sheet

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