Copper IUD vs Hormonal IUS

A copper IUD (intrauterine device); sometimes called a coil or copper coil is a small T-shaped plastic and copper device that is inserted into the womb. It is a low-maintenance option as it is inserted by a clinician and works for 5-10 years. It works by stopping the egg and sperm from surviving in the womb or the fallopian tubes. IUDs are more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.

The Hormonal IUS (Intrauterine System) Is a small T-shaped device made of flexible plastic. The IUS releases progestogen hormone into the womb thickening cervical mucus and preventing fertilisation of the egg and sometimes it stops ovulation. This is a long –acting and reversible contraceptive method. 

To compare contraception methods and what will work best for you, use the Contraception Choices Tool.

Copper Coil:

Most people with a womb can use an IUD.

The IUD may not be suitable if you:

  • think you might be pregnant

  • have an untreated STI or a pelvic infection

  • have problems with your womb or cervix

  • have unexplained bleeding between periods or after sex

People who have had any cardiac conditions must consult their GP or clinician before having an IUD fitted.

Hormonal IUS: 

Most people with a womb can use an IUS. 

However, the IUS may not be suitable if you have:

  • breast cancer, or have had it in the past 5 years

  • cervical cancer or womb (uterus) cancer

  • liver disease

  • unexplained bleeding between periods or after sex

  • arterial disease or a history of serious heart disease or stroke

  • an untreated sexually transmitted infection (STI) or pelvic infection

  • problems with your womb or cervix

Copper Coil:

  • It protects against pregnancy for 5 or 10 years, depending on the type.

  • The IUD is over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy 

  • Once an IUD is fitted, it works straight away.

  • An IUD is a hormonal-free method of contraceptive there are no hormonal side effects, such as acne, headaches or breast tenderness.

  • It does not interrupt sex.

  • It's safe to use an IUD if you're breastfeeding.

  • Your fertility returns as soon as the IUD is removed.

  • It's not affected by other medicines.

  • There's no evidence that an IUD will affect your weight or increase the risk of cervical cancer, womb (uterus) cancer or ovarian cancer

Hormonal IUS:

  • Long-acting form of birth control and works for between 5 and 8 years depending on the device fitted

  • It is extremely effective. 99% effective at preventing pregnancy

  • It can safely be used if you are breastfeeding 

  • Your fertility will return to normal once it is removed

  • It may make periods less heavy or painful. It can also make periods lighter and shorter and may stop altogether

Copper Coil:
  • Insertion can be painful/uncomfortable

  • Periods can become heavier, more painful and last longer. 

  • There is a small increased risk of an ectopic pregnancy if the IUD fails and you become pregnant.

  • Does not protect against STIs. If you get an STI while you have an IUD, it could lead to pelvic infection if not treated.

  • Although extremely rare, in less than 1 in 1000 cases the IUD can make a hole in the womb or the neck of the womb and will need to be removed with an operation.

  • Although rare, the IUD can be expelled from the womb (rejection) or can move. This is uncommon but is more likely to happen soon after it has been fitted.

Hormonal IUS:
  • Your periods may or stop completely.

  • In the first 3-6 months bleeding can be irregular

  • You may experience side-effects such as headaches, acne and breast tenderness after having the IUS fitted, but these tend to be temporary.

  • Does not protect against STI’s

  • If you get an infection when you have an IUS fitted, it could lead to a pelvic infection if it's not treated.

Copper Coil and IUS devices must be inserted by a clinician. Before you can be booked for an IUD fitting, you must be cleared for STIs, discuss whether it is a safe option for you with a clinician/nurse.