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ALL the different types of IUD and IUS contraceptive choices in the UK, because there’s far more than you probably realise

Contraception is a tricky subject for many reasons – access, cost, funding for research, side effects, the lack of equivalent treatment for men. 

Options like the IUD and IUS are rarely discussed and many are not aware of their benefits and availability, with many opting for the pill, even if it doesn’t work well with their body. In fact, research in 2019 found that nine in 10 English women opted for the pill, while 4.4% chose an IUD or IUS.

While there are countless contraceptive pill brands to try in order to find the right one for you, general knowledge of the different types IUD and IUS can feel fairly limited. A study found that a small proportion of people with uteruses opt for these methods of contraception, and knowledge of how it works is fairly limited.

This may lead to us choosing the wrong contraception for our bodies and not knowing enough about other options to make a good change for ourselves.

GLAMOUR has asked Sarah Welsh, gynaecologist and co-founder of sexual and intimate wellness brand Hanx, to break down everything we need to know about both types of contraceptive devices.

First of all, it’s important to understand the key difference between an IUD and an IUS – as they are often used interchangeably when talking about contraception, and they are different things. An IUD releases copper to provide contraception, and an IUS releases hormones.

With this in mind, here’s everything else you need to know about each device.

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A guide to the 4 different IUS systems

According to Sarah, an IUS is a “long-acting reversible form of hormonal contraception. A device is placed inside of the uterus to prevent pregnancy by releasing a synthetic form of a progesterone hormone called levonorgestrel into the uterus”.