The intrauterine device (IUD) shown uses copper as the active contraceptive; others use progesterone in a plastic device. IUDs are very effective at preventing pregnancy (less than 2% chance per year for the progesterone IUD, less than 1% chance per year for the copper IUD). IUDs pose a small increase in the risk of ectopic pregnancy and perforation of the uterus and do not protect against sexually transmitted disease. IUDs are prescribed and placed in the uterus by health care providers.
Harvey Simon, MD, Editor-in-Chief, Associate Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School; Physician, Massachusetts General Hospital.
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