Which IUD Should You Get?

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Last month, a new type of intrauterine device, or IUD, called Kyleena joined the other four on the market. Lots of women love their IUD because it’s a set-it-and-forget-it method that’s more than 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy, which lasts for years but that you can have a doctor remove at any time. So which one is best for you?

The five kinds all work roughly the same way: They thicken cervical mucus so sperm can’t enter the uterus to fertilize an egg. In the rare event that some mighty swimmers do get past the cervix, the IUD’s active ingredient (either copper or synthetic progesterone) makes it more difficult for them to travel through the uterus and tubes toward an egg.

Insertion is the same with all of them: not comfortable, exactly, but usually manageable. But the devices have different amounts of hormones — or none at all — and will change your periods in different ways. Among the hormonal IUDs, the higher the hormone amount, the more likely it is that your period will stop after six months to a year. Here’s how they compare to each other.

Here’s a handy chart with the dosing and approval length for each IUD.

*Additional studies show that the devices are effective even longer than originally approved for: 12 years for ParaGard, seven years for Mirena, and five years for Liletta.

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