How Long Can You Keep an IUD In?

You want a birth control option that checks a few boxes. First, you want it to prevent unplanned pregnancy. Second, you want it to require very little work on your end. Third, it should last for as long as you need protection against pregnancy.

Well, the intrauterine device (IUD) certainly ticks these boxes, offering 99% protection against pregnancy and lasting up to a decade.

Dr. Jack Tubbs and the team here at Associates in Obstetrics & Gynecology are pleased to offer IUDs as part of our family planning services. Here’s a look at why they’re so popular and how long they last, which depends upon the type of IUD and your needs.

Two different types of IUDs

An IUD is a small device that we place inside your uterus to prevent pregnancy. But how IUDs go about this can be quite different, as there are two different types of IUDs that are approved by the FDA in the United States: hormonal and copper.


This type of IUD slowly releases the hormone progestin into your system, which accomplishes two things: 1) The hormone interferes with ovulation and you don’t release eggs; and 2) The hormone thickens the mucus around your cervix, which prevents sperm from passing through.


This IUD is wrapped in copper wire, which is a natural sperm repellent.

No matter the type, getting an IUD is the same process — you simply come to our office, we insert the IUD in just minutes, and you’re free to go.

How long do IUDs last?

Now let’s get to one of the points we want to make in this blog post — how long IUDs last. As we mentioned, this depends on the type.

If you opt for the copper IUD, you can enjoy up to 10 years of protection, and you don’t need to do anything except leave it in.

As for the hormonal IUDS, the length of efficacy depends on the brand, and there are four different ones approved by the FDA. Here they are, as well as how long they provide protection:

So, the decision is really up to you as to which time frame works best for your needs.

As for how long they take to become effective, a copper IUD works immediately in preventing pregnancy while a hormonal IUD takes about a week to become fully effective.

IUDs — an entirely reversible option

The second point we want to make about IUDs is that, no matter the type, they’re completely reversible. And by reversible we mean you simply return to our office and we remove the device. Once we remove the IUD, you can become pregnant again, barring any unrelated fertility issues.

So, to answer the question we pose in the title about how long you can keep an IUD in, that answer not only depends on the IUD, but your wishes.

If you have more questions about IUDs that we can answer to help you make the right decision for your birth control needs, contact our office in Colorado Springs, Colorado, to schedule a consultation.

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