The Pros & Cons of the Non-Hormonal IUD


Safe sex, whether with a long-term partner or a new encounter, necessitates a vital first step—understanding your options for contraceptives. Let's take a closer look at the pros and cons of the non-hormonal IUD.

non-hormonal IUD

If you’re looking to learn more about the different methods of contraception available to you, you’ve come to the right place. Before we dive in, let’s take a minute to recognize and appreciate the remarkable step you're taking towards prioritizing your safety and health. 

For women preferring a hormone-free solution, the Intrauterine Device (IUD) is usually the go-to option. It’s important to note the difference between hormonal and non-hormonal IUDs. In this resource, we’ll be focusing on the non-hormonal IUD, also known as the copper IUD or ParaGard. This small T-shaped device is inserted by a doctor through the vagina and up past the cervix into the uterus. It’s made of plastic and wrapped in copper wire, which produces a reaction that is toxic to sperm and eggs, thereby preventing pregnancy.

The IUD is attached to a thread that hangs into your vaginal canal. Don’t worry; it’s not going to stick out like a tampon string. Feeling for it with your fingers can help you make sure that the IUD is still in place, but be careful not to pull on it.

If you’re wondering if this might be the right contraceptive method for you, understanding the pros and cons of the IUD could help you make that decision. 

The Pros of the Non-Hormonal IUD

  • Using an IUD allows for spontaneous, uninterrupted sex.
  • It’s over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy. 
  • It can remain in place for up to 10 years.
  • It can be removed at any time (by a doctor) and will not affect your fertility.
  • Because it’s non-hormonal, it can be used while breast-feeding.
  • It doesn't carry the risk of side effects, such as blood clots, related to other hormonal birth control methods.
  • It’s a good option for people who prefer non-hormonal birth control or can’t use methods with hormones because of medical reasons.
  • Unlike the pill, it doesn’t require you to remember to take it every day. Once it’s in, you can almost forget about it until you want to take it out. 

The Cons of the Non-Hormonal IUD

  • While the risk of pregnancy remains low, if you are part of the less than 1% of women who get pregnant while using the IUD, you are at a high risk of ectopic pregnancy. This refers to a fertilized egg implanting outside the uterus, usually in a fallopian tube, can cause life-threatening bleeding, and needs medical care right away.
  • The IUD doesn’t offer protection from STIs. 
  • The insertion of the IUD can be mildly to moderately painful, especially for women who have not had a vaginal delivery. However, the pain subsides shortly after. If you experience prolonged discomfort or pain, consult your doctor. 
  • It can cause bleeding or spotting between periods.
  • Some women experience heavy cramping as the body gets used to the IUD being in place, mostly during the first three to six months.  
  • It can cause severe menstrual pain and heavy bleeding. These side effects aren’t unusual or necessarily a reason for concern. 
  • It's also possible to expel the IUD from your uterus. Women who have never been pregnant, have heavy or long periods, have the device inserted immediately after childbirth, or have previously expelled an IUD are at a higher risk of this. You might not feel the expulsion if it occurs.
  • There’s a 1 in 1000 chance that the IUD could go through the uterus wall and into the abdomen, which requires surgical removal.
  • Migration can happen if the uterus is torn, usually by an instrument during IUD insertion. However, these uterine perforations only occur in 0.01% of cases.
  • There is a very low risk of developing a pelvic infection or Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID). PID occurs in just 1% of women within the first 20 days after insertion and in 0.5% in the first three to six months. 
  • Non-hormonal IUDs aren't appropriate for everyone. Your doctor may discourage it if you have uterine abnormalities, a pelvic infection, uterine or cervical cancer, unexplained vaginal bleeding, and other conditions. 


If you’re not looking to get pregnant, a contraceptive method is always better than none. It’s just about finding the one that works for you, your lifestyle, and your body.

Whether and how you choose to use contraception, the decision is yours to make. Mauj is here to share as much information as possible to help you make that choice, but we also advise that you consult your medical doctor to discuss your options.  

Dr. Pocius et al., “Intrauterine Contraception: Management of side effects and complications”

Hatcher RA, Nelson AL, Trussell J, et al. “Contraceptive Technology (21st edition)”

Farley TM, Rosenberg MJ, Rowe PJ, Chen JH, Meirik O. “Intrauterine Devices and Pelvic Inflammatory Disease: An international perspective”

Heinemann K, Reed S, Moehner S. Minh TD. “Risk of uterine perforation with levonorgestrel-releasing and copper intrauterine devices in the European Active Surveillance Study on Intrauterine Devices”

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