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(intrauterine contraceptive device) a plastic or metal coil, spiral, or other shape, about 25 mm long, that is inserted into the cavity of the uterus to prevent conception. Its exact mode of action is unknown but it is thought to interfere with implantation of the embryo. Early IUCDs (such as the Lippes loop) were made of plastic; later variants (such as the Gravigard) are covered with copper, which slowly dissolves and augments the contraceptive action. About one-third of women fitted with an IUCD find the side-effects (heavy menstrual bleeding or back pain) unacceptable, but most have no complaints. The unwanted pregnancy rate is about 2 per 100 woman-years. If pregnancy should occur there is normally no need to remove the device (it may, however, be shed spontaneously). See also ius, postcoital contraception.

Subjects: Medicine and Health.

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