DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DR P. MARAZZI / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Contraceptive coil in situ. View inside the vagina of a 40-year-old female patient, showing an intrauterine device (IUD, coil) in place, with the strings visible emerging though the cervix. An IUD is a small contraceptive device that is inserted into the uterus in order to prevent fertilisation. It can contain either copper or levonorgestrel (synthetic progestogen hormone). Copper acts as a spermicide and copper IUDs primarily work by disrupting sperm mobility and damaging sperm so that they are prevented from joining with an egg. IUDs typically have a life on 5 years, after which they should be removed. The strings visible here are used to make it easy to check that the IUD is still in place.
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