The contraceptive coil can be one of the most reliable and convenient forms of contraception. It can be a good choice if you want a long term form of contraception that you won’t have to think about on a day to day basis.
What is a Contraceptive Coil?
The contraceptive coil is a small T-shaped implant that can be placed into your womb to prevent you getting pregnant. Two different types of coil are available:
- Intrauterine Device (IUD): the copper coil, which prevents eggs and sperm from surviving in the fallopian tubes and womb.
- Intrauterine System (IUS): the hormonal coil, which works in a similar way to the pill by releasing progestogen.
Why Choose the Contraceptive Coil?
Both types of coil are fitted in the same way and have the same advantages:
- You won’t need to remember to take a pill or think about your contraception every day
- You won’t need to pause before sex to use a condom, unless you want to protect yourself against STIs
- The contraceptive coil is more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy
- The effects will last for 5-10 years, after which a new coil can be fitted
What to Expect
The contraceptive coil needs to be fitted by a gynaecologist.
Before the coil is fitted:
- The doctor will perform an internal pelvic exam to check the size and position of your uterus so that the coil can be fitted correctly
- You may need to be tested and treated for any STIs before the coil insertion, to reduce the risk of complications
You will then be ready for the coil insertion:
- A speculum will be used to hold open the vagina
- The coil will be inserted through the cervix and into the uterus
- The doctor will then check that the coil is in the correct place by feeling for the two strings that should be hanging down from the womb
- The coil insertion can be slightly uncomfortable, but painkillers can help
- The procedure will only take about 15 minutes
- The coil will need to be checked again in about three to six weeks
What Happens Next
The contraceptive coil is a long term form of contraception that is very easy to use. Once it has been fitted:
- If you’ve had a copper coil or IUD fitted, your periods could become heavier or more irregular for a few months, but they should soon return to normal
- If you’ve had a hormonal coil or IUS fitted, your periods could get lighter. You might even stop having periods altogether.
- The copper coil protects you against pregnancy as soon as it is fitted.
- The hormonal coil will protect you straight away if it is fitted in the first week of your menstrual cycle. Otherwise it will take a week to start working.
- The coil will need to be replaced in 5-10 years when it stops working. Your gynaecologist can take it out for you.
- You can have the coil removed by your gynaecologist at any time and your fertility will return to normal.