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There are two types of coil available for use. Both are highly effective, reliable forms of contraception.
The intrauterine contraceptive device (IUCD) also known as ‘the copper coil’ sits inside the womb (uterus). Once fitted, it can stay there for up to ten years. Most women who use an IUCD have no problems with it. Occasionally, it can make periods heavier, but it does not interfere with the body’s natural cycle.
The intrauterine system (IUS), also known as the ‘hormonal coil’, is also available in the UK. The IUS sits inside the womb. Once fitted, it works as a contraceptive for three years or five years. Most women who use an IUS have no problems with it. Many women experience a reduction in the symptoms associated with periods, and some women do not experience periods at all. It can also be used to treat heavy periods (menorrhagia).
The copper coil works mainly by making it difficult for sperm to fertilise an egg. This means it prevents sperm getting in through the cervix, and from travelling through the womb. It also makes your womb lining much less likely to accept an egg.
The hormonal coil works differently because it contains a progestogen hormone. The hormone thickens the mucus in the neck of the womb (cervix) which forms a plug to stop sperm getting through to fertilise an egg. The hormone also makes the lining of your womb very much thinner which makes it unlikely a fertilised egg will be able to implant. Also, as a consequence, it makes your periods very much lighter – indeed they may disappear altogether.
How it Works
Coil fitting is usually done towards the end of your period or shortly afterwards, as this tends to be more comfortable for you. Also, the doctor can be sure you are not pregnant. It can be fitted at any time provided you are certain you are not pregnant.
You will need to have a vaginal examination whereby the doctor will pass a small instrument into your womb (uterus) to check size and position. The coil is then fitted using a small insertion device. You will be shown how to feel the threads of the IUCD so you can check it remains in place. It is best to check the threads regularly – for example, once a month just after your period.
The procedure can be a little uncomfortable. Just after the IUS is fitted some women have cramp-like pains like period pains for a few hours. These can be eased with routine painkillers. Light vaginal bleeding for a short while is normal. Rare complications of coil fitting include infection, bleeding, expulsion and uterine perforation. You will be fully counselled about possible side effects and risks associated with coil fitting at your initial consultation.
Due to the individual nature of this service, and the individual needs of the patient, we ask that patients contact us prior to booking an appointment to discuss needs. This will allow us to give a bespoke price for the appointment.
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