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Private GP Services & Occupational Healthcare in Edinburgh, UK.

Is the contraceptive coil right for you?

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Posted on September 27th, 2015

When it comes to contraception, many women and teenage girls just think of condoms and the pill, but at YourGP in Edinburgh, we provide a comprehensive range of private contraception advice and care.

There are 15 types of contraception to choose from, and at YourGP, your choices include contraceptive pills and injections, as well as the most effective types of longer-lasting contraception – the implant and the contraceptive coil.

What is the contraceptive coil?

The contraceptive coil comes in two different types: the copper-based intrauterine device (IUD) and the hormonal intrauterine system (IUS).

Both types of coil are inserted into the uterus to provide long-term and effective protection against pregnancy, and if fitted correctly, they are 99% effective and last for 5-10 years.

Unlike condoms or the pill, you don’t have to remember to take it every day or think about it every time you have sex, however unlike condoms, they don’t protect against sexually transmitted infections.

What’s the difference between an IUD and an IUS?

The IUS is a small plastic device that slowly releases a hormone called progestogen, which makes the lining of your womb thinner so it’s less likely to accept a fertilised egg.

The IUD, meanwhile, is a small plastic and copper device that doesn’t contain any hormone. Simply put, the copper in the IUD stops sperm surviving in the womb and fallopian tubes.

They sound sore. Are they?

We know an IUD sounds a little like some type of weapon or explosive equipment, but it’s really not dangerous at all.

Getting a coil fitted can be uncomfortable or painful for some women, and you might want to have a painkiller beforehand or a local anaesthetic, but the pain only lasts a few seconds.

Fitting a coil takes around 15–20 minutes, and before it’s fitted, Dr Katie Cathrow, one of YourGP’s GPs with a special interest in female health issues and gynaecology, will examine you internally.

After your coil is fitted, you may experience cramps or light bleeding, but simple painkillers such as paracetamol can help ease the pain.

Are there any disadvantages to the coil?

Although the coil is 99% effective and you have the added benefit of not having to remember to take it every day – there can be some side effects that you should bear in mind.

Whether you have an IUD or IUS fitted, some women can experience longer and more painful periods, and in rare cases, some individuals can suffer from pelvic infections.

However, most women with an IUS coil will not have any cramps or indeed any periods at all – which is a great benefit – as the released hormones reduces the monthly thickening of the womb.

With the IUS, there is the chance that the hormone release could give some women headaches, acne or breast tenderness, especially as the beginning, but these are not usually ongoing. The IUD coil, however, doesn’t usually cause these side effects as it doesn’t release hormones.

Should you have ongoing side effects, the coil can be easily removed.

Is the coil right for you?

When you arrive at YourGP for your initial consultation, Dr Cathrow will assess your health circumstances and determine if the coil is the right method of contraception for you.

She will give you the full benefit of her experience and advise you on a contraceptive solution that will best suit your needs, as not all forms of contraception are right for everyone.

To find out more about the coil or any other form of contraception, or to arrange an appointment, use our online booking form, email our reception team at reception@your.gp or call us on 0131 225 5656.

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I just want to thank you for listening to me. When you are visiting the UK it can be worrying when you are unwell. You put me at ease and gave me the medical attention I needed.

Trudy – USA

YourGP is regulated by Healthcare Improvement Scotland – the regulator for independent healthcare services across Scotland. Healthcare Improvement Scotland accepts complaints at any time. Contact them at:

Independent Healthcare Team
Gyle Square | 1 South Gyle Crescent | Edinburgh | EH12 9EB
0131 623 4342 | hcis.clinicregulation@nhs.net