The Contraceptive Coil or IUD (Intrauterine device is a simple and effective contraceptive option for women who do not wish to get pregnant.
The Contraceptive Coil works by preventing sperm reaching the egg (ova).
The Contraceptive Coil is a small T-shaped plastic and copper device that’s inserted into your womb (uterus) by a specially trained Private GP or Gynaecologist at 3fivetwo.
The Contraceptive Coil is a long-acting reversible contraceptive method. This means that once it's in place you don't have to think about it each day or each time you have sex. There are several types and sizes of Contraceptive Coil.
What do I need to know about the Contraceptive Coil?
- There are different types of Contraceptive Coil, some with more copper than others and some which are hormone based. Contraceptive Coil’s with more copper are more than 99% effective.
- The Contraceptive Coil works as soon as it's put in, and lasts for five to 10 years, depending on the type.
- It can be put in at any time during your menstrual cycle, as long as you're not pregnant.
- It can be removed at any time and you'll quickly return to normal levels of fertility.
- Changes to your periods (for example, being heavier, longer or more painful) are common in the first three to six months after the Contraceptive Coil is put in, but they're likely to settle down after this. You might get spotting or bleeding between periods.
- There's a very small chance of infection within 20 days of the Contraceptive Coil being fitted.
- There's a small risk that your body may expel the Contraceptive Coil.
- If you get pregnant, there's an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy (when the egg implants outside the womb). But because you're unlikely to get pregnant, the overall risk of ectopic pregnancy is lower than in women who don't use contraception.
- The Contraceptive Coil may not be suitable for you if you've had previous pelvic infections. Our Private GPs or Gynaecologists will discuss this with you at your appointment.
- The Contraceptive Coil does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). By using condoms as well as the Contraceptive Coil you'll help to protect yourself against STIs.
The Contraceptive Coil needs to be checked three to six weeks after it has been placed. Speak to your Doctor or Gynaecologist if you have any problems before or after this first check or if you want the Contraceptive Coil removed.
See your GP or Gynaecologist if you:
- have pain in your lower abdomen
- have a high temperature
- have a smelly discharge
These may mean you have an infection.
Who can use the Contraceptive Coil?
Most women can use an Contraceptive Coil. This includes women who have never been pregnant and those who are HIV positive. Your doctor or nurse will ask about your medical history to check if the Contraceptive Coil is the most suitable form of contraception for you.
You should not use an IUD if you have:
- an untreated STI or a pelvic infection
- problems with your womb or cervix
- any unexplained bleeding from your vagina, for example between periods or after sex
You should not be fitted with the Contraceptive Coil if there's a chance that you are already pregnant or if you or your partner are at risk of catching STIs.
Using the Contraceptive Coil after giving birth
The Contraceptive Coil can usually be fitted four to six weeks after giving birth (vaginal or caesarean). You'll need to use alternative contraception from three weeks (21 days) after the birth until the Contraceptive Coil is fitted. In some cases, the Contraceptive Coil can be fitted within 48 hours of giving birth. The Contraceptive Coil is safe to use when you're breastfeeding and it won't affect your milk supply.
Using the Contraceptive Coil after a miscarriage or abortion
The Contraceptive Coil can be fitted straight away or within 48 hours after an abortion or miscarriage by an experienced doctor or nurse, as long as you were pregnant for less than 24 weeks. If you were pregnant for more than 24 weeks, you may have to wait a few weeks before having the Contraceptive Coil fitted.
Advantages and disadvantages of the Contraceptive Coil
Although the Contraceptive Coil is an effective method of contraception, there are some things to consider before having one fitted.
Advantages of the Contraceptive Coil
- most women can use the Contraceptive Coil, including women who have never been pregnant
- once the Contraceptive Coil is fitted, it works straight away and lasts for up to 10 years or until it's removed
- it doesn't interrupt sex
- it can be used if you're breastfeeding
- your normal fertility returns as soon as the Contraceptive Coil is taken out
- it's not affected by other medicines
Disadvantages of the Contraceptive Coil
- Your periods may become heavier, longer or more painful, though this may improve after a few months.
- The Contraceptive Coil doesn't protect against STIs, so it is advised that you use condoms as well. If you get an STI while you have the Contraceptive Coil, there is a potential risk that it could lead to a pelvic infection if not treated.
Patients will need an initial consultation to discuss risks and to ensure cervical screening tests (Smear Test) are up-to-date. A negative chlamydia result is also required.
You can check with your existing GP for your latest Cervical Screening (Smear Test). Patients can have a chlamydia test with their own GP before attending your appointment at 3fivetwo or a test can be requested at the Private GP appointment. Please be aware additional costs will apply for this test.
Patients having the Contraceptive Coil fitted should abstain from sexual intercourse for two weeks prior or use barriers, i.e. Condoms, if they are not on the Contraceptive Pill.
A pregnancy rest will also be checked at the consent stage to ensure you are not pregnant before the Contraceptive Coil is placed.