The type of contraception you choose is a very personal choice, and there are many different options to choose from; from condoms to the pill, the implant, contraceptive injections, or a natural planning method based on your period cycle. One popular choice for many women is the coil, but some people can feel nervous at the thought of a device being inserted. Making sure you’re fully informed is one way to quell these fears, and there are many benefits to be gained from choosing this type of contraception.

If you’d like to know more about the coil, how it works, and the pros and cons of choosing this contraceptive method, see below for our brief guide.

What is the coil?

Also known as an intravenous uterine device (IUD), the coil is a small T-shaped copper device, around the size of a matchstick, which is inserted into the womb by a doctor or nurse. Coils are around 99% effective when inserted correctly, and they last for between five and 10 years before they need to be removed or replaced.

How does it work?

Instead of hormones, the coil releases copper into the womb to prevent pregnancy. Copper alters the cervical mucus which makes it much more difficult for a sperm to fertilize an egg, as well as making it almost impossible for a fertilized egg to implant itself.

How is it inserted?

A coil can be inserted at any point during your menstrual cycle, as long as you’re not already pregnant. Before the fitting, a GP or nurse will check the size and position of your womb, and you’ll be tested for any existing infections and given antibiotics if necessary.

Fitting the coil takes around five minutes, and the doctor or nurse will insert it through the cervix and into the wall of the womb. It can be slightly uncomfortable, but you can arrange to have a local anaesthetic if you wish. You’ll also be asked to return for a follow appointment three to six weeks later, to check the coil is properly in place with no issues.

Pros and cons

As stated, the type of contraception you choose is a highly personal choice, and some methods will suit certain people more than others. There are several advantages to choosing the coil, including the fact that it’s long lasting and can be left for up to 10 years without needing to be changed or removed.

There are also no hormonal side effects from using the coil, which means it’s also safe to use while breastfeeding.

However, some people find that the coil can make their periods heavier, longer and more painful, and if you develop an infection while it’s being fitted, this can then lead to a pelvic infection if left untreated.

If you’d like more information about the coil, or want to book an appointment to have it fitted, get in touch with Duality Health. We offer contraceptive consultations, coil removal, implant insertion or removal, and private cervical screenings, so we’ve got all your contraception needs covered. To find out more or to make an appointment with us, give us a call today or visit our website.