Benefits of having a coil
- It is a very effective form of contraception (over 99% effective) which is immediately reversible on removal.
- They are long lasting; depending on the type fitted they can provide on-going contraception for 5-10 years.
- They contain no or a very low dose of hormones so are very good methods for women who cannot use hormones for medical reasons or who suffer from side effects of hormonal contraception.
- The mirena coil can be very helpful at reducing menstrual pain and bleeding. It may also be used as part of HRT.
Possible risks of having a coil
- The copper coil may lead to heavier or more painful periods. It is also possible to have an increase in bleeding in the few months following a mirena insertion.
- Hormonal side effects are possible with the mirena although they are very rare. In most cases they lessen after a few months. If present, these may include breast tenderness, acne, mood changes and headaches. There is also a very small increase in the risk of ovarian cysts with the mirena; most settle without any treatment.
- Following a coil insertion there is an increased risk of infection or Pelvic Inflammatory Disease. This mostly occurs in women who have chlamydia or another STI at the time of insertion. It is very important these infections are treated before your coil insertion.
- There is a small risk of perforating the womb during the insertion of a coil (about 1 in 1000 insertions).
- There is a 1 in 20 risk that a coil can fall out or be pushed out by the womb. This is most likely in the 3 months following insertion or after a heavy menstrual bleed.
- The coil is not 100% effective; there is a very small failure rate. It is also still possible to have an ectopic pregnancy while using the coil.
Preparation for Your Appointment
If you have started a new relationship in the last 6 months or think that you could be at risk of a sexually transmitted infection such as Chlamydia, you should arrange an appointment to have a swab for infection prior to your appointment for a coil fitting.
The coil fitting will last approximately 20 minutes. You will be examined to ensure that it is possible to fit the coil and a swab may be taken if there is any concern about infection. You will experience some discomfort and period like cramps during the fitting. You may wish to take some painkillers 30 minutes before attending your appointment, such as ibuprofen 400mgs (or paracetamol 1g if you are unable to take ibuprofen).
You may have some light bleeding after the fitting and so you may wish to bring some sanitary protection.You will not be able to have a coil fitted if there is any risk you could already be pregnant. Therefore it is very important you follow instructions on contraception before your period.
If you are using the hormonal contraception such as the pill, patch, injection or implant you should continue these until the day of your appointment. You will usually be advised to continue these for 7 days after your coil has been fitted.
If you are using condoms or natural family planning you should abstain from sex from the first day of your period until your coil fitting appointment. If you are attending for a change of coil then you should abstain from sexual intercourse for 7 days before the appointment.