How the Coil Works

How it prevents pregnancy

There are two types of coil: the intrauterine device (IUD) and the intrauterine system (IUS).

The IUD coil is a copper coil and it works by releasing copper to prevent the sperm from surviving.

The IUS is the Mirena hormone coil and it works by releasing the hormone progesterone to prevent the egg being released. There are many sizes and types of both IUD and IUS coils to suit different women.


At your IPSA coil consultation

A female IPSA physician will see you at once for your coil consultation. Working holistically and in a client-centred way, she will give you a full-length consultation to discuss the different forms of contraception with you, and will encourage you to ask questions about contraception, and with your input, a decision will be made on the most suitable mode of contraception to suit your individual circumstances. Your female IPSA practitioner is skilled at family planning, and understands that privacy and a conducive setting are important aspects that make it a calm and stress-free experience for you.

Your IPSA physician will give you a pregnancy test to rule out any contraindications for contraception, you will be booked to have your coil fitted at a date that is convenient for you, and you will be offered a 6-week review, post coil insertion, by your IPSA physician.

Depending on the type of coil, it can remain in the womb for between 5 and 10 years. If, when you have your coil fitted, you are 40 or over, the coil can be left in place until you reach the menopause or until you no longer require any contraception.


Having a coil fitted

As long as you are not pregnant, a coil can be fitted at any time during your menstrual cycle. You will be protected against unwanted pregnancies straight away.


Where can I get my coil put in?

Prior to fitting the coil at your IPSA clinic, the position and size of your womb needs to be determined through an internal examination to ensure that the coil can be put in the correct position. At this point, you may be tested for any infections such as sexually transmitted infections (STIs), as it is best to treat any infections that you may have before the coil is fitted. You may sometimes be prescribed antibiotics at the same time as your coil is fitted.

The coil takes approximately 15–20 minutes to insert. As with a cervical smear test, your vagina is held open for the process, and the coil is then inserted into your womb through the cervix.

As the fitting process can sometimes be a little uncomfortable, you can request painkillers or a local anaesthetic prior to the coil being fitted. You may also experience some cramps following the fitting.

After three to six weeks of the coil being fitted, it needs to be checked by your doctor.

If, after having your coil fitted, you do experience any of the following symptoms, then see your IPSA doctor or return to the clinic where you had your coil fitted as soon as possible, as these symptoms can mean that you have an infection:

  • Pain in your lower abdomen
  • A high temperature
  • A smelly discharge


Copper coils (IUDs)

If a man’s sperm reaches one of your eggs (ova) then you can get pregnant. The idea behind contraception (family planning) is to stop the sperm reaching the egg by either preventing the egg and sperm from meeting or by stopping the eggs from being produced. The intrauterine device or IUD (sometimes this is called a coil) is one method of contraception.

A specially trained IPSA doctor inserts the IUD (which is a small T-shaped copper and plastic device) into your uterus (womb).

The IUD functions by stopping the egg and sperm from surviving in the fallopian tubes or the womb. It can also stop a fertilised egg from implanting itself in the womb.

As a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) method, once the IUD is in place, you will no longer have to think about using contraception each time you have sex.

IUDs come in several different sizes and types.

You can use an IUD whether you have had children or not.

At a glance: Facts about the IUD

  • Different types of IUD are used with some having more copper than others do. The IUDs with a higher percentage of copper are over 99% effective.
  • An IUD will last for between 5 and 10 years (depending on what type has been inserted) and it is effective immediately.
  • As long as you are not pregnant at the time of fitting, the IUD It can be inserted at any time during the menstrual cycle.
  • A specially trained nurse or doctor can remove your coil at any time. You will return rapidly to a normal fertility level following removal.
  • Your periods will settle down after three to six months, but they may well be longer, more painful or heavier for those first few months after fitting. Spotting or bleeding between periods can also occur.
  • Within the first 20 days following fitting, there is a very small chance of you getting an infection.
  • There is a risk that the IUD may be expelled by your body.
  • There is an increased risk of the egg implanting outside of the womb (an ectopic pregnancy). However, as you are unlikely to get pregnant with an IUD fitted, the overall ectopic pregnancy risk is lower than in women who do not use any contraception.
  • If you have experienced previous pelvic infections, then an IUD may not be suitable for you.
  • You are not protected against STIs with an IUD. Protect yourself against STIs by also using a condom.

If you are considering having a coil fitted, then book your IPSA same-day coil consultation today.
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