Coil Fitting FAQ: Your Comprehensive Guide to Common Questions

Coil fitting, also known as intrauterine device (IUD) or Intrauterine system (IUS) insertion, is a popular long-term contraceptive method used by millions of women around the world. It offers a highly effective and reversible way to prevent pregnancy. Some coils can also be used as a form of hormone replacement therapy (HRT) to counteract menopause symptoms.  However, like any medical procedure, it can raise questions and concerns.

This article aims to address some frequently asked questions (FAQs) about coil fitting to help you make an informed decision about this contraceptive option.

What is coil fitting?

Coil fitting involves the insertion of a small, T-shaped device into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. The device, often referred to as an IUD or IUS, is made of either copper or contains hormones (progestrogen, a synthetic form of progesterone). It works by altering the uterine environment, making it unfavourable for fertilisation and implantation.

How effective is coil fitting?

Both copper and hormonal IUDs are highly effective contraceptive methods. Copper IUDs have a contraceptive failure rate of less than 1%, while hormonal IUDs have a failure rate of less than 0.1%. These rates make them among the most reliable forms of birth control available.

How is the coil fitted?

The coil fitting procedure is typically performed by a healthcare professional. It involves a speculum examination to visualise the cervix, followed by the insertion of the IUD into the uterus using a specialised inserter. The strings attached to the IUD are left hanging down through the cervix for future removal or monitoring.

Is coil fitting painful?

Most women will experience mild to moderate discomfort during coil fitting, similar to menstrual cramps.  It is true that some women find the experience more painful than others.  The majority of women find it bearable and are in and out of the appointment fairly swiftly. But we know this does not apply to everyone, and pain varies from person to person.  

At Oxona, we prioritise effective pain management to ensure your utmost comfort. Here’s how we achieve this:

  • Pre-procedure medication: We recommend taking ibuprofen (3x200mg tablets) about an hour before the procedure to minimize discomfort. Alternatively, if ibuprofen is unsuitable for you, you may take paracetamol (2x500mg tablets).
  • Time: Our extended appointment lengths allow ample time for you to ask questions; reducing anxiety and promoting relaxation, which in turn helps alleviate pain. A slow procedure can play a big part in reducing your pain, ensuring each element of the procedure is completed in a gentle manner.  We also allow the time afterwards for you to sit in the recovery room until you feel comfortable and ready to leave.

Pain relief options: We offer a range of pain relief options, including:

  • Topical local anaesthetic: Instillagel, is a topical gel containing lidocaine, a local anaesthetic. This will numb the cervix to reduce pain.
  • Gas and air (Entonox): Commonly used during childbirth, this excellent analgesic wears off quickly, making it suitable for short procedures.

Can anyone get a coil fitted?

Coil fitting is generally suitable for most women, including those who have not given birth. However, it may not be recommended for individuals with certain medical conditions or uterine abnormalities. It is essential to consult with a healthcare provider to determine if coil fitting is suitable for you.

How quickly can I get an appointment for a coil fitting?

At Oxona Health we can usually provide appointments within a week or two.  If you want the fastest coil fit service speed, then pop us a call as in some instances we can do the consultation appointment at the same time as the coil fitting procedure.  If you are looking to get the copper coil fitted as a means of emergency contraception, then it is important you ring us for an appointment. Our reception team will be able to assess suitability with a few basic questions.

How long does a coil last?

The duration of effectiveness depends on the type of IUD. Copper IUDs can remain effective for up to 10 years, while hormonal IUDs last between 3 to 6 years. It is important to keep track of the expiration date and schedule a check-up with a healthcare provider for assessment and potential replacement.

What are the side effects of a coil?

Some common side effects include cramping, irregular bleeding, and changes in menstrual patterns. With hormonal IUDs, additional side effects may include breast tenderness, acne, or mood changes. Side effects tend to be temporary and subside over time.  If you have any concerns or previous experiences of side effects of hormonal contraception it is important you discuss these with your clinician.  Our Doctors have expert knowledge of all available contraception, and will discuss your suitability for different strengths and sizes of coil.  We have in stock: Jaydess, Mirena and Kyleena.

What is the difference between Jaydess, Mirena and Kyleena?

It is not commonly understood that copper and hormonal coils come in all different strengths and sizes.  Copper coils come in a range of sizes, and different coils will be suitable for different women – this is an important discussion to have with your Doctor. Hormonal coils come in different strengths too.  Jaydess and Kyleena have a much lower dose of hormone than Mirena. The physical size of the coil and the inserter ranges hugely too. Have a look at this table as a starting point for comparison.  https://www.nhstaysideadtc.scot.nhs.uk/approved/guidance/IUD%20IUS%20device%20characteristics.pdf. It is so important to discuss this information with your prescriber to ensure you are getting the right coil for you.

Can the coil be removed?

Yes, the IUD can be removed at any time by a healthcare professional. The removal process is usually quicker and less uncomfortable than the insertion. Once the IUD is removed, fertility generally returns to normal very swiftly.  There is no empirical evidence to suggest any long term impacts on fertility.

How can I get started in assessing if the coil is right for me?

Coil fitting offers a reliable and long-term contraceptive option for women. By addressing common questions and concerns, this FAQ guide aims to provide you with a better understanding of the procedure. Remember, it is essential to consult with a healthcare professional to determine if coil fitting is the right choice for you, as individual circumstances may vary.

The process at Oxona Healthcare:

  1. Give us a ring 01865 965 027. It is normally best to speak to one of us before booking online. We can advise suitability of appointment type and ensure you are booked in at a time convenient to you and your cycle. 
  2. On the phone or face to face consultation. During this appointment the Doctor discusses your options and the procedure. Some patients will know exactly what they want, whilst others want to understand more about their options. You can also discuss your pain relief options and choices.
  3. Coil fitting procedure. These appointments take place in our Oxford, Chipping Norton or St Albans clinics. Expect the procedure to take around 30 minutes but best not to schedule anything afterwards in case it takes a bit longer or you need some time to rest.
  4. String/ thread check. This appointment is entirely optional. We recognise some women prefer the confidence in having a professional thread check, whilst others are comfortable performing this themselves.

The cost of a coil fit is £330. This fee includes all the required appointments. In addition to this the patient will need to purchase the coil, which we supply and stock at cost price. Current prices range from £20-105. 

Saturday dermatology appointments available in Oxford on 24th February.