The contraceptive coil is one of the less popular forms of contraception. Why, since it seems to be more convenient than constantly using condoms or making sure the pills are taken at the right time? Is it because of its bad reputation, contraindications to use, or maybe its price is simply too high?
An IUD or contraceptive coil is a type of hormonal contraception. Nowadays it is usually shaped like a T with two strings sticking out of it, which can be used to pull it out of the uterus. It is made of plastic with copper or silver, there are also models with progesterone, which gradually release this hormone in the uterus, so that the mucus in the cervix thickens, thus blocking the access of sperm to the fallopian tubes. The second way the coil works is by facilitating and accelerating the movement of the egg into the uterus, so that it is there before it has time to be fertilized in the fallopian tube. If you are interested in this method of contraception, the only way to start using it is to go to your gynecologist. It is the gynecologist who orders and installs the contraceptive coil, after first performing a series of necessary tests.
It does not happen so immediately, and in some cases you will quite have to give up the IUD. Before your doctor can determine that this method of contraception will work for you, he will need to perform a series of tests. They will check for defects in your uterus, the condition of your uterus (e.g. no tumours or myomas) and whether you are pregnant. A cytology test, a vaginal ultrasound, and sometimes a blood count will be done. The coil is inserted on the last day of your period, so you will not be able to go to your next appointment until then. This is because the cervical canal is slightly tilted and dilated, making it easier for the doctor to apply the IUD. You should be prepared for the procedure to be painful so take a painkiller half an hour before your appointment. If you have a low pain tolerance do not be afraid to ask your doctor for a local anaesthetic
The first follow-up visit is one week after the procedure. The gynecologist will ask you questions to make sure there are no side effects and will also check the placement of the IUD. The second visit is after one month and if nothing seems to worry you will see your doctor every six months.
According to research, coils are second only to the IUD in pregnancy prevention effectiveness. It is estimated to be as high as 98 percent. They are surpassed only by oral hormonal contraception, the biggest drawback of which is, first of all, regularity. Many women forget to take their medication at a fixed time, which unfortunately reduces the effectiveness of this method of contraception. Not every woman also wants to take hormones. In this case, standard, non-hormonal IUDs are a great solution. Of course, it is also worth mentioning the unsuccessful two percent. Most often these are cases when it has not been a month since the insertion of the coil – then its effectiveness is slightly lower. The best solution to this problem is simply to use additional contraception, for example, condoms. They do not interfere with each other in any way!
The coil is rarely recommended for women who have not yet given birth, but want to have children in the future. Why? The traditional IUD causes inflammation of the uterus, in addition, during its application there is a possibility of damaging the cervix. However, everything depends on the doctor to whom you go on this matter – many specialists in gynecology no longer consider that the IUD can be used only in persons after childbirth. Especially for young women, a version of the IUD with a limited amount of hormones has been developed, which will work perfectly in this case. If you choose the copper IUD, you may find that your bleeding becomes heavier instead of lighter. In addition, your skin may get worse, your periods may stop altogether and you may experience discharge. Remember, however, that the IUD has an advantage over other methods of contraception in that… You can have the IUD removed at any time and your fertility will be restored immediately. Although IUDs are used for several years, if you change your plans to have children during that time, you can actually go straight to trying to get pregnant!
Read also Birth control pills – what do you need to know before you take your first pill?
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