Contraception guide

IUD (intrauterine device)

A woman can get pregnant if a man’s sperm reaches one of her eggs (ova). Contraception tries to stop this by keeping the egg and sperm apart or by stopping eggs being produced. One method of contraception is the intrauterine device, or IUD (sometimes called a coil).

An IUD is a small T-shaped plastic and copper device that’s inserted into your womb (uterus) by a specially trained doctor or nurse. 

The IUD works by stopping the sperm and egg from surviving in the womb or fallopian tubes. It may also prevent a fertilised egg from implanting in the womb.

The IUD is a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) method. This means that once it's in place you don't have to think about it each day or each time you have sex. There are several types and sizes of IUD.

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

At a glance: facts about the IUD

  • There are different types of IUD, some with more copper than others. IUDs with more copper are more than 99% effective. This means that fewer than one in 100 women who use an IUD will get pregnant in one year. IUDs with less copper will be less effective. 
  • An IUD works as soon as it's put in, and lasts for five to 10 years, depending on the type.
  • It can be put in at any time during your menstrual cycle, as long as you're not pregnant.
  • It can be removed at any time by a specially trained doctor or nurse and you'll quickly return to normal levels of fertility.
  • Changes to your periods (for example, being heavier, longer or more painful) are common in the first three to six months after an IUD is put in, but they're likely to settle down after this. You might get spotting or bleeding between periods. 
  • There's a very small chance of infection within 20 days of the IUD being fitted. 
  • There's a risk that your body may expel the IUD.
  • If you get pregnant, there's an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy (when the egg implants outside the womb). But because you're unlikely to get pregnant, the overall risk of ectopic pregnancy is lower than in women who don't use contraception. 
  • Having the IUD put in can be uncomfortable. Ask the doctor or nurse about pain relief.
  • An IUD may not be suitable for you if you've had previous pelvic infections.
  • The IUD does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). By using condoms as well as the IUD you'll help to protect yourself against STIs.

How the IUD works

How it prevents pregnancy

Having an IUD fitted

How to tell whether an IUD is still in place

Removing an IUD

How it prevents pregnancy

The IUD is similar to the IUS (intrauterine system) but works in a different way. Instead of releasing the hormone progestogen like the IUS, the IUD releases copper. Copper changes the make-up of the fluids in the womb and fallopian tubes, stopping sperm surviving there. IUDs may also stop fertilised eggs from implanting in the womb.

There are types and sizes of IUD to suit different women. IUDs need to be fitted by a trained doctor or nurse at your GP surgery, local contraception clinic or sexual health clinic.

An IUD can stay in the womb for five to 10 years depending on the type. If you're 40 or over when you have an IUD fitted, it can be left in until you reach the menopause or until you no longer need contraception.

Having an IUD fitted

An IUD can be fitted at any time during your menstrual cycle, as long as you are not pregnant. You'll be protected against pregnancy straight away.

Before you have an IUD fitted, you will have an internal examination to find out the size and position of your womb. This is to make sure that the IUD can be put in the correct place.

You can get contraception at:

  • most GP surgeries
  • community contraception clinics
  • some GUM clinics
  • sexual health clinics
  • some young people's services

Find a clinic near you

You may also be tested for infections, such as STIs. It's best to do this before an IUD is fitted so that you can have treatment (if you need it) before the IUD is put in. Sometimes, you may be given antibiotics at the same time as the IUD is fitted.

It takes about 15 to 20 minutes to insert an IUD. The vagina is held open, like it is during a cervical screening (smear) test, and the IUD is inserted through the cervix and into the womb.

The fitting process can be uncomfortable and sometimes painful. You may get cramps afterwards. You can ask for a local anaesthetic or painkillers before having the IUD fitted. An anaesthetic injection itself can be painful, so many women have the procedure without.

You may get pain and bleeding for a few days after having an IUD fitted. Discuss this with your GP or nurse beforehand.  

The IUD needs to be checked by a doctor after three to six weeks. Speak to your doctor or nurse if you have any problems before or after this first check or if you want the IUD removed.

Also speak to your doctor or nurse if you or your partner are at risk of getting an STI. This is because STIs can lead to an infection in the pelvis.

See your GP or go back to the clinic where your IUD was fitted as soon as you can if you:

  • have pain in your lower abdomen
  • have a high temperature
  • have a smelly discharge

These may mean you have an infection.

How to tell whether an IUD is still in place

An IUD has two thin threads that hang down a little way from your womb into the top of your vagina. The doctor or nurse who fits your IUD will teach you how to feel for these threads and check that it is still in place.

Check your IUD is in place a few times in the first month, and then after each period or at regular intervals. 

It's very unlikely that your IUD will come out, but if you can't feel the threads or if you think the IUD has moved, you may not be fully protected against getting pregnant. See your doctor or nurse straight away and use an extra method of contraception, such as condoms, until your IUD has been checked. If you've had sex recently you may need to use emergency contraception.

Your partner shouldn't be able to feel your IUD during sex. If he can feel the threads, get your doctor or nurse to check that your IUD is in place. They may be able to cut the threads to a shorter length. If you feel any pain during sex, go for a check-up.

Removing an IUD

An IUD can be removed at any time by a trained doctor or nurse.

If you're not going to have another IUD put in and you don't want to get pregnant, use another method (such as condoms) for seven days before you have the IUD removed. This is to stop sperm getting into your body. Sperm can live for up to seven days in the body and could make you pregnant once the IUD is removed.

As soon as an IUD is taken out, your normal fertility should return. 

Who can use an IUD

Most women can use an IUD. This includes women who have never been pregnant and those who are HIV positive. Your doctor or nurse will ask about your medical history to check if an IUD is the most suitable form of contraception for you.

You should not use an IUD if you have:

  • an untreated STI or a pelvic infection 
  • problems with your womb or cervix 
  • any unexplained bleeding from your vagina, for example between periods or after sex

Women who have had an ectopic pregnancy or recent abortion, or who have an artificial heart valve, must consult their GP or clinician before having an IUD fitted.

You should not be fitted with an IUD if there's a chance that you are already pregnant or if you or your partner are at risk of catching STIs. If you or your partner are unsure, go to your GP or a sexual health clinic to be tested.

Using an IUD after giving birth

An IUD can usually be fitted four to six weeks after giving birth (vaginal or caesarean). You'll need to use alternative contraception from three weeks (21 days) after the birth until the IUD is fitted. In some cases, an IUD can be fitted within 48 hours of giving birth. An IUD is safe to use when you're breastfeeding and it won't affect your milk supply.

Using an IUD after a miscarriage or abortion

An IUD can be fitted straight away or within 48 hours after an abortion or miscarriage by an experienced doctor or nurse, as long as you were pregnant for less than 24 weeks. If you were pregnant for more than 24 weeks, you may have to wait a few weeks before having an IUD fitted. 

Advantages and disadvantages of the IUD

Although an IUD is an effective method of contraception, there are some things to consider before having one fitted.

Advantages of the IUD

  • most women can use an IUD, including women who have never been pregnant
  • once an IUD is fitted, it works straight away and lasts for up to 10 years or until it's removed
  • it doesn't interrupt sex
  • it can be used if you're breastfeeding
  • your normal fertility returns as soon as the IUD is taken out
  • it's not affected by other medicines

There's no evidence that having an IUD fitted will increase the risk of cancer of the cervixendometrial cancer (cancer of the lining of the womb) or ovarian cancer. Some women experience changes in mood and libido, but these changes are very small. There is no evidence that the IUD affects weight.

Disadvantages of the IUD

  • Your periods may become heavier, longer or more painful, though this may improve after a few months. 
  • An IUD doesn't protect against STIs, so you may have to use condoms as well. If you get an STI while you have an IUD, it could lead to a pelvic infection if not treated.
  • The most common reasons that women stop using an IUD are vaginal bleeding and pain.

Risks of the IUD

Complications after having an IUD fitted are rare. Most will appear within the first year after fitting.

Damage to the womb

In fewer than one in 1,000 cases, an IUD can perforate (make a hole in) the womb or neck of the womb (cervix) when it's put in. This can cause pain in the lower abdomen but doesn't usually cause any other symptoms. If the doctor or nurse fitting your IUD is experienced, the risk of this is very low.

If perforation occurs, you may need surgery to remove the IUD. Contact your GP straight away if you feel a lot of pain after having an IUD fitted as perforations should be treated immediately.

Pelvic infections

Pelvic infections can occur in the first 20 days after the IUD is fitted. The risk of infection is very small. Fewer than one in 100 women who are at low risk of STIs will get a pelvic infection.

Rejection

Occasionally the IUD is rejected (expelled) by the womb or can move (this is called displacement). This is more likely to happen soon after it has been fitted, although this isn't common. Your doctor or nurse will teach you how to check that your IUD is in place.

Ectopic pregnancy

If the IUD fails and you become pregnant, your IUD should be removed as soon as possible if you're going to continue with the pregnancy. There's a small increased risk of ectopic pregnancy if a woman becomes pregnant while using an IUD.

Where to get an IUD

Most types of contraception are available free in the UK. Contraception is free to all women and men through the NHS. Places where you can get contraception include:

  • most GP surgeries – talk to your GP or practice nurse
  • community contraception clinics
  • some genitourinary medicine (GUM) clinics
  • sexual health clinics – these offer contraceptive and STI testing services
  • some young people’s services (call the sexual health line on 0300 123 7123 for details)

Find your nearest sexual health clinic by searching by postcode or town.

If you're under 16 and want contraception, the doctor, nurse or pharmacists won't tell your parents or carer as long as they believe you fully understand the information you're given, and your decisions.

Doctors and nurses work under strict guidelines when dealing with people under 16. They'll encourage you to consider telling your parents, but they won't make you. The only time that a professional might want to tell someone else is if they believe you're at risk of harm, such as abuse. The risk would need to be serious, and they would usually discuss this with you first.  

Page last reviewed: 15/01/2013

Next review due: 15/01/2015

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The 39 comments posted are personal views. Any information they give has not been checked and may not be accurate.

Anggela123 said on 18 November 2014

Hi, I had a coil fitted nearly 4 yrs ago , and to be honest didn't really want to because of all the bad reviews I had read . I was approaching my 50's and experiencing very heavy and painful periods and had been refused a hysterectomy until I tried the coil. So I eventually agreed and to my joy it was the best thing I EVER did...it has changed my life. I no longer dread that time anymore, it did take time to settle once fitted and I did spot for about 3month but after this I have never had a period...Joy

So please do not take the advise from others and try for yourself

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Pearshaped3573 said on 11 November 2014

I had my first coil fitted aged 37, and after having 2 kids with which I had traumatic births. I had been bleeding constantly for 6 months when they told me they were fitting a coil. The next step would have been a hysterectomy. I had to go under a general anaesthetic because I needed a d&c doing, and the removal of a polyp. I had it fitted in October 2010, and "only" stopped bleeding on March the following year. Once the constant bleeding stopped I had a regular 28 day cycle. Until 6 months ago, when I changed to a 21-24 day cycle with a bloodstained discharge mid-cycle. My husband made me go to the GP and he set about doing tests. I had a coloscopy booked, where the dr found that my coil had "embedded" into my cervix and the only way to check for any problems or if I had any other polyps, was to do a general,l to take the old coil out do the tests and fit a new coil. Which I've had done TODAY. I was out of theatre at 9.45am and I'm still in "crampy period like pain" So even though I have no clue what the fitting and removal feels like when they're doing it I know the after pain can really linger. Does anyone know if you're suppose to "take it easier" for a couple of days after? Or once your feeling back to "normal" you're good to go? A LOT has happened in the 4 years since I had my first coil fitted, and can't remember the after care advice. Thanks for listening. .

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LovesWuffs said on 05 November 2014

I thought I'd share my experience with this. I don't want to put anyone off, as, it is a good contraceptive.
So, I had my first copper IUD put in about a year ago. I had to go with this option because I had been on the mini-pill for over a year, and caused my hair to start falling out, the doctor advised me to stay away from hormones. As I'm in a long term relationship, I needed another option other than condoms.
So they suggested the IUD. Now, I've never had children before, as I'm only 20, so they told me it would be "uncomfortable". That was an understatement. I'm highly sensitive to pain, so I knew it would probably be worse than I thought. I know, everyone is different, but everyone I know who has had it has been similar. I took painkillers before going, but made me wait a while so they wore off a little. I was terrified. Then when I was finally in there, I had to lay down, put my legs up. They use this thing to hold you open, and that alone hurt. Then they tried to open my cervix, which in my opinion, is one of the most painful things I've ever had done, and I've had operations, very bad injuries before. Didn't compare to this. They had problems getting it to open, so put a needle up there for anaesthetic and gel, didn't help whatsoever. then when it finally got in there, I screamed so loud, and I almost passed out. The doctor was quite worries with my reaction that she walked me out. for days afterwards I was in huge amounts of pain, worse than any period. Went back for the check up, it was "fine". Then a month later, my strings were low, it has been partially expelled, so I had to go back, to have it taken out and then a new one put in, same all over again. This time they cut the strings too short so I can't check them. Periods are a nightmare, I had bad ones before the coil but now its just, nope. It hurts me randomly too, I've been pinched by it, but ive had many checks, its "ok". But its my only option. I wish you luck!

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Hollie94 said on 30 October 2014

I am 20 with no children and read all the horror stories on here. Obviously its completely different for different people but I am someone with a very low pain threshold. I decided on the coil as it doesn't effect your hormones and I want to give my body a break. I explained that dealing with pain wasn't my strongest point and so the doctor prescribed 10mg of Valium and painkillers. I took this half an hour before the procedure and it kicked in half way through the procedure.

I personally found the most uncomfortable part the doctor feeling my cervix. I would not go as far as to describe any part of the procedure as 'painful' rather uncomfortable. The doctor talks you through what she is doing and you can feel it all but its just a weird feeling. After the fitting I had a friend drive me home as I'd been warned not to walk home.

I won't pretend this part was pleasant. It was considerably painful at this point and having taken valium I was very tired. After sleeping for two hours I woke up with bad cramps so decided to get a hot water bottle and go to sleep. When I woke up today I felt absolutely fine, I have occasional spouts of cramps where I have to take a minute but aside from that I feel fine and am not taking any pain relief.

I just want to re-assure any young women who have not had children that this procedure is bearable. I can not comment on effects further down the line but the doctor said the first two weeks are the worst part to get past and so far I couldn't be happier I had it put in.

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deenam said on 25 October 2014

I wanted to share a comment as I think a lot of people like me get scared by stories from people who explain their bad experiences. I've just had my IUD fitted today, and I was fine. The procedure was not much more uncomfortable than getting a smear test done. I felt a small scratch inside when my cervix was held in order to keep the cervix open to insert the coil, and that's about it. I have so far had very minor cramps up to 8 hours later, nothing particularly noticeable at all, just like a normal period. It was all over very quickly, in about 10 minutes. I took ibuprofen before hand, and will probably take some later again when I go to sleep.

I'm sure having an IUD fitted is different for everyone, but I'd just like to encourage people to know that its not all horror stories and that for many people its quite fine. I spent the rest of the day walking around town with my friend and having a long lunch.

Good luck to all those that are considering this as a form of contraception and try not to worry. Bring someone with you, so in case its not so easy, you have someone to look after you a bit - I did this too, and was very pleasantly surprised, but otherwise, look forward to stress free contraception without the hormones.

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Loulou96 said on 18 October 2014

I recently got a copper IUD and so far it is going well, the procedure was uncomfortable at most (although the doctor said it varies for everyone) and the next 4-5 hours were agonising but pain went down with use of ibuprofen and heat pads.
After this there was some slight bleeding for the first 3 days and a bit of achenes but no real pain, the first time we had sex after the procedure (2 days) was mildly uncomfortable but not too bad, mainly near the back of the vagina, this was only a bit sore and calmed down very quickly.
I haven't had my first period yet but I am expecting pain as the doctor explained there is something in the way of your cervix, cramps will be worse but it is expected.
I suggest making sure you have someone on hand to look after you for the next few hours after the procedure, I had my boyfriend to look after me and walk me back from the clinic, also have some ice cream or chocolate (whatever you like when you're on your period) this will cheer you up when you cramp after the procedure.
The procedure obviously isn't too pleasant but it is quick, you have to remember that something is being put through your cervix and that isn't a normal occurrence but it is not too bad at all and don't worry too much about it at all.

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Lumos86 said on 17 October 2014

I thought I would leave a review because it was important for me to read everything I could just before I had my coil inserted.

This is a great device.

Initially the procedure is quite painful and brought a tear to my eyes, did make me feel a bit fainty and luckily I took mum with me (she was in the waiting room) and she took me home. I could not have driven myself.
So..my experience of the Procedure. Chatter about the device, get up on couch, feel for womb positioning (which is a bit uncomfortable as she used her fingers for this). Insert speculum, cervix is held with a device, cleaned inside, cervix numbed. I could hardly feel any of those things, felt like mild tickling. Next came the sounding device and this cause very intense period pain, lasted a few minutes, then coil inserted (period pain again but not as bad as the sound).

After that - went to bed for the rest of the day. Quite a painful day. Bleeding occurred also.

The next week - very bloated stomach and little twingy pains throughout the week. Bleeding still occurring.

Period/bleeding - I initially bled for around 12-14 days post procedure. Which was not pleasant but I stuck it out.

My 1st real period after that - slightly heavier but lasting no longer.

Now - this is around 4 months later. My periods are quite erratic so I never know when they'll turn up but they are no different at all. I don't know the device is inside me. I'm not bloated or bleeding or in pain. And I have the joy of not using hormonal contraception anymore. Which was the main reason I switched to the coil - hormonal emotions and excessive weight gain. Since stopping the pill and going to this IUD, my spots are clearing up, I have dropped a dress size (exercising) and I no longer feel really emotional.

I would recommend this so much, especially to those suffering with problems using the pill. I would also have this coil put back in after I have decided to have children.

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Ray311 said on 16 October 2014

I have the copper coil now - after a horrific experience with the pill. And although nhs do their job, no one listened to my concerns and they still do not listen.
My coil is painful - initially it was fine but after a few months I started to get pain, now I experience the pain most days and it often stops me having intercourse- my gp very haughtily told me that it's a common symptoms and said it was still in place-and basically to shut up and go home, which has actually left me very distressed. To put more context to this I have never had any period pains in my entire life, so something is wrong. Please can someone at least advise me

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CEFL said on 06 October 2014

I would have to say, the coil gets a lot of negative press.

I have had one for a year and it's been great. Yes, the first 24 hours were agony. You are putting a t-shaped thing in your womb so I do not understand why people aren't aware it's not going to be comfortable or are surprised that it hurts a bit. I took some solphadil, made a hot water bottle, cried on my boyfriend and went to bed. It's been great ever since. Even my periods haven't been heavier. I do understand this isn't the case for everyone but from the research I did before I got it people made it sound like some kind of Spanish Inquisition torture device.

If you don't want to use the pill or take hormones it's the ideal option to condoms. I won't lie when I say it's painful at first but it settles down in a few months.

Let's try and be realistic here. The NHS has limited resources. We don't want to get pregnant until we choose to and they are duty bound to supply free contraceptives. Of course they will dumb down the more painful aspects of getting a coil - it's a one off procedure which can be used for 5-10 years as opposed to the pill which must cost them god knows how much in appointments, appointments to change pills (as most of them are dreadful let's face it) and then supplying the actual pill itself. How much does that cost them as opposed to a coil? The NHS is a privilege not a right and I think they do a wonderful job of looking after us all.

I promise, it's not that bad! I hear childbirth is a lot worse.....

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La Kishae said on 02 October 2014

So.. I had a coil fitted in when I was 15 and it gave me pain near enough everyday. And when my period came, ahh forget it!! I cried many times and was quite scared. My family didn't know so I couldn't talk to anyone about it.

5 months later I took it out (should have done it sooner but I guess I hoped it'll get better) and I almost felt back to myself again, until I had sex.

I was in so much pain! It kind of felt like I had the coil still in me. So I go to the doctors and they say that I have minor scaring and should be ok within the next 6 months, if not come back.

I'm now 21, with no kids, still having issues. It's no where near as bad as before but now every time I have sex, I have to be extremely careful in case its to deep. And when does, after sex, going to the toilet hurts (pee and pooh after) and it hurts to walk. This lasts 30minz max but I still don't think I should be feeling this way.

Personally, I don't recommend.

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ames89 said on 09 September 2014

Hi, I'm a 25yr old who hasn't had children. I just wanted to share my experiences with you as I used this site to read up before I got my copper coil fitted and thought I'd share.
I had the mirena fitted a couple of years ago and only lasted 5 months with it. It was extremely painful going in and the cramping was hideous and lasted for weeks after. It was extremely painful having sex and I just felt constantly nauseous. After being told by the GP that hormonal contraception was no longer an option for me I opted to try the copper coil. Firstly I want to say that if you're considering it, go to your local GUM clinic. I went to mine and they were amazing! So supportive and talked me through everything that was happening. I'm not going to deny that it was painful, but compared to the Mirena fitting it was a breeze! I had some initial cramping for the first 24 hours and experienced a bleed around day 3 for about a week but think that was due to coming off the pill. Waiting for my first period to come now so not sure how that will be but I already feel much more confident about the Copper Coil than I did with the Mirena. Also my partner couldn't feel the strings when we had sex and it didn't cause any pain or problems in that area at all. Fingers crossed it will work out fine for the next few years! Hope this helps someone who is thinking of getting one.

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So56 said on 07 September 2014

At 56 years of age and After suffering 5 years of extremely painful and heavy periods and no sign of the menopause I was referred to a gynae consultant. I had read reviews on line and I was terrified by what I read about the mirena. After speaking with the consultant she convinced me this was the best option for me so on 06/08/2014 I had a hysteroscopy where they removed a polyp and a biopsy and I had the mirena fitted.
It was painful ( I have never had children) it felt like an extreme period pain. This did pass but unfortunately I was unlucky to feel rather unwell after (only for about 2 hours) nausea/ headache/diarrhoea/ sweating and very bad stabbing cramps in my lower stomach. After 2 hours I felt much like my old self just taking ibuprofen and paracetamol. Today I feel so much better again just very slight cramping and slight headache, only the slightest bleeding after urinating.
I will persevere with the procedure for the next 6 months ( hysterectomy is so invasive and ablation might not work) therefore I have to give this a chance. I will keep this updated.

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Still123 said on 01 September 2014

Wanted to share my experience... Went for the copper coil as I suffer depression with pills and injections and the nuvaring was taken off the market for a while. I read up, heard about the side effects but went for it anyway. When having the procedure the doctor asked me if I'd had a baby (surely something to ask before my legs were in the air) I said no, she replied 'oh, this might hurt a bit then dear'. The initial pain was not too bad, one really sharp pain but I felt fine, but 30 minutes after went into shock and the cramping was appalling for a few days. Then the bleeding started. And didn't stop. A week and a half later I felt the string coming out of me, it had dislodged and I had to go in straight away to get it out. That was more painful, but I felt so much better five minutes after. She told me the nuvaring was back in the market and to put it in straight away. The next few days I bled heavier then I ever had before. I was faint and spent a few days in bed. It's now two weeks after having it taken out and I'm still bleeding. I decided to take the nuvaring out two days ago to just give my body a rest and I have started a period again, heavier then usual.
So, as a contraceptive it's 100% effective, I've not been able to have sex for a month! I have bled continuously and been in quite a bit of pain. I am hoping the bleeding stops soon. I have not known anyone that had a good experience with the coil.

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Caro67 said on 19 August 2014

I had a copper coil fitted as a form of emergency contraception. I had read a number of comments online talking about the pain of the procedure itself and then the cramping pains/bleeding afterwards and was so scared I almost didn't go into the clinic at all.

I wanted to share my experience to try and reassure people who may be in the same position! When I went in the doctor explained to me that some women find the coil fitting painful but that it varies between individuals. She asked a nurse to come in and talk to me/distract me during the procedure and both were lovely and kind and did make me feel much more relaxed. As for the procedure itself, the Dr warned me at points when it could be painful but I felt very little pain or discomfort. It was all over within 5 mins and I was surprised when she told me it was done. I did feel a little lightheaded for a few minutes afterwards but probably more from relief than anything else! Since then I've had no cramping and very little bleeding.

I did take a couple of ibuprofen before going in but haven't needed any since. From what I was told the very severe cramping is rare and usually you just have a bit of mild discomfort. I realise some people find the procedure very painful but it is over very quickly and I really would not let it put you off having one fitted. Overall nowhere near as bad as I was expecting!

I had this done in a sexual health clinic and the dr did say she'd done loads which I think makes for a better experience. I'd definitely advise going to someone who fits them regularly rather than a GP who may not have done so many.

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Jazza456 said on 10 August 2014

Hi I am a 26 year old with no children. I had the copper coil fitted last week. I was expecting a painful experience so I took strong pain killers one hour before. It was uncomfortable, I did cry out in pain once. It was over quite quickly and I was glad that I took painkillers and for the numbing gel they used. After the fitting I went to the pub to eat as it didn't feel too bad, then as the gel eased off I felt quite strong period like cramping. So the only remedy is bed, hot water bottle and plenty of paracetamol. At one point no position was comfy, make sure you watch a good film to take your mind off of it.

After the 24 ish hours. I felt back to normal again. Went to the gym, had no pain. This continued until my period. When your first period comes after the fitting expect similar pains to when it was fitted. Prepare yourself with painkillers and try to rest. Also be prepared with big pads, I was a bit scared to use tampons even though you can.

Try not to let it stress you out and take a back seat after fitting and during first few periods if you are able to while your body gets used to it.

A nice hot bath is a great remedy for period pains with or without the coil.

I hope this method works for me as it is my last resort!

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Chocolateteddy said on 10 August 2014

It has been 4 months since having the copper coil fitted and thought I would share my experiences. I am 24 and had been using the combined pill for 8 years. Since graduating and getting a hectic job I kept missing pills and needed a method I didn't have to think about. The copper coil looked ideal and I also liked the idea of no hormones.

I was nervous the day of the procedure like others I had read horror stories. I had the coil fitted at my GP surgery, they said that I would experience some pain because I've not had children. They used a gel and a local anaesthetic on the cervix. The pain was short and sharp. There were 3 sharp pains but only lasting 30 seconds or so each. It was all over in 5 minutes. I was advised to take pain killers before and to have the procedure during my period.

What I had not been expecting was the pain of the cramps. These were the worst pains and had me in tears. Again though they had stopped by the evening.

In terms of bleeding, I had 2 days of medium flow and then my next 2 periods have been exactly 5 weeks apart. They were around medium for 5 days each. The first period seemed a lot heavier but being on the pill so long my periods were barely there before and medium products seem to do the trick! Also my partner has never felt the string.

Overall I am very happy with the copper coil. For half a days worth of pain I've got contraception that I don't need to think about for 10 years. I'm not using hormones and the dr said when we start trying for children they will remove it and you can get pregnant the next day so at this stage of my life it is ideal.

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Hip to be square said on 05 August 2014

Hello ladies, ok firstly I'm not squeamish, I have piercings all over so I'm au fait with the odd bit of discomfort.

However nothing prepared me for the sheer pain of having my coil fitted. I haven't got children, nor do I want them, hence the coil but the pain was horrendous. Had I not been in total shock at the pain I could have quite easily slapped the doctor who if I'm honest didn't seem the most confident at this sort of procedure. I was laid for 45 minutes unable to move while the doctor tried to pump me with as many painkillers as she could.

I made such a fuss about the barbaric nature of the insertion my doctors surgery now offer gas and air to ladies having the coil, I think they have covered over the scratch marks down the wall!

It's now 4 years and 10 months since it went in, and I have been having nightmares about the removal and insertion of a new coil ever since.
Smears are now a nightmare as I just panic and cannot relax as soon as they go for a look down there! making something important yet routine more hassle than it needs to be such was the psychological impact of the coil going in.

I have asked my doctor several times if I can have a GA for the removal/reinsertion procedure or at least some sedation, but they wont take me seriously, it's usually the case that unless you have a child you can't possibly know what pain is...

Don't get me wrong, no cramps or periods since insertion and no hassle have made it the perfect choice for me, but if you're going for it and you're childless take as many painkillers as you can!

I know people are all different, but I just want to be as honest as I can be so people can make an informed choice.

Good luck!

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Yellowlupo said on 25 July 2014

I had the copper coil fitted around 9 months ago at my local family planning clinic. Insertion was fine - I had a local anaesthetic injection into my cervix and had been told that this was what would cause the spotting afterwards. I also took paracetemol and ibuprofen throughout the day. However I found it very difficult to sleep as I had terrible cramps that night! The cramps took a few days to resolve, but sometimes I would get a strange sensation -not unlike when you have the coil fitted. I had a check up at the family planning clinic a few months later and was given an ultrasound. The dr felt that the coil was resting too low in my uterus and so took it out and inserted a new one- this time without the local anaesthetic. I would actually say not to bother with the local anaesthetic as the pain is momentary! I am now much more comfortable, and didn't have any of the cramps that I had with the first fitting. I would suggest that if you have any pain for more than a few days go and get it checked out - there's no point in suffering and the answer may be simple! My periods are now very heavy though, necessitating several max-size tampons a day for sometimes over a week, whereas before I barely got through one regular tampon a day for 3-5 days (I've been told I was very lucky before!). Overall I am pleased- I may try hormone coil in the future to even out periods but suffered terrible mood swings on the pill previously so thought I'd give copper coil a go first.

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sdee89 said on 24 July 2014

I don't usually leave reviews or comments but I signed up specifically so I could share my experience with others who may be considering the coil
After reading many horror stories online I was so close to cancelling my appointment and was so nervous about it I could hardly sleep last night.
My appointment was this morning at the local sexual health clinic and after preparing myself for suffering I actually had to laugh at how much I worked myself up about it.
The procedure was an absolute breeze, personally. For me there was virtually no pain at all, and I was pleasantly surprised at how quick it was over and done with. I was expecting it to worse than a sweep (if you've had one you can understand how uncomfortable that is!) But it wasn't even anywhere near to that uncomfortable! Once it was over I was prepared for horrendous cramps but so far so good, nothing at all. I've been taking paracetamol anyways just in case it does creep up but Iam feeling fine. & as for the bleeding, again I was expecting a heavy gushing (haha!) but so far its only been a light spotting.

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User100817 said on 16 July 2014

I can honestly say I would recommend this form of contraception. In fact I was quite shocked reading other peoples negative experiences as I have had nothing of the sort.
I had my second Merina coil fitted about 3 months ago, after the first needed replacing following it being in for the recommended 5 years.
Both procedures were carried out at my local Family Planning Clinic. They were as I expected them to be, a little uncomfortable, nothing more painful than having a smear, and only took minutes.
Both times I did find I got some lower stomach cramps for the remainder of that day, but nothing everyday painkiller cannot control. There has been some minor spotting on both occasions for a day or two afterwards but perhaps from day 3 onwards I had no problems whatsoever.
My periods completely stopped along with most of the monthly related issues.
When the first one had been in about 4 and a half years I did get some very minor spotting which returned on a monthly basis until the IUD was removed and the new one was fitted.
Perhaps I have just been extremely lucky, but for me, it is the optimum choice, for convenience, lack of negative side effects, impact on lifestyle, etc. I would highly recommend this type of IUD.

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danie145 said on 04 July 2014

This is a positive review of the copper IUD insertion.

I have come the conclusion after the last few days of research the IUD that the reviews are significantly bias towards negative experiences, so I thought I would give my experience to offer reassurance to others considering the IUD.

I went to a family planning clinic to try to resolve the issues I have been having with contraception. I am unable to take the combined pill due to migraines and the progesterone only options just dont agree with me. I was considering the copper IUD for some time as a non-hormonal long term alternative to the hormonal options but was definitely put off by all the horror stories! My experience was however absolutely brilliant.

I am 22, never been pregnant and have a severely tilted uterus so was expecting a painful insertion. I had mild cramping as it was inserted and it was all over in less than 5 minutes.

I would massively recommend taking some ibruprofen a few hours before and to try to not get too anxious. Avoid forums which heighten your anxiety as it definitely doesnt help. I would also recommend going to a family planning clinic where the doctors and nurses place IUDs very frequently.

Overall well recommend. I appreciate we are all different and some people do have a bad time, but you dont know unless you try.

Good luck ladies!

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social butterfly said on 29 June 2014

I had my coil inserted in october 2013 to help my fibroid problem. Since having the coil I have suffered severe stomach cramps on a regular basis of which sometime no pain killers will ease the pain. Although i havent had children i would describe the pain as a pregnancy contraction exttremely painful. I also have the spotting and the occasional period. I guess i am unlucky as several friends dont have any pain or bleeding
Can anyone recomend any pain killers as i find Buscapan doesnt always work? My gp hasnt offered any suggestions of getting rid of the fibroids should i have the coil removed. Catch 22 it seems...

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lovemy2boys said on 23 June 2014

You always read such horror stories about iud on the Internet so here Is a positive review.

When I had my copper iud inserted I thought it was going to be painful as I myself read lots of horror stories before hand, but I didn't feel any pain just a little discomfort at one point maybe when they opened my cervix.. but overall it was fine I had very slight spotting afterward but nothing heavy and the spotting lasted a couple of hours if that... my period came practically on time I think I spotted a day early and my actual period was normal with very very mild cramps( could hardly feel them).. I was losing weight before I had my iud inserted and have carried on losing weight after too so no problems there.. I wanted to share this as I read lots of bad reviews on the copper iud and it nearly put me off getting it but I wanted a non hormonal birth control and this was one of the only options...but so far so good for me

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hayley11x said on 17 June 2014

I felt like I should write a review as ive read so many bad things! I had my copper coil fit this morning and was warned by the dr iy would really hurt. I did feel discomfort for about 10 minutes, id say 3 of those minutes it felt really intense but all of it was bearable. I know it was only this morning but had no blood so far, just cramping.

I am keeping my fingers crossed that I don't have any real issued. my dr did warn me that the copper coil will always make periods heavier, but I just simply cannot take anything with hormones as they make me crazy!

I am glad I wasn't put off by other people's stories! (so far anyway :) )

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spiderbaby66 said on 07 June 2014

I had the coil fitted about 6 weeks ago to try and stop my periods due to being anaemic. Since then I've had a 16 day bleed and several odd days after that where I had heavy spotting. I guess I'm due another bleed now as I'm having horrific stomach cramps that are almost doubling me over (never had period pain before) I wish I hadn't had it fitted but have been told it will calm down after a few months. Not sure I can wait that long! Anyone else had similar symptoms and it got better after a few months? I was led to believe that I'd have little or no bleeding but I'm actually having more!

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letow93 said on 31 May 2014

I had the copper coil fitted 6 and a half weeks ago as emergency contraception after spending 4 and a half years on the depo injection. After having missed my last injection and having unprotected sex, I took the morning after pill and had the IUD fitted. As someone who has never had children (I'm 21) I have had an awful experience with the copper coil.

Pros:
Emergency contraception - Whether it was due to this, the morning after pill, or me simply never having been pregnant, I'll never know, but I'm not, so as far as i'm concerned it worked in that respect.
Weight loss - I don't weight myself regularly but have noticed considerable weight loss since having the coil fitted (possibly because of cramps putting me off eating)

Cons:
Very painful fitting - I can honestly say I've never felt pain like it, I fainted after leaving the clinic and spent my night vomiting from the pain. This let up gradually over a couple of days after fitting (This pain may be because I've never had children)
Almost constant heavy bleeding for 5 weeks out of 6 - I've had about 7 days in total off, sporadically
Bleeding so heavy that I've had to use tampons and pads and change every 2 hours - Very inconvenient at work and generally makes you feel horrendous
Constant cramps and backache
Tiredness
Drastic mood swings - From real depression and upset to being absolutely fine overnight
This also seems to be a specialist procedure - I got an emergency appointment for fitting but had to book 3 weeks in advance at my GP as only one doctor can carry out the fitting/removal of coils

I'm having the coil removed in two days and, honestly, can't wait, I've already had my injection and so, hopefully, will go back to normal. As an emergency contraceptive, it is the most effective and if you need to get it, do. However, as a long term contraceptive, I wouldn't recommend it, the bleeding alone has been enough for me to give up on it after 6 weeks

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StudentGirl said on 31 May 2014

Think the information on this page should be changed. "You may get some bleeding", from what I've experienced and read on all the forums I could find, is highly inaccurate. Let's just assume that you probably will be bleeding for a considerable amount of time afterwards, and if the medic who inserted your IUD is anything like mine, they'll say you shouldn't use tampons until the second period afterwards, which is highly inconvenient.

I had my IUD inserted ten days ago. No bleeding for the first two days apart from very lightly when first inserted. On the afternoon of the second day I got quite bad cramps that lasted for a few hours. By the third my cramps were so hard I couldn't get out of bed, but the bleeding was still light. Since then I have been getting cramps at about 4pm every day, though they've been getting lighter as the days go by. My bleeding on the other hand is getting heavier: I'm now not sure if my regular period has started as I've always been irregular and so maybe I'm due? Who knows.

I've read about a couple of studies that said within the first 90 days of having either type of IUD, you'll experience about 30 days of bleeding, though it's not necessarily the first 30 days but rather any time over that period and it doesn't have a predictable pattern.

Just warning everyone out there: I'm still convinced the IUD is worth it as a form of contraception, given that you don't have to worry about it at all for 5 years. However, don't expect to go back to your normal routine straight away. I'd say allow at least 3 weeks, maybe more, for your body to get used to it. And that probably means you won't be able to have sex for a while, so be prepared.

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kfletch said on 29 May 2014

Had merina coil fitted 4 wks ago after having a baby,I've had terrible aches and pains in my thighs and knees.only realised today that all the pain started within days of coil being fitted.struggling to even stand up after being on the sofa as knees are that bad.i feel I've aged by about 30+ years

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Fifilafolle said on 29 May 2014

I had the copper coil fitted two days ago. I was extremely nervous (mostly down to some of these comments below) but it went fine. I've had no bleeding or extreme pain, I've had a bit of period pain but I've not even needed to take pain killers because it's almost unnoticeable. The insertion is uncomfortable but not the worst thing in the world and it was over in five minutes.

Maybe I was lucky with my doctor as she calmed me right down and made sure I knew what was being done at each stage. I've not had children so technically my experience should have been more painful but it was fine.

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Tiwa said on 27 May 2014

I had the IUD fitted four years ago after the birth of our second child.

It was a bit painful but not too unpleasant, as the doctor was very experienced and talked me through what she was doing every step of the way. I experienced cramping and spotting after the procedure but not for too long. I also went back a few weeks later to have it checked out and everything seemed fine.

I have not had any major issues with it except having heavier periods for the first few months (which eventually settled) and then spotting for a few days before my period starts properly every month.

I just had the IUD removed this morning as we are looking to try for number three! The procedure was carried out by the same doctor and she had it out within two minutes. There is a bit of spotting but I am not in any pain.

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dupsidupsi said on 09 May 2014

I have the IUD fitted for over a year now, for months after the birth of my 2nd child. My experience:
Fitting wasn't painful, quick and afterwards slight discomfort like period pain plus some bleeding.
The cons: strong periods which usually last for 10 days starting with spotting for two days. I also realized that the blood has a very unpleasant smell, to the extent that I'm worried others would notice. Not sure if it is because of IUD or two natural births. I dont have period pain.
I noticed one user commented about an increase of infections she experienced. I never linked my infections to the IUD but last winter I had a cold that lasted 1.5 months+throat infection, then an eye infection (conjunctivitis) which lasted longer than usual + very dry itchy eyes for many months.

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spar said on 24 April 2014

I had the mirena coil fitted last November. Since then I feel my body has been full of infection. I have had two water infections over Christmas into the new year then in Feb I started with sore throat which developed into a cold which has lingered ever since and i have just completed a course of antibiotics for a chest infection. I have had a pain in my knee joint, the palms of my hands have become dry and cracked and I have big spots coming up on my neck and chest. I have been very busy in work and feel really run down so not sure if it is coincidental or that my body is rejecting this foreign body! My periods are slightly lighter but occur every two weeks. Could any of these symptoms be connected to the coil or am I just getting old!

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louisedav said on 30 March 2014

Hello I currently had the mirena coil put in 4 days ago.iv had no bleeding and everything normal apart from the pain is still mild at the moment even tho im on paracetamol but its my stomach thats worrying me the most its really bloated and hasnt gone down.is this normal??

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Zzeno said on 13 March 2014

Personally I have found the coil to be really good.
It has been in place for nine months and I
would say the heaviness of periods has
now started to settle. There is more pain before
hand but it's not too bad, I rarely take pain
killers.
I have to say the Doctor and Nurse that I saw
at the surgery were very helpful and gave
lots of information regarding costs and benefits.
My experience is great as it saves the hassle
of remembering to take pills and health wise
it seems like the safer option.
There was some discomfit on fitting but not too
bad at all. Short and sharp.

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jennifer334 said on 27 February 2014

Overall I was satisfied with the Mirena Coil. I wasn't given much advice about the risks and put my faith in the GP/Nurse that this was the best of a limited number of options left as birth control for me. I had it fitted age 30 after the birth of my second child. Despite 2 natural births the Mirena hurt like heck being fitted. The GP said I should have been advised to take Ibuprofen beforehand (great). That was the worst part and beyond that I had no major issues during the 5 years I used it.

The only symptoms I have to note are mild tummy bloating around 3-5days prior to my period as well as a couple of small spots always next to my eyebrow (random but became predictable). Each period was very light, usually lasting from 2-4 days with only very mild period pains to indicate that I had started. My cycle was predictable to the day after the initial month.

My husband never complained about feeling the strings during intercourse which is another common complaint if the strings havent been cut short enough.

Finally had it removed 3 weeks ago as I was at the maximum 5 year point. I expected all of the scary symptoms that are mainly described on American reviews to kick in (often referred to a Mirena Spike). I haven't had any major issues with bleeding or mood changes.
Removal is much less uncomfortable and was much like the feeling of removing a tampon.

I had an acceptable level of bleeding for 2 days which began the same day as it was removed. Following this I bled again 4 days later (for 3days) which I think is to be the start of my usual 'non mirena' cycle. I say this as I had ovulation signs around 14 days afterwards. I will keep a diary of dates for now so that I can time what will be normal for me in the future.

Good luck!

T

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sarahbee2014 said on 06 February 2014

I had the copper nova T coil for nearly 3 years then I fell pregnant which I then lost then fell again and had to get the coil removed. Not reliable and was meant to be effective for 5 years obviously not. my scan also showed the coil was in the right position so looks like copper failed. this will be my third baby and will get sterilised to be 100% sure I wont fall pg again. beware ladies!!!!

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Donnak45 said on 02 February 2014

I had a hysteroscopy, Novasure Ablation and Mirena coil fitted on 23/1/14. It is 10 days on and the cramps are back...they did tail off after about a week and the bleeding is as bad if not worse than day 1..... Does anyone know if this is normal???

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mumfour said on 30 January 2014

I recently suffered an ectopic pregnancy, even though I had this IUD that should have prevented it, in the first place (more detail in my blog: http://mum4x2.blogspot.co.uk/2014/01/against-oddsheshe-baby-almost-made-it.html).

The pregnancy was terminated and my fallopian tube was taken out. Traumatic experience. I now feel so bad that I chose the coil and maybe if I'd used a different method, the pregnancy wouldn't have been ectopic. Of course, we can't be sure of this because some people suffer this without having a coil.

It works for some, but not for others. This has been my experience and I wish others better luck with it.

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User794308 said on 09 August 2013

Is it ok to have laser hair removal with the copper IUD fitted? I can't seem to find a straight answer anywhere?!

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