What isthe non-hormonal coil?

The non-hormonal coil, also known as the IUD or copper coil (intrauterine device) is a small piece of flexible plastic that doctors place inside the uterus as a contraceptive. The coil can be easily removed once you decide you want to get pregnant or explore other alternative contraceptives.

How does it work?

The non-hormonal coil works in such a way that it stops the sperm from reaching the egg. Usually, the clinician will insert the coil into the uterus or womb, once the coil is in place, you do not necessarily need to think about the use of contraceptive for 5-10 years, unless you want to try other types of contraceptives.

This can be done by removing the device from the womb, usually by a trained doctor or nurse. The IUD can also be used as an emergency contraception if it is inserted within five days after unprotected sex.

Some things to consider, when using IUD

  • You may consider talking to your doctor or nurse at the clinic to ensure it is the right method for you.
  • The IUD does not prevent the transmission of sexually transmitted diseases or infections.
  • Some women may find the procedure very painful or uncomfortable.
  • Some women may experience cramping after the procedure. It is often recommended that you take some painkillers before going.

What happens when the IUD doesn’t stay in place?

Sometimes, the IUD may move a little away from your womb into your vagina. Since the IUD has two thin threads that hang down a little to the top of your vagina, your doctor will guide and teach you how to feel for the threads, once the IUD displaces from its position.

However, if you cant feel the threads or you think the device has moved, it is best to see your doctor or nurse straight away to ensure you are fully protected against pregnancy. However, the scenario rarely occurs, and when it does occur, it is most common in the first three months after insertion.

Who can use it?

Virtually all women can use it. However, your doctor or GP will take a brief history of your health and medical condition; questions about your family will also be asked to ensure the method is right for you. The IUD is a superior alternative to women who can't take the hormones progestogen.

The contraceptive may not be suitable for the following set of women:

  • Women with heavy periods
  • Most women with pelvic infection may also find it difficult to use.
  • Women experiencing unknown vaginal bleeding
  • Fibroids and
  • Allergy to copper.

What are the advantages?

  • It doesn’t interrupt sex
  • It starts working immediately after insertion
  • Depending on the type of non-hormonal coil inserted, the contraceptive works for a minimum of five years, and a maximum of ten years.
  • You are protected from pregnancy for as many years as you want it
  • Your normal fertility returns when you take it out
  • It is rarely affected by other medicines
  • The non-hormonal coil is associated with reduced risks of cervical cancer and endometrial.

Are there risks and side effects?

Some risks of the non-hormonal coil may include the following:

  • Very few numbers of women may get an infection within the first 20 days of the insertion.
  • Your periods may becomelonger, heavier, and more painful. This is why woman experiencing heavy flows are often advised against embarking on IUD. However, the longer and painful periods may improve after some months
  • If you become pregnant while using IUC, there is an increased risk of the pregnancy becoming an ectopic pregnancy.
  • Sometimes, the IUD may go through your womb or cervix. When this occurs, it resultsin pains and may have to be removed using surgery.

Frequently asked questions

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