Contraceptions have gradually been accepted everywhere as a means of birth control. There are various types of contraceptives one can adopt based on preference. One of such contraception is the hormonal coil.
It is also called IntraUterine System (IUS) and is completely different from an IntraUterine Device (IUD). An IUD is another contraceptive that doesn't release hormones, instead, it releases copper that creates an environment that will not allow sperm cells to survive.
Hormonal coil (IUS) is a T-shaped plastic device that is placed in your womb. It is meant to prevent fertilisation of the egg cell by releasing a hormone known as progesterone hormone. This hormone makes it impossible for sperm to reach an egg by thickening the cervical mucus ( womb opening). The hormone also causes the lining of the womb to become thinner, thereby making it unlikely that a fertilised egg will be accepted.
For some women, the IUS stops ovulation, although some women will continue to ovulate. The IUS is the sixth most popular contraception in the UK, and it is gradually becoming more popular, especially for women above the age of 25. IUS has an effective rate of about 99%. When inserted, it can last for up to 3 -5 years.
The IUS is inserted into the womb by a physician or nurse. Note that it can be removed at any time you wish, but before that, you must refrain from sexual intercourse a week before removal of the IUS, or you use condoms during sex. When insertion is complete, there will be no need to worry about conception. You or your partner shouldn't be able to feel it during sex. In the UK, there are two brands of IUS coil available.
They are :
There are a variety of benefits associated with the use of IUS.
IUS hormone coil can be used by any woman. However, your medical history and family medical records will have to be reviewed by the clinician or doctor, to determine if it is right for you or not. The IUS is mostly suitable for women who cannot take the oestrogen hormone (usually in the form of pills). You may be advised against using IUS if you have or have had some health conditions like
Like every other medical procedure, there are risks and effects associated with them –IUS is not an exception either. The effects of the use of IUS can be short term or long term. Severe effects are really rare.
Some of the short term effects are bleeding and spotting in the first six months after insertion. This is not regular and usually stops with time. In rare cases, there are reports of headaches, breast tenderness, acne and worse, pelvic infection.
Long term effects are rare, but they include changes in libido and mood (though it can be minor), cysts filled with fluid appearing on the ovaries, and vaginal pain and bleeding. All these effects are usually not serious and do not require treatment. They mostly disappear on their own with time.
There are bound to be questions asked by women who might be unsure of adopting the use of IUS as contraception. Here are some common questions asked by women before they decide to use an IUS hormone coil, and the answers we have provided.
Before the insertion of the IUS, you will be tested for any STIs or infection, and then treated if you have any. The coil can be inserted at any time during your monthly cycle. It is just not done when you are pregnant.
Inserting the hormonal coil can be uncomfortable and a bit painful. It can be less painful if you have had a natural vaginal birth because the cervix has already been previously stretched. You will be asked to lie down with your knees bent. A speculum (the same instrument used when having a smear test) is used to hold your vagina open. An anaesthetic will be applied, and forceps will be used to steady the cervix to check the position and size of your womb using a sterile probe. The coil which comes with its arms folded in a tube is inserted into the vagina via the cervix into the womb. The tube is then pulled out, leaving the coil in place.
Before removing the speculum, the coil strings are cut, leaving about 1 - 2 cm hanging down at the top of the vagina so you can feel it tobe sure it's still in place. The procedure takes about 5 minutes, and some people experience cramps afterwards. Pain killers can relieve this pain.
The IUS can be gotten for free on the NHS. You might want to speak with your physician before getting one. It can be inserted by GPs and sexual health clinics, and even your doctor.
If inserted in the first 5 days of your menstrual cycle, it will begin to protect you from pregnancy immediately. If inserted at any other time, you will have to use additional contraception for a week.
There has not been enough evidence to prove that IUS will make you gain weight.
No evidence shows that an IUS will increase the risk of developing ovarian, cervical or uterine cancer.
In very very few cases, about 1 in 1000 cases, the IUS can create a small tiny hole in the neck of the womb during insertion. The risk of the IUS perforating your womb is very low. However, contact your GP if there is pain after insertion; if there is perforation, the IUS will be removed through surgery. Otherwise, it doesn't affect your fertility, as you can remove it whenever you want to get pregnant.
There are two thin threads in the coil that hangs down into the top of your vagina from your womb. These threads are meant to indicate the presence of the coil. If you cannot feel the threads anymore or you think the IUS has moved, you should see a doctor or nurse immediately.
Not feeling the threads anymore means you might not be protected anymore against pregnancy, due to this, you should use extra contraception or avoid sex until the IUS has been checked.
The IUS can be removed whenever you want, by a doctor or nurse. Removing the IUS is relatively easier than insertion, and takes about 30 seconds.
This is highly unlikely, but not impossible. If you get pregnant while using an IUS, it should be removed as quickly as possible. You should also be scanned to be sure the pregnancy is not ectopic.
The uterus can push out the hormonal coil, but this usually happens after the coil has been placed. Although it is unlikely, it is not uncommon either. You will be taught by the doctor and nurse to check for the coil threads monthly to ensure it is still there.