The Contraceptive Coil and Me – 5 Years On

25th February 2020

contraceptive coil with copper

The Contraceptive Coil

A bit of a more personal post from me, but one I’m really passionate about sharing. The coil, and female health in general, is all part and parcel of that.  I’ve officially been on the mirena coil for 5 years now, meaning I’ve gone through my first removal and refit.

I think that’s given me a true, full picture of what it’s like to be on the coil. There are a lot of pros and cons to the coil; it genuinely just depends on what you’re looking for. For me, I hated being on the pill and all the complications it brought, so the coil was the next best thing for me. So let’s dig into a little more about it.

The Mirena Coil

After a lot of discussions with my GP, we decided it was time I tried the mirena coil. I’d be on the pill for around 2/3 years, and I knew I didn’t like the idea of having an implant or the injection. Naturally, the coil was my next best shout – given that condoms are the biggest mood killer (obviously a life saver when it comes to STD’s etc) and that I was too scared for the other options.

To be honest with you, I wasn’t only on contraception for sex reasons. My periods were a nightmare and I was keen to get shot of them, or at the very least dull them down. When on the pill I was on pain medication, blood thinners and the pill itself, which was overwhelming to say the least.

There are two types of coil you can have fitted. The copper coil – made from copper and has zero hormones. You’re best to read more about this on the NHS website for Copper Coils, but the main takeaway is that it releases copper into your womb to prevent babies from setting up shop. The downside, particularly for me, was that this can cause your periods to become heavier and more painful – not what I wanted!

So, welcome the mirena coil. Now this little guy does have progesterone in it, but it’s only released into your womb not your bloodstream. Again, I’d recommend reading the NHS website about the mirena coil for all the juicy deets. But for me, the biggest seller was it’s known to lighten, and even stop, your periods. Hello winner winner (no) chicken dinner!

Having the Coil Fitted

You can either have your coil fitted at your local GP or at a sexual health clinic if there aren’t any trained doctors at your GP. If you’ve had a smear test then you can expect something similar. Bekki, from mynameisbekki, recently posted about her smear test experience which I’d really recommend a read of. You strip off your bottom half of clothing, lie down on a medical bed with your legs placed and parted in some stirrups. Usually you’ll have the doctor and a nurse present, but you can ask for another person to be present if you’d like. Generally, it’s always a female doctor, or at least in my experience, but you can of course request for a female doctor to do the fitting.

The doctor will wash you down a little and then do an internal check with their fingers. This is to check for any abnormalities inside your womb, so it can be a little uncomfortable as they tend to press down on your tummy at the same time. Once this is over, she will then insert a speculum into your vagina. It’s like a little duck face contraption that helps them open your cervix.

The next part can be a bit painful, as the doctor will use forceps to stabilise your cervix before gently inserting the coil. For me, I didn’t feel this part, but my biggest piece of advice is to breathe and relax your body as much as possible. I know, easier said than done when a stranger’s prodding around down there, but it will make the process a whole lot easier.

I’d recommend taking a pad, as you might get some light bleeding and cramping so also take some paracetamol 30mins before the appointment. Once inserted, you do need to check your threads every so often to check the coil is still in place. But this is really easy to do and the doctor will talk you through the process.

contraceptive coil

5 Years on with the Coil

The benefit of the coil is that once it’s fitted, it’s there for 5 years. It can be removed at any time, and you can be fertile again almost immediately following removal. For the whole time I’ve been on the coil, I’ve really not had any issues. The odd bad cramping and light spotting, but all in all no issues.

When I got the coil fitted it was genuinely a walk in the park. I actually even asked the doctor if that was it, because I didn’t really feel anything. However, I only wish my removal had been such a smooth process. I went into it thinking it would be, but I was very wrong.

I’d hate to scaremonger anyone, but in reality this wasn’t an experience I was expecting so I think it’s important to share. I found the removal a bit more painful than expected – mainly strong cramping, but the forceps used did nip quite a lot. The biggest thing that threw me, was that once the coil was removed I instantly felt faint…which then led to me actually fainting mid-procedure.

In hindsight, it wasn’t that the procedure itself was incredibly painful but more that I felt overwhelmed. Luckily, by the time I came round from fainting the doctor had managed to reinsert my new coil so it was all over pretty quickly. It was genuinely a pretty horrible experience – I felt really panicked from the fainting, that when I woke up all I wanted to do was cry.

I honestly can’t praise the doctor and the nurse with me. They were so lovely and understanding, and made me feel so much better about the situation. They really took care of me, and once I got some fresh air I felt a thousand times better. Since then, I’ve really not had any issues. Little to no cramping, and zero bleeding. Both of which can follow from a re-insertion.

Is the Coil Worth It?

Although the process was a little traumatic, I’m glad I had it done. Being on the coil makes my life much easier, and means I’m not worrying about periods or pregnancies. I know it’s not for everyone, as I’ve had a lot of comments about people’s fear surrounding it. Whilst I think my re-insertion story could freak people out a little, the coil isn’t as intrusive as it sounds. Once it’s fitted you really aren’t aware of it, so it doesn’t affect your day to day life.

Hopefully I’ve helped someone with this post, but I’m always open to being asked questions about the coil, or even the pill. Like I said before, if you do want to learn some more about it then have a read through the NHS website or speak with your GP. It might be the perfect fit for you too.

Looking for something similar, read my post about mental health.

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