Spotlight On: Contraception... The Contraceptive IUD Coil: Part 2
Contraception and its many different forms are a talking point for women across the country. With so many different types on the market, coupled with the fact that every woman’s body is different, we take a closer look at all the options that are available to you.
Last week, we explained all the basic facts that you need to know about the Contraceptive IUD or non-hormonal Coil including how it works and how effective it is.
Now, in the second of our two-part feature we take a further look at the Contraceptive IUD or non-hormonal coil.
How do I know it’s there?
Like the IUS, the IUD has two thin threads that hang down a small bit from your womb into the top of your vagina. The GP who fits your IUD will show you how to feel for these threads so that you can check that it is still in place.
It's advised that you should check your IUD a few times in your first month of using it, and then at regular intervals after each period.
Will it come out by mistake?
Although it is extremely unlikely that your IUD will come out, if you can’t feel the threads or you think it might have moved, you may not be fully protected against pregnancy. You should see your doctor or nurse straight away and be sure to use extra contraception like condoms during this time.
Will my partner notice it?
No, your partner should not be able to feel your IUD while you are having sex. However, if your partner can feel the threads, get your GP to check it. Similarly, if you feel any pain during sex you should also pay a visit to your GP.
When can it be removed?
Your IUD can be removed by a doctor or nurse at any time. If you’re not going to have another IUD put in and you don’t want to become pregnant you should use another form of contraception for seven days before you have your IUD removed. The reason for this is because sperm can live for seven days in the body and it is possible that sperm could fertilise an egg once the IUD has been removed. As soon as the IUD has been taken out though, your fertility should return to normal.
Who can use an IUD?
Most woman can use the IUD. Your GP or nurse will do a full medical history with you to check that it is the most suitable form of contraception for you. The IUD is also safe to be used by women who are breastfeeding.
On the other hand, it might not be suitable for you if you have or have had: problems with your womb/cervix, an untreated STI or unexplained bleeding between periods or after sex.
Women who have an artificial heart valve or who have had an ectopic pregnancy should consult with their GP.
Using an IUD after giving birth
An IUD can usually be fitted four to six weeks after you give birth. You will need to use another form of contraception until the IUD is put in.
So, what are the risks?
It is rare for there to be complications with the IUD and those that do occur usually happen in the first 12 months after the IUD has been fitted. In rare cases (fewer than one in 1,000) an IUD can make a hole in the womb or cervix when it is put in, which can cause pain in the lower abdomen. The risk of this is extremely low though if you are having it fitted by an experienced nurse or doctor.
Pelvic infections can also occur in the first 20 days. Sometimes, the IUD is rejected by the womb or it can move, however, as previously mentioned, your doctor or nurse will show you how to check for this.
If the IUD fails and you become pregnant, your IUD should be removed as soon as possible. There’s a slightly increased risk of ectopic pregnancy if a woman becomes pregnant while using an IUD.