Spotlight On: Contraception... The Contraceptive IUS 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 IUS (intrauterine system) or Hormonal Coil including how it works and how effective it is.
Now, in the second of our two-part feature, we take a look at other key facts about the Contraceptive IUS Coil.
How do I know it’s there?
An IUS has two thin threads that hang down a small bit from your womb into the top of your vagina. The GP that fits your IUS will show you how to feel for these threads so that you can check that it is still in place. Its advised that you should check your IUS 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 IUS 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 IUS 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 IUS can be removed by a doctor or nurse at any time. If you’re not going to have another IUS put in and you don’t want to become pregnant you should use another form of contraception for seven days before you have your IUS 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 IUS has been removed. As soon as the IUS has been taken out though, your fertility should return to normal.
Who can use an IUS?
Most woman can use the IUS. 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 IUS 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: breast cancer in the past five years, cervical cancer, liver disease, an untreated STI or unexplained bleeding between periods or after sex.
Using an IUS after giving birth
An IUS can usually be fitted four to six weeks after you give birth. You will need to use another form of contraception until the IUS is put in.
So, what are the risks?
It is rare for there to be complications with the IUS and those that occur usually happen in the first six months after the IUS has been fitted. In rare cases (fewer than one in 1,000) an IUS 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 IUS 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 IUS fails and you become pregnant, your IUS should be removed as soon as possible. There’s a slightly increased risk of ectopic pregnancy if a woman becomes pregnant while using an IUS.