The hormonal coil, also known as the IUS (intrauterine system) is a small T-shaped plastic device that sits in your womb and releases the progestogen hormone. It is long-acting and reversible, so you can take it out if you want to get pregnant.
It is 99% effective at preventing pregnancy.
The IUS is fitted by a trained clinician. Once it is in place, you don't have to think about contraception. It won't interrupt sex and your partner should not be able to feel it.
It can be removed at any time by a trained doctor or nurse, but you must use condoms as well or abstain from sex for 7 days prior to removal.
There are four brands of IUS hormonal coil available in the UK - the Kyleena, Mirena and Levosert coils, which all last for five years, and the Jaydess coil, which lasts for three years. Brook services use the Kyleena and Mirena coil.
The IUS releases a progestogen hormone which prevents pregnancy by:
Before you have the IUS fitted, you may be tested for any existing infections, such as STIs, so that any infections can be treated beforehand.
Having a coil fitted can be uncomfortable and painful but the pain shouldn't last long and is described as quite similar to period pains. A fitting is likely to be less painful if you have had natural birth (vaginal delivery) as your cervix will have previously been stretched.
The whole process should take about 5 minutes.
People normally have some cramping pain afterwards so it is recommended you take some pain killers just before your appointment.
Occasionally people feel nauseous or faint afterwards. They may need to lie down for 5-10 minutes but are usually fine after a short while. The clinician will always make sure you are recovered and happy to make your way home before letting you leave.
Some people prefer to have no plans after their appointment so that they can be relax at be comfortable at home afterwards.
It is fairly common for people to experience some slight cramping and / or spotting for a couple of days after a fitting. You will be asked to make an appointment after 6 weeks where the clinician will check your coil is in place and to see how you are getting on.
The coil can be fitted at any time during your monthly menstrual cycle, as long as you're definitely not pregnant.
If the IUS is fitted in the first seven days of your menstrual cycle you will be immediately protected against pregnancy.
If it is fitted at any other time, you will need to use an additional method of contraception (such as condoms) for the first seven days.
We advise that you:
If you have a short menstrual cycle, where your period normally comes every 23 days or less, you will have to start the IUS in the first six days (because you might ovulate early in your menstrual cycle).
If it is fitted in the first five days of your menstrual cycle you will be immediately protected against pregnancy. If it is fitted at any other time, you will need to use additional contraception for the first 7 days.
Yes, whilst using the IUS you can use tampons, pads or a mooncup.
There's no evidence that an IUS will affect your weight.
Your partner shouldn't be able to feel your IUS during sex. If they can feel the threads, get your GP or clinician to check your IUS is in place. They may be able to cut the threads a little.
There's no evidence that having an IUS fitted will increase the risk of cervical cancer, cancer of the uterus or ovarian cancer.
The IUS may not be suitable for you if you have or have had certain health conditions.
If you're 45 or older when you have the IUS fitted, it can be left until you reach menopause or you no longer need contraception. The IUS can also be used for Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT).
The GP or clinician that fits your IUS will teach you how to feel for the threads and check that the IUS is still in place. If you can't feel the threads or if you think the IUS has moved, you may not be fully protected against pregnancy.
See your doctor or nurse straight away and use extra contraception, such as condoms, until your IUS has been checked. It will always be able to be removed.
There is a very small risk of infection (1 in 100). If you have any of the following symptoms within a few days of having an IUS fitted, you should see your GP (or clinician who fitted the IUS) straight away:
Fertility will return to normal when the IUS is removed.
If you decide to have your IUS taken out, but you don’t want to get pregnant, you will need to use condoms for 7 days before you have it removed. This is because sperm can live for up to 7 days inside the body.
A coil can be removed at any time by a trained doctor or nurse.
If you're not going to have another coil put in and you don't want to get pregnant, use another method (such as condoms) for seven days before, as sperm can live for up to seven days inside the body.
Removal of a coil is a very quick procedure (about 30 seconds). It may be a little uncomfortable but is less uncomfortable than the fitting procedure.
Although this is unlikely, if the IUS fails and you become pregnant, you should have it removed as soon as possible if you are continuing with the pregnancy. You should also have a scan to ensure the pregnancy is not ectopic.
In fewer than 1 in 1,000 cases, an IUS can make a tiny hole in the womb or neck of the womb (cervix) when put in. The risk of perforation is extremely low. Contact your GP straight away if you feel a lot of pain in the lower abdomen after having an IUS fitted. If there is a suspected perforation, go to A&E to see a specialist. If perforation occurs, you may need surgery to remove the IUS.
The coil can be pushed out by your uterus or it can move, however this is not common. This is more likely to happen soon after it has been put in. This is why your doctor or nurse will teach you how to check your coil threads every month and also arrange to check it for you 6 weeks after your fitting.
If you get an STI while you have an IUS fitted, it could lead to pelvic infection. STIs and pelvic infections need to be treated as soon as possible. An IUS doesn't protect you against STIs, so you may also have to use condoms when having sex.
Yes, you can fit the IUS 28 days or more post-delivery. An IUS can be used safely while you are breastfeeding and will not affect your milk supply.