ROC Clinic in Aberdeen offers a Coil assessment and fitting service lead by Dr Julia Wallace, an experienced GP in women’s health, contraception and minor surgery.
You will be required to attend for an initial appointment when you will be listened to and assessed for suitability and the type of coil required. Swabs and an gynaecological ultrasound may be recommended. A full sexually transmitted screen and a smear test may be carried out at the same appointment. Scans are available in house and if necessary this can be carried out at the same time to minimise the number of appointments required.
Dr Julia Wallace will advise you on any follow up required. For more information on fitting and the types of coil please read the FAQ section below.
Coils IUDs and IUs FAQ
A coil is a small plastic device that is fitted into the uterus (womb). The proper name is an intrauterine device but is known by most people as a coil.
There are two types of’ ‘coil’. Hormonal and non- hormonal. Both coils can be used for contraception, and the hormonal coils can be used for management of heavy periods and for protection of the womb lining if HRT is being taken.
This type of coil is often preferred by women who are keen to avoid any hormones. It provides contraceptive cover for up to 10 years. It is easily fitted and apart from checking the threads after each period you can forget that it is there. No more remembering to swallow pills every day!
The copper coil offers long acting contraception and is instantly reversible if future pregnancy is planned, as it does not interfere with ovulation ( egg production) .It works by altering the lining of the womb and preventing implantation of the egg.
2.1 Can anybody use the coil?
Yes. A coil can be fitted at any age even if you have never had a pregnancy before. It can also be fitted after pregnancy. It can be fitted immediately or after 4 weeks. Alternative contraception will be needed for 21 days.
2.2 Advantages of the coil
- Long acting contraception for 5-10 years
- Works immediately
- It can be used if breastfeeding
- It is not affected by other medicines
- Fertility returns as soon as it is removed
2.3 Are there any adverse effects
A copper coil may make your period heavier , longer and more painful, particularly for the first few months , so it is not the best form of coil to choose if you suffer from heavy or long periods. It should not be used if there is an allergy to copper.
2.4 Does it give protection from STIs?
No. Condoms are still recommended for STI protection
2.5 How effective is it?
The coil is over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy and is one of the safest methods there is.
2.6 Emergency contraception
A copper coil can be fitted for emergency contraception up to 5 days after unprotected intercourse. If fitted it can be left in for ongoing contraception.
2.7 How is it fitted?
Fitting is the same for all types of coils. You will have an initial consultation to discuss suitability and arrange any testing. Swabs may be needed if you have any symptoms of infection or have had multiple sexual partners. At the fitting appointment you will have an examination similar to having your smear test. The coil is inserted through the cervix into the womb. There may be some discomfort similar to period pain for a few hours after fitting but this can be minimised by taking simple painkillers
2.8 Are there any risks?
The coil can be pushed out by your womb. This is rare and more likely to happen soon after fitting. Your doctor will show you how to check that the coil is in place by checking the threads. You are unlikely to get pregnant while using the coil but if you do there is a slight increased risk of ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy in the tubes). You are less likely to have an ectopic than if you get pregnant with no contraception.
3.1 How many types of IUS are there?
There are three types of IUS:
- Jaydess and
All can be fitted for contraception, but the Mirena is licenced for treatment of heavy periods and for womb protection while taking HRT. The hormone they contain is Levonorgestrel ( progesterone)
3.2 What is the difference?
Mirena releases 20 micrograms/24 hrs and lasts for 5 years.
Kyleena releases 19.5 micrograms /24 hrs and lasts 5 years.
Jaydess releases 13.5 micrograms and lasts 3 years.
An IUS fitted after age 45yrs can be left in for 10 years until age 55.
3.3 How does the IUS work?
The hormone is gradually released and thins the lining of the womb which prevents implantation of a fertilised egg and thickens the cervical mucous to prevent sperm reaching the egg. This thinning is how it helps to reduce heavy periods.
3.4 Are there any side effects from the hormones?
As there is only a small dose of hormone which acts locally in the womb side effects are less than if progesterone is taken by mouth ( mini pill) . Some people experience acne, breast tenderness and sometimes fluid retention.
3.5 How does it affect periods?
Your periods may become lighter and shorter and in some cases stop altogether.
3.6 Do I need to wait to try for pregnancy?
No. Fertility returns immediately after the IUs is taken out.
3.7 Can anyone have an IUS fitted?
You may wish to discuss this in more detail with your doctor if you a history of breast cancer or a molar pregnancy. It is suitable for most people.
It is recommended that a check up is done 6 weeks after fitting. This is to make sure the coil is still in place and that you are managing to check for the threads, and to answer any questions. It is recommended to have an annual check if using hormonal contraception and obviously there is still the need to have a cervical smear test for cervical cancer screening. In private healthcare we recommend that this is done every year.
In summary a coil, whether with or without hormones, is a good, reliable , long term method of contraception. It is ideal for spacing family and for no worry contraception once your family is complete. If you choose the Mirena for contraception it can be left in during the menopause and combined with oral oestrogen for HRT.
If heavy periods are a problem this can be treated with a Mirena coil with small doses of hormone compared to oral tablets, and contraception is covered too.
Meet our experts
Dr Julia Wallace
- Qualifications: MBChB., FRCGP., DRCOG.
- Location(s): Aberdeen - ROC Private Clinic
- Clinical Interest(s): Acute and Chronic Disease Management, Woman’s Health Including Contraception, Minor Surgery, Joint and Soft Tissue Steroid Injections, Personalised Preventative Medicine
Dr Julia Wallace was born in Aberdeen and qualified at Aberdeen Medical School.
She is a dedicated physician who followed her dream to be a Family Doctor and became a GP partner in an Aberdeen NHS GP Practice in 1988 soon after gaining the Membership of the Royal College of GPs and the Diploma of the Royal College of Obstetrics and Gynecology. She was awarded Fellowship of the Royal College of General Practitioners in 2006.