Pill make you cranky? Slightly psycho? Scared of needles so freaked out by the implant? So many reasons to turn down every contraception and the coil isn’t without its own reasons.
My own experience is far from a fairy tale. Yet I’ll still always favour the coil over all other contraceptives. Why? Because it’s fool proof – scientifically proven to be the closest thing to sterilisation that isn’t permanent. The coil boasts a 98-99% success rate. Better than that? Depending on which coil you choose it can stay inside the womb for 5 – 10 years!
Thank god – the insertion process isn’t something I’d choose to frequently go through (to put it nicely)!
Why is the coil always forgotten about when making the choice?
I can confidently say that the coil is the most misunderstood out of the whole contraceptive family, poor guy never gets a look in. IUD use is reported to be the lowest in the developed world.
Why? Maybe it’s the scary sounding name? IUD sounds a little like an explosive device. Far more intrusive than swallowing a pill every morning.
Not forgetting the teeny tiny risk of uterus perforation. ‘What’s that?’ – exactly what it sounds like. When a nurse inserts the small T-shaped device it can, sometimes, burst through the womb and be very very painful. Not to mention dangerous.
Decades ago the coil got a lot of bad press and it’s just never really recovered since then. Long story short the coil was marketed heavily and 2.5 million were sold. Though the result wasn’t just profit seventeen women died and 200,000 women were injured.
It is believed that the removal strings (hanging each side of the cervix) acted a gateway for bacteria to enter the uterus, causing Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, sepsis and infertility. It was big news. 300,000+ lawsuits were filed: the largest liability case since asbestos. Unsurprisingly, this had a long lasting effect on the coil and how many chose it. A lot has changed since then and now the devices are much safer. Of the two per cent of women who use IUDs, 99 per cent report being satisfied with the experience – much higher than many other forms of contraception.
It isn’t all as scary as it seems, not anymore.
What exactly is the coil? How does it work?
There are two types of coil: the IUD Copper Coil and IUS Mirena Coil. Both work in very different ways and suit different women. I’ve tried both – lucky for you as readers!
They are similar to one in another in most ways, both are T-shaped and small enough to fit in the palm of your hand. Their ‘T’ arms allow them to sit in the opening to your womb, with threads that hang down (not a nice thought even now when mines been in over two years) either side. No, these strings don’t hang down past your labia, they’re just fed through your cervix, aka right at the top. It’s a struggle to even feel them with your own fingers when looking them – which you need to do every so often.
IUD’s prevent you from getting pregnant by making you as hostile to sperm as possible. Trust me, you ain’t getting pregnant.
The copper coil acts as a spermicide, affecting sperm mobility. It also inhibits the egg’s ability to implant into the womb.
The Mirena releases a small amount of hormone, thinning your womb lining, to make it less attractive for an egg. This effect has the added bonus of making your periods lighter.
Both types also affect “cervical mucus” causing it to thicken and preventing sperm from reaching the egg.
Confused? Basically, they make your womb inhabitable for making a baby – they just do it in slightly different ways. More information on exact process and scientific terms can be found on the NHS website.
I’m currently fitted with a Mirena coil. After a few months of struggling on with the copper coil I gave up, it just didn’t suit me. Basically, I bled wildly and every period made me feel like I was going to die. No exaggeration.
However, the Mirena coil has been very kind to me. My periods are so light that they would never even fill a small period pad throughout the entire cycle – not something I’d try, just creating an image. My pain can vary from mild to mildly severe, this is a vast improvement for me.
It’s my happily ever after and first choice!
Statistics show that less than two women in 100 will get pregnant over five years. This is the same as the pill, yet only if you take it properly. Who can honestly say they take their pill correctly 100% of the time? Anybody? It’s as simple as taking it late or have a funny tummy and it’s not effective. Antibiotics can also affect the reliability of the combined pill.
This might account for the reported failure rates: 0.8 per cent for a copper IUD, the Mirena coil 0.2 per cent and the pill nine per cent.
Still only eight per cent of English women use it. Everyone else on other contraceptives, who didn’t at least look into the coil, are missing out.
Having your cervix opened, numbed with an injection (yes, a massive needle inside there) and then something pushed into it, not nice at all.
Your legs are in stirrups, you’re vulnerable and you don’t know the woman standing in front of you with a weird funnel object. You just know it’s about to feel like someone is swapping your organs about.
Good news? It’s only 5-10 years until you need to have that experience again.