Copper coil (IUD)

What the packet says

What is the Copper coil (IUD)?

What's it made of?

Most copper coils are made of a T-shaped frame of polyethylene (plastic) and barium sulphate. Copper wire is wound around the vertical arm.

How the Copper coil (IUD) works

The copper coil (IUD) is a small, T-shaped plastic and copper device that is inserted into your womb by a doctor or nurse. It releases copper into your womb which prevents pregnancy by affecting sperm motility, preventing egg fertilisation and possibly preventing implantation. Because of the the copper IUD can also be used as emergency contraception.

Copper coil (IUD) side effects

  • Womb Cramps
  • Vaginal Discharge
  • Tender Breasts
  • Back Pain
  • Spots or acne

Frequency

  • During intercourse
  • Daily
  • Monthly
  • 1 - 3 Months
  • 1 - 3 Years
  • 3 - 5 Years
  • Permanent
  • Similar to

    Typical effectiveness

    Over 99% effective

    Contains hormones

    No

    Need a prescription?

    Get your Pill without needing a Doctor’s appointment

    Looking to switch your pill?

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    Reviews

    1/5
    09/06/2021
    Copper coil (IUD)
    Having tired a myriad of hormonal contraception’s which did not work for me, I decided to try the copper coil. Upo...
    1/5
    08/06/2021
    Copper coil (IUD)
    I had 4 copper coils fitted, 2 10 year ones and 2 5 year ones and they all expelled within 2 months, one expelled after ...
    5/5
    07/06/2021
    Copper coil (IUD)
    I got my first copper coil as emergency contraception and then (unfortunately) after about 5/6 months it expelled itself...
    4/5
    07/06/2021
    Copper coil (IUD)
    My job consists in researching about women’s health – I look at different types of contraception (amongst ot...
    1/5
    02/06/2021
    Copper coil (IUD)
    I had terrible cramping and very very heavy periods. I had to have it taken out!
    4/5
    28/05/2021
    Copper coil (IUD)
    Only had this for a few months so can’t really speak to all the side effects people mention but my fitting was fine. M...

    What you said

    Side effects

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    After effects

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    Moods

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    Detailed information

    How to get started with the copper coil

    Women ask us lots of questions about getting a contraceptive coil fitted – so we’re working on everything you ever wanted to know about the coil to help cover everything. If you want anything in particular covered, please contact us at info@theldown.com. In the meantime, we’ve summarised a few key points below:

    • To get a coil fitted you need to go to a GP surgery or sexual health clinic where some staff are trained to fit them. You can contact your GP and ask if they fit coils, or search for clinics that fit coils.
    • The copper coil can be fitted at any time during your monthly period cycle, as long as you’re not pregnant (although you may prefer to get it fitted when you’re not on your period).
    • Your doctor or nurse will do some tests to make sure that you can have the coil – like making sure that you’re not pregnant and checking for STIs.
    • During your coil fitting, a doctor or nurse will use a speculum (like when you have a smear test) to open up your vagina and then insert the coil through the cervix into the womb. Most women find this uncomfortable.
    • The copper IUD works to prevent pregnancy immediately after it is fitted.
    • You may be asked to go back for a check up 3-6 weeks after getting it fitted. You will also be taught how to feel the threads which hang down through the neck of the womb into the top of the vagina – this is how you know the coil is in place. 

    How to stop using the copper coil

    • Your IUD can be removed at any time by a trained doctor or nurse. It’s normally simpler than having it fitted – they will gently pull on the threads and the T shape folds up and it can be pulled out of the womb.
    • If you’re not having another coil put in and don’t want to get pregnant, you’ll need to make sure you don’t have sex seven days before you have it removed, or use condoms. Alternatively speak to your doctor or nurse about switching to another method.
    • Check out our survey results to see how other women found their experiences with the copper IUD.

    Things that can go wrong with an IUD

    • There’s a small risk of infection after IUD has been fitted which may lead to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Contact your doctor if you have unusual or smelly discharge, abdominal or pelvic pain, a high temperature or chills. 
    • Sometimes coils can fall out, be pushed out of the womb or move. This is most common in the first few weeks after getting it fitted, or during a period. You may not know this has happened so it is important to check your coil threads regularly. If you cannot feel the threads or are worried your coil has fallen out or moved, contact your doctor or nurse and use condoms or avoid sex until then. 
    • Very occasionally the threads get lost. This is more commonly caused by the threads being pulled up inside into the cervix. They may notice this when you go to have the coil removed, and sometimes the threads can reappear naturally.
    • Occasionally the IUB may be hard to remove because it is lodged in the womb.
    • If the coil doesn’t work and you get pregnant, there’s also a small increased risk of ectopic pregnancy – when the egg implants outside the womb, normally the fallopian tubes. However, the overall risk of ectopic pregnancy is less in women using a coil than in women using no contraception at all.
    • Rarely the coil may go through the wall of the womb when it is put in. This is called ‘perforation’ and if this happens, you may need surgery to remove the coil.

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    Thanks for telling us you're interested in talking to other Lowdown users. If you have any other ideas for ways we can improve the site, please email info@theldown.com

    If you'd like to report a review for not adhering to our Review guidelines, please email info@theldown.com with a link to it and we'll take look!

    Thanks for telling us you're interested in talking to other Lowdown users. If you have any other ideas for ways we can improve the site, please email info@theldown.com

    If you'd like to report a review for not adhering to our Review guidelines, please email info@theldown.com with a link to it and we'll take look!

    Thanks for telling us you're interested in talking to other Lowdown users. If you have any other ideas for ways we can improve the site, please email info@theldown.com

    If you'd like to report a review for not adhering to our Review guidelines, please email info@theldown.com with a link to it and we'll take look!

    Thanks for telling us you're interested in talking to other Lowdown users. If you have any other ideas for ways we can improve the site, please email info@theldown.com

    If you'd like to report a review for not adhering to our Review guidelines, please email info@theldown.com with a link to it and we'll take look!

    Thanks for telling us you're interested in talking to other Lowdown users. If you have any other ideas for ways we can improve the site, please email info@theldown.com

    If you'd like to report a review for not adhering to our Review guidelines, please email info@theldown.com with a link to it and we'll take look!