Contraceptive or birth-control technology has taken a big leap forward with the introduction of coils. These are made of plastic, tiny and shaped like ‘T’. The device is fitted into the womb by the trained hands of a doctor or nurse.

According to sexual health experts, unlike conventional contraceptive techniques, coil offers greater and long-time assurance in preventing unwanted pregnancy.

Different varieties of contraceptive coils

This birth-control device comes in two varieties:

  • Copper coil – Also known as intreuterine device or IUD and made of copper coating.
  • Hormonal coil – Also known as intrauterine system or IUS and has a coating of the sex hormone progesterone.

IUD versus IUS (copper coil versus hormonal coil)

  • Both varieties of coil work on the same mechanism and offer long-term protection against pregnancy.
  • The copper-coated IUD relies on copper to create an environment in your womb in which sperm can’t survive. Moreover, it also transforms your cervical mucus, as a result, the sperm can’t fertilise an egg.
  • On the other hand, the IUS relies on progesterone to transform your cervical mucus to prevent sperm from fertlising an egg. Additionally, this contraceptive device also stops your ovary from releasing mature eggs to facilitate fertilisation.
  • On average, copper coils have a life of 10 years, whereas the hormonal variety lasts for either 3 or 5 years.

Benefits and limitations of contraceptive coils

Contraceptive coils offer a number of benefits including the following:

  • They start working right from the time they are fitted.
  • You just don’t need to think about birth-control measures every time you’re engaged in penetrative sex.
  • Almost every woman can easily use this range of devices.
  • You can get conceived as soon as the coil is taken out.
  • The copper coil or IUD can provide you with necessary contraception on an emergency basis if it is inserted within 5 days of having unprotected sex.

The coil-based contraceptives have their limitations as well. It is all the more important to know about their limitations before you start using them. Their limitations include the following:

  • Unlike a condom, they don’t safeguard you from picking up sexually transmitted infections or diseases (STIs and STDs).
  • After insertion, you’ve to go for regular check up with your medical practitioner or nurse.
  • You have to check yourself whether it is intact at the right place from time to time.
  • Coil rejection or slipping out of the coil from its place is though rare but not totally unknown (In such cases you should not try to put it back in place yourself.).

The benefits and limitations discussed above are true for both copper and hormonal coils. Apart from that, both varieties have their unique advantages and disadvantages.

The advantages and disadvantages of hormonal coils include the following:

Advantages:

  • Hormonal coils make your periods much lighter.
  • Usually, after 3 to 6 months, the periods also become much less painful.
  • In fact, the hormonal coils are also used to treat endometriosis or the condition of heavy periods.
  • This contraceptive device can also be used when you’re still breast-feeding.
  • Hormone-based contraceptive coils are ideal for women, who can’t take oestrogen.

(It is to be noted here that Oestrogen is the major constituent in combined contraceptive pills.)

On the other hand, the disadvantages of hormonal coils are as following:

  • It can easily overlap with certain medications, causing complexities.
  • A lot more medical considerations are to be taken into account before fitting this range of birth-control coils.
  • Usually, hormonal coils bring more side-effects initially, although they automatically get resolved within 3 to 6 months.

The advantages and disadvantages of copper coils are as following:

Advantages:

  • They have a longer life than hormonal coils.
  • The side-effects are minimal.
  • Unlike hormonal coil, this doesn’t overlap with other medications.

The disadvantages of copper coils include the following:

  • You may have heavy or painful periods.

The ideal pregnancy-prevention coil for you

Now that we’ve discussed about the pros and cons that each of the varieties of coils offers, it’s time to choose the ideal coil for you. Certain factors have to be considered to identify your ideal birth-control coil.

  • How long a time you want the coil to stay effective.
  • If you don’t want any hormonal side-effect or have certain medical history, then the copper one is more effective than the hormonal variety.
  • If you suffer from endometriosis, the hormonal coil should be your ideal choice.

However, it is important for you to take note that both the coil varieties are 99% effective in preventing unwanted pregnancy.

Coil maintenance

The coil contraceptives start working smoothly from the time they are correctly fitted into the womb. As far as maintenance is concerned:

  • You’ve to check whether it’s in place from time to time.
  • Attend the routine checkups with your doctor or nurse.

Considering these easy maintenance factors, it is therefore obvious that they are more user-friendly as compared to the other alternative options. In comparison to that people seldom take the birth-control pills in the right manner and hence, the pills are much less effective in preventing them from conceiving.

Let’s get the basics right; any type of contraception is guaranteed to be less effective if it is not correctly used. Coil is much more effective than injections, vaginal ring, patches, combined pills, condoms (both male and female), diaphragms and caps, progesterone-only pills and other known methods of birth-control.

Factors that make your coil less effective

There’re certain factors that make your pregnancy-control coil-less effective. These include the following:

  • Already infected with any STI or STD.
  • An infection in the pelvic area.
  • Vaginal inflammation.
  • Development of fibroids.

In addition to the factors mentioned above, if one is below 20 and has never been pregnant before is more likely to suffer from coil rejection by the womb.

The ideal users of the coil contraceptive

The coils are for every woman, who’s sexually active and who wants longtime contraceptive prevention. It is even suitable for youngsters below 16.

Women below 16 can easily get the coil fitted and their doctor or nurse won’t tell their parents or carers until and unless they fully understand the relevant aspects and  the impact of their decision.

Getting the coil fitted

The NHS provides both copper and hormonal coils free even to people below 16. The contraceptive coils are available at the following places:

  • Contraception clinics.
  • Sexual health clinics.
  • GP surgeries and.
  • GUM (genito-urinary) clinics.

Safety factor

On the whole, coil contraceptives are very safe. Cases of complications are very rare and may include the following:

  • An infection in the pelvic region – this is more likely to occur in the first 3 weeks.
  • Womb damage – the coil may create a hole in the womb during its fitting. If you get it done by an experienced doctor or nurse, this possibility can be ruled out.
  • Rejection – your womb may throw it away or it may get displaced soon after being fitted.
  • In addition to the factors mentioned above, you may also suffer from an ectopic pregnancy.

Considering all the pros and cons of Copper and Hormonal Contraceptive Coil , the popularity of coil fitting in London is rising steadily.