Coil Fitting Patient Information Sheet




Your coil appointment is for 20 minutes.

What to do before your coil appointment?

You should have had a discussion with a clinician at the surgery before your coil fitting to ensure we have the correct IUD/ IUS in stock for you. If you are unsure which IUD/IUS you would like, further information is available here

Information about intrauterine contraception:

An intrauterine form of contraception (coil) is a small plastic device which is inserted into the uterus (womb) which is used to prevent a pregnancy. Some devices contain copper (IUD) and last 5 to 10 years. Some contain a progesterone like hormone (IUS) which is released gradually: these last for 5 years.

They both work by stopping the sperm meeting the egg which prevents fertilization, but they also work by preventing the fertilised egg implanting into the womb and forming a baby. They are very effective forms of contraception. In a hundred women who are using intrauterine contraception, less than one will become pregnant over 3 years.

As soon as they are removed, you are able to get pregnant again.


What are the main differences between an IUD and an IUS for me?

The progesterone containing devices (IUS) often cause women to have infrequent or no bleeding. They can make periods less painful. Initially there may be an erratic bleeding pattern for the first 3-6 months which usually improves with time. There is the potential for hormonal side effects such as acne, breast tenderness, headaches and mood changes. Copper containing devices (IUD) do not contain hormones and therefore cannot cause hormonal side effects. They do however potentially cause longer, heavier and more painful bleeding.


Risks and action you should take prior to your coil fitting appointment

As there is a risk of introducing infection into the uterus (womb) during fitting, if you have had any change to your partner recently or are at any risk of a sexually transmitted infection then please book an appointment with the practice nurse for ‘pre coil swabs’ before your coil fitting. This must be done at least a week before your fitting to ensure we have the result back in time.


Sex before the Coil Fitting

It is important that there is no chance you could be pregnant when we fit your coil. Do not have sex from the start of your period until the insertion, unless you are using a method of contraception reliably and consistently. Please ensure you have the first day of your last period noted as you will be asked this at the fitting appointment.

If you are having a coil exchanged for a new one, you should not have sex for 7 days before the appointment if your coil is in date. If your coil is out of date you should not have sex for 21 days (3 weeks) before the appointment so that a pregnancy test is valid.


Infrequent problems when removing & inserting a new coil on the same day

Please be aware that sometimes when we are removing an existing IUD/ IUS the cervix (opening to the womb) can sometimes close and we may not always be able to fit a replacement on the same day. In this situation we would ask you to rebook for the fitting at a later date and you would need to use additional contraception in the meantime.


Can I have a coil fitted if I am bleeding?

It is OK to have a coil fitted if you are bleeding; please attend your appointment as usual.


What to expect at the coil fitting appointment

  • The fitting process can be uncomfortable and you may wish to take a tablet painkiller that is safe for you, 30 minutes to an hour or so before the procedure.
  • Please attend the appointment on time, preferably 5-10 minutes in advance to allow you the opportunity to use the toilet beforehand if necessary. If you are late for your appointment you will likely be asked to rebook as our appointments are booked back to back, allowing no time for delay.
  • Before you have a coil fitted, you will have an internal examination to find out the size and position of your womb. This is to make sure that the coil can be put in the correct place. An internal measurement is made of the length of the womb and then the coil is inserted.
  • It takes about 15 minutes to insert a coil. The vagina is held open, like it is during a cervical screening (smear test), and the coil is inserted through the cervix and into the womb.
  • Occasionally patients feel nauseous or faint afterwards and you may wish to consider bringing someone with you to accompany and drive you home. You may get some bleeding after the procedure so please bring a sanitary pad with you. Most women experience some period-like discomfort after fitting but this should not last for longer than 24-48 hours after fitting
  • If you have an IUS fitted you may experience some irregular bleeding for up to 3-4 months after fitting. This is very normal and generally after settling most women will then experience no bleeding.
  • After fitting you will be given further information about monitoring for signs of infection and review.


Please note

Although we fit coils regularly in our service, and are usually successful, there are occasions when, for various reasons, the coil cannot be fitted. If this happens in your case, the reason why will be explained to you and other options offered. Some women may need their IUD/IUS to be fitted under the care of a further specialist.

Please do not bring any children to the appointment.



If you are unable to attend your appointment on the day we would appreciate if you could advise the surgery at the earliest possible opportunity.