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IUD (intrauterine device) - known as a copper coil

A woman can get pregnant if a man’s sperm reaches one of her eggs (ova). Contraception tries to stop this by keeping the egg and sperm apart or by stopping eggs being produced. One method of contraception is the intrauterine device (IUD) - sometimes referred to as a copper coil.

An IUD is a small T-shaped plastic and copper device that’s inserted into your womb (uterus) by a specially trained doctor or nurse. The IUD works by stopping the sperm and egg from surviving in the womb or fallopian tubes. It may also prevent a fertilised egg from implanting in the womb.

The IUD is a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) method. This means that once it's in place, you don't have to think about it each day or each time you have sex. 

You can use an IUD whether or not you've had children.  

We have included further information about the IUD below to help you make an informed choice about your contraception. After reading it, if you think the IUD is the right contraception choice for you please make an appointment at one of our clinics. You can either book an appointment online or telephone 0300 123 5474.  

Please note: We can only fit coils for contraceptive purposes - if you book an appointment or attend a clinic for a coil for non contraceptive purposes we will be unable to see you. If you require a coil for non contraceptive/gynecological purposes e.g. to regulate periods, please see your GP.

About the IUD

  • An IUD works as soon as it's put in, and lasts for five to 10 years, depending on the type
  • It can be put in at any time during your menstrual cycle, as long as you're not pregnant
  • It can be removed at any time by a specially trained doctor or nurse and you'll quickly return to normal levels of fertility
  • Changes to your periods (for example, being heavier, longer or more painful) are common in the first three to six months after an IUD is put in, but they're likely to settle down after this. You might get spotting or bleeding between periods
  • There's a very small chance of infection within 20 days of the IUD being fitted
  • There's a risk that your body may expel the IUD
  • The IUD does not protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs). By using condoms as well as the IUD, you'll help to protect yourself against STIs

Having an IUD fitted

An IUD can be fitted at any time during your menstrual cycle, as long as you are not pregnant or any risk of pregnancy (you have not had unprotected sex). You'll be protected against pregnancy straight away.

You may get pain and bleeding for a few days after having an IUD fitted and our clinical team will explain this to you. We always advise that you contact us if you experience any of the following, as this may mean you have an infection:

  • Pain in your lower abdomen
  • A smelly discharge
  • Have a high temperature
  • Have a smelly discharge

How to tell whether an IUD is still in place

An IUD has two thin threads that hang down a little way from your womb into the top of your vagina. The doctor or nurse who fits your IUD will teach you how to feel for these threads and check that it is still in place.

Check your IUD is in place a few times in the first month and then after each period or at regular intervals. 

Removing an IUD

An IUD can be removed at any time by one of our experienced clinical team. You do not require an appointment for one to be removed - you can drop into one of our many clinics across Wirral. Download our clinic timetable.  

Download the Family Planning Association guide to the IUD.

‘If you need to bring children with you to a Coil or Implant appointment , we recommend  you have another adult with you to care for them’ .