So, you may have come across this page as you are thinking about getting the Copper Coil, you’re absolutely s h i t t i n g yourself and want your many unanswered questions answered.
Well, you’ve come to the right place. Read on to find out a bit more about the Copper Coil, how it’s fitted, how much it hurts and my personal experience.
First things first, there’s a little bit of boring official information for you that can be found on the NHS website, click here and it’ll take you directly to the site.
Some Questions Answered
1. Does the procedure of fitting the Copper Coil hurt?
Yes. Despite what you may read online it does hurt. Although everyone does have a different pain threshold so it may hurt a little less or more for others. In my experience the most painful part of the fitting was the “opening” of the vagina before the actual insertion.
2. How long did the procedure take?
Not long. For me it took approx 15-20 minutes from start to finish.
3. How big is the Copper Coil?
The Coil isn’t big at all, it’s probably about an inch in height and width in total, if that. When you get the Coil fitted your nurse/doctor will show you a “model” Coil, this will show you how big it is and also how long the threads are. (Below picture; the Coil and threads in relation to a womb – don’t worry, the threads are cut and are not this long!).
Honestly, the time can vary. Some people say a couple hours, others a few days. It all depends on your usual cramps and period as you will get both straight after getting the Coil fitted, there’s no sugar coating it, it bloody hurts!
5. Can you feel the Coil inside of you?
No, not at all, you wouldn’t even know you have anything inside of you!
6. How long does the Copper Coil last for?
The Coil without any hiccups will last 5 years. You can also get a 10 year Coil but they usually don’t give this to newbies unless you have already had a child as it is supposedly quite a lot bigger. Although, you can opt for the 10 year coil if you’re feeling brave!
7. How do you ensure that the Coil is still in place after the procedure?
The only way to ensure that your Coil is in place and has not moved is to feel for the threads. Your doctor/nurse will explain to you in your consultation how to feel for your threads. This can be awkward at first as you are not to sure on what you’re feeling for. You can be sure that your Coil is still in place if you can feel two thin wire threads about 0.5-1cm at the entrance to your cervix. Should you not be able to feel these / that they suddenly feel a little bit shorter then you must not put it off and you must get this checked out by a medical professional.
8. Can my partner feel the threads whilst having intercourse?
Nope! Not at all, the threads are very fine and your partner will not be able to feel these.
9. Does intercourse hurt after having the Coil fitted?
Intercourse should not hurt after having the Coil fitted, if it does then you must see a medical professional. However, I would say that you should lay off having intercourse for a couple of days after having the coil fitted as it may be a bit tender and sore in there from being poked and prodded and you don’t want to have yourself endure any unnecessary pain.
Some horrible but common side effects:
- Painful cramping
- Back pain
- Vaginal discharge
- Inflammation of the vagina
- Pelvic infection
Some painful uncommon side effects (if you have these you should seek the advice of a medical professional):
- Extreme heavy bleeding lasting a prolonged amount of time
- Feeling dizzy / in excruciating pain
- Dull constant pain in the lower abdomen for a prolonged amount of time
More in depth information about the side effects of the Copper Coil can be found here.
My Copper Coil Experience
Okay so, you may have heard many different things about the Copper Coil, some good, some bad. When I was looking for advice online I kept reading so many different things and I didn’t know what to trust, but I found a lack of stories from actual people, which is what made me decide to write this, if it helps a few people out then it’s worth it.
Before getting the Coil fitted you will be asked to attend a consultation, in this consultation the nurse/doctor will need to gather a little bit of background information on yourself. This will generally include your sexual history, your current sexual activity / partners, why you want the Copper Coil, they will also discuss with you your needs and wants in case the Coil is not right for you. They will also tell you a little bit about the Coil / what to expect but I will say they do sugar coat it a little bit. You will also be expected to do a chlamydia test. Once the consultation is over they will book you an appointment to have the Coil fitted and you may go home.
For me, the consultation was very helpful and did answer a lot of questions I had. I then had to wait 3 weeks for an appointment as the clinic was very busy.
I turned up at the clinic and booked myself in, you have to fill out lots of forms and then wait.
I wasn’t sure what to expect as I walked into the nurses room, I was terrified.
The nurse then spoke to me a little bit about the procedure and how it will go ahead, she also showed me a “model” of a Coil and showed me how big it was, where the threads will go and how to feel for your threads. She also talked me through a few of the side effects and a few of the things that may happen after the procedure.
I had to take my clothing off on the bottom half and lay on the bed they have prepared in the nurses office, they then shine a light on your vagina and basically just check to make sure everything is as it should be. Once they have done this check they “size up” your vagina and cervix so they can make sure they use the correct “tool”.
The nurse will the begin to insert the “opening device” in order to keep your cervix open enough to slip the Coil in and insert it into the correct place. I was given an anaesthetic injection into the wall of my vagina as I was finding the insertion of the device incredibly painful. The pain I experienced was like intense period pains / cramping the whole time my Coil was being fitted. The nurse/doctor will use lube to ensure that the procedure is as painless as possible.
Once the Coil was in I was allowed to sit up and get dressed ready to leave. And then started the intense cramping and heavy bleeding. I thought this was normal so I left the nurses room, booked my 6 week follow up appointment and left the building.
My mum was with me as I wanted someone to be there as I was so nervous. The cramps were getting worse and worse and the bleeding heavier with every step I took. But, as I’ve never had this done before I thought this was normal. My mum took me to a local cafe and we sat down, she got me a cup of tea and some strong painkillers in the hope I would feel better. An hour passed and I was still in intense pain. So much pain that I struggled to get home.
Once I arrived home I got myself a hot water bottle, more painkillers (totally accidentally overdosed!) and took myself to bed. I slept the whole day through.
A few days passed and the cramping was still there but not so severe. I was still bleeding heavily. I just put this down as being normal for after the procedure and continued to drug myself up and wear two thick period pads to try and contain the heavy bleeding.
I went back to work after the weekend and things started to feel back to normal, however toward the end of the week the cramps were coming back as was the heavy bleeding but I thought “it’s fine, I’ll give it some time to settle in before I start worrying”. That’s when Sunday night I was in excruciating pain.
I went to work Monday and barely coped, I drugged myself up with lots of pain killers (too many) and decided to ring my clinic back. This is when they told me the Coil had most likely moved and slipped out of place and to come to the clinic asap. I couldn’t get out of work that day though, and planned to go after work on the Tuesday.
Monday night I was up all night with excruciating pain, and heavy bleeding. I knew there was something wrong but I wasn’t sure what. It felt like more than just a misplaced Coil. I tried going to work as I can’t take too much time off work for fear of being fired. I got to the garden gate and realised nope, I can’t do this.
A day passes of prodding, poking, scans and checks.
That’s when they told me that not only had the Coil moved, but I also managed to develop PID (pelvic inflammatory disease) in the week since having my Coil fitted.
PID is basically an infection inside your cervix / womb / pelvic Area that you can contract after having the Coil fitted. Usually PID is most common in people with Chlamydia / underlying STI’s. thankfully, this was not the case for me as I was tested and i am completely all clear. I am just unlucky enough to have caught an infection.
I am now on hardcore antibiotics with horrible side effects, I’m not allowed out in the sun whilst on these pills, will cause nausea and sickness, I will feel worse before I get better, I cannot drink alcohol and I can’t have sex for two weeks.
PID can be incredibly dangerous if not treated. It can cause infertility and the infection can spread to other major organs. Thankfully, I caught it very early and I’m on the mend.
The nurses / doctors don’t tell you about this when you go for your consultation or your Coil fitting so I can’t stress enough that if you do have pain or heavy bleeding for a prolonged amount of time don’t put it off and do consult your clinic asap. Don’t be afraid of wasting anyone’s time, your health is important.
Despite all this I am so glad I had the Copper Coil fitted. I don’t have to worry about getting pregnant now for 5 whole years! I can relax, no horrible hormones killing my body slowly, I don’t have to remember a pill, I don’t have to go back for pill checks. I’m so thankful for modern medicine and for all the doctors and nurses who took the time out to check my Coil for me.
Overall, I would definitely recommend the Copper Coil to anybody, just make sure you keep an eye on any changes your body will make and always feel free to consult a medical professional.
I hope this post has been of some help to some of you.
Thank you so much for reading,