What is Copper IUD Insertion?
An example of a long acting, reversible Non-hormonal method is the Copper coil. (Also called the IUD) This is a small T shaped copper device that is inserted into a woman’s womb and can be left there for up to 5-10 years depending on the brand/device.
This is done in a normal Doctor’s office without anesthetic and is a bit like having a pap smear done as a speculum is used. This device works as the copper has a spermicidal effect (it kills sperm) and it also, prevents the implantation in the womb of a fertilized egg. If a woman wishes to become pregnant after having it fitted, copper coil IUD can be removed at any time and there will be no delay in return to fertility.
It is good for women who prefer not to have hormones in their bodies. The downside is that it can sometimes make the periods heavier and a little more painful but not in everyone.
What is Mirena coil Insertion?
In contrast the Mirena coil (Also called the IUS) lasts up to five years and does contain one hormone, Progesterone which is released slowly very locally into the womb. It acts by thinning the lining of the womb to prevent a fertilized egg from implanting.
In some women, it also inhibits ovulation. (stops the ovaries from releasing an egg each month). The advantage is that Mirena coil significantly reduces blood flow and so the period becomes much lighter. In some women, the period may even temporarily stop altogether after many months of use. This is not harmful and many women prefer this.
For this reason, Doctors rarely have to remove the womb (hysterectomy) just for heavy bleeding anymore. It is therefore ideal for women who suffer with heavy periods. A disadvantage is that some women can get irregular bleeding especially during the first 3 months of use. This tends to settle doesn’t but doesn’t always. Again, it can be removed at any time if a woman wishes to become pregnant.
Any Risks Involved?
During insertion both types of coils carry a 1/1000 risk of perforation (the womb being punctured) and because the womb is a muscle in 1/20 cases the coil can be pushed out although generally if this is going to happen it will happen in the first 3 weeks. For this reason, all women should return for a coil check 3-6 weeks after insertion.
Women who have pelvic infections or who have multiple partners and are therefore at higher risk of pelvic infections should consider another method.