In this video, Dr Josie Wheeler explains the the pros and cons of the copper coil.
Welcome to Amicus Health contraception service. I'm Dr Wheeler. We've made this video today to talk a little bit about copper coils.This is a copper coil. It's a small plastic T-shaped device attached to some thread. The thread sits in the top of the vagina. This means we can easily remove the coil at any stage. Also, you can check your own thread to make sure your coil is in the right place. The copper coil works by releasing copper into the womb. This kills sperm. In some cases it may also stop an egg from implanting into the lining of the womb.The copper coil is an extremely effective method of contraception, at over 99%, and it can be used for up to ten years. It contains no hormone whatsoever. As a side effect of how it works, sometimes it can make periods heavier and more painful, although not all women experience this.It can also be fitted as a method of emergency contraception in the five days after unprotected sex occurs.There's a small risk of infection when you fit a coil, particularly in the first three weeks. Therefore, if you feel you may be at risk of a sexually transmitted infection, for example you've had a new partner in the last twelve months, I would recommend that you see one of our nurses to have some swabs two or three weeks before the appointment to give us time to get the results back and to treat any infection that may exist.No method of contraception is 100% effective. Therefore, if you were to fall pregnant with a copper coil in place, this pregnancy could be in the tubes (something called an 'ectopic' pregnancy) and it would be really important that you let a doctor know if this was to occur.If you think you might like to have a copper coil fitted, then please book an appointment in the contraceptive service. We'll sit down and have a conversation about whether this is the right method for you because everybody is different.When you come in, if you do decide to have it fitted, it's a similar procedure to having a smear test, but a bit more involved, so I'd recommend that you take some paracetamol and, if you can, ibuprofen up to two hours before the procedure, and make sure you've got a quiet day organised afterwards.In summary, the benefits of the copper coil are that it can be used for up to ten years, when it's removed your fertility goes straight back to normal, it can be used as emergency contraception, and it contains no hormone at all. Also, you don't have to remember to take a pill each day.