I Got The Coil IUD And It Was The Worst
As part of MTV's look at sex and relationships, one writer shares her personal account of how the coil IUD isn't necessarily the best choice of contraception for everybody...
For those of us who can’t - or don’t want to - use oestrogen based contraceptives, the coil is a great option. Rather than using hormones, the copper ions released from the device basically make your uterus and fallopian tubes toxic for sperm. RIP.
Take me, for example. The combined pill sends my blood pressure rocketing and gives me excruciating migraines, while the progestogen only pill (POP, for short - how fun) makes me bleed irregularly throughout the month (RIP every pair of underwear I own).
Fed up of surprise periods, I decided to get the copper coil - or to give it’s proper name: intrauterine device (IUD), and I was super excited about it. TEN YEARS of contraception sorted in one fell swoop! No more setting a million ‘TAKE YOUR PILL’ alarms on my phone! No more headaches! It sounded like the absolute dream.
But oh sweet Mary of Bethlehem, I couldn’t have been more wrong.The insertion process - the part I’d been most nervous about - was a breeze. You’d think that a stranger pushing a t-shaped object through your cervix into your uterus would be equal parts awkward and painful, but it was neither of those things.
In actual fact, the whole thing was quick and virtually painless, if a little uncomfortable. OK so sticking my fingers up my vageen to learn how to check that the coil and its strings are still in place (they’re very discreet - you can barely feel them, and nobody else will be able to either) wasn’t the best part of my day, but STILL. No problem.
The real issues began the next month, when my first post-coil period hit me like a ton of bricks, if those bricks were made of blood. My optimistic nature assumed this was just my body adjusting to its new little womb pal, and that things would settle down over my next few cycles.
They didn’t.I’ve always had fairly heavy periods, but this was next level - I’d soak through a SUPER tampon (you know, the heavy duty orange ones) in a few of hours, had energy-sapping monster cramps all month long, and was bleeding heavily for around 7 days per cycle.
Oh, and did I mention that these periods-from-hell were occurring between every 2 and 3 weeks? Yep, forget having to deal with ol’ mother nature just once a month, I was surfing that crimson wave every 14 days, for at LEAST a week at a time.
Not sure if you’re good at maths, but that ratio of period to non-period days is nahhhht good. I essentially felt like one big bleeding machine.
After months and months and months of this (I kept hoping it’d get better and settle down), I finally decided that the coil just wasn’t for me, and booked an appointment with my local family planning clinic to get the sucker whipped out once and for all.Again, the process was a little uncomfortable, but not at all painful - and I swear I literally heard my womb sigh in relief. The constant cramping I’d been experiencing stopped almost instantaneously, and all I could think was ‘why did I wait so long to get this out?’
And so, my search for contraception that actually works for me continues. I would like to point out that this was just MY experience, though. Many women are completely happy with the coil, and don’t have any of the problems I mentioned above.
Have a chat about your options with your GP, or medical professional at your local family planning clinic to work out what contraception is best for you. May the odds be ever in your favour.
- Words by Lizzie Cox
Now why not check out a load of guys and girls being grossed out by period chat? Good times...