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IUS (Coil with hormones) – What do I need to know?

The Intra Uterine System or IUS is a small T-shaped plastic device which slowly releases a progestogen hormone . It is put into the womb (uterus) for contraception.

How does the IUS work?

  • It thickens the cervical mucus which prevents sperm from reaching an egg
  • It thins the lining of the womb to prevent a fertilised egg implanting

 

Are there any advantages to the IUS?

  • The IUS works for three-to-five years, depending on the type,  but it can be taken out sooner if you want to get pregnant or change to another type of contraception
  • You don’t have to think about contraception for as long as the IUS is in place
  • With the IUS, periods usually become lighter, shorter and sometimes less painful
  • When the IUS is removed your fertility will return to normal

Are there any disadvantages or risks to the IUS?

  • Irregular bleeding or spotting is common in the first six months
  • Your periods may stop altogether (this is perfectly safe)
  • There is a very small chance of getting an infection during the first 20 days after insertion
  • There is a small chance that the IUS could fall out after it is fitted
  • The fitting of a coil can be uncomfortable

Further Information about the IUS

  • If fitted after age 45, the IUS can stay in place until the menopause
  • Women are taught to check the IUS is in place by feeling for the threads
  • The IUS can be helpful for women with very heavy and/or painful periods
  • A check for any sexually transmitted infections is usually advised before an IUS is put in
  • The IUS is not affected by other medicines

For more information about the advantages, disadvantages and risks of the IUS you may want to read the leaflet on the link below.

Where can I get an IUS fitted?

You can get an IUS fitted at the following places:

  •  Your GP (if there is someone at your practice who fits them)
  • Unity Sexual Health (If you are under 20 years old you do not need to be referred by your GP. If you are over 20 years old you will need to ask your GP for a referral letter)

You can get further information about the IUS from the FPA website (see the link above).

If you do decide to have an IUS fitted, please read our leaflet “Practical advice before you have an IUS fitted” (see the link below) to give you helpful tips on how to make the appointment run as smoothly as possible.

It would be helpful if you completed a brief self-assessment to make sure that you are properly prepared for the coil fit. You may wish to print off this form and bring it with you to your appointment.

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