Virtually Healthcare is an innovative GP practice that provides comprehensive contraception care and sexual health services. Appointments are easily accessible remotely or in person, and appointments are free of charge on the NHS.
IUD stands for intrauterine device, often known as the coil or copper coil. It is a type of reversible, non-hormonal contraception for women.
The IUD is a small t-shaped device made from plastic and copper. Your family planning doctor places it in the womb through the cervix. The coil is toxic to sperm and also prevents pregnancy by stopping a fertilised egg from implanting in the womb.
The coil is a safe, effective, long-term method of contraception. It protects against pregnancy for 5-10 years and is around 99% effective1 .
The IUD acts in three ways to prevent pregnancy. The device contains copper, which is toxic to sperm, reducing the risk of fertilisation, and it changes the mucous in the cervix so that it is more difficult for sperm to get through. In addition, the coil prevents a fertilised egg from implanting in the womb. You are protected from pregnancy from the time of insertion.
The coil is sometimes used as a method of emergency post-coital contraception because it stops a fertilised egg from implanting. If a coil is inserted up to five days following unprotected sex or the earliest possible date of ovulation, it can prevent pregnancy.2
The specialist family planning GPs at Virtually Healthcare provide expert advice and a wide range of contraceptive services. They will listen to your lifestyle, preferences, and pregnancy plans before suggesting the best family planning options for your needs. These could include the copper coil or hormonal methods including the pill, mini-pill, contraceptive implants and injections, barrier methods such as condoms and caps, or hormonal intrauterine systems like the Mirena device.
The length of time you can keep your coil will depend on your age and the specific device. Different coils can stay in position for between five and ten years. If you are over 40 when the coil is inserted, the coil can remain in place until after the menopause.
Virtually Healthcare is a cutting-edge GP practice, providing expert care in the surgery or the privacy of your home. The Virtually Healthcare service is designed for modern lifestyles. You can access consultations easily with virtual appointments available seven days a week.
The highly skilled team includes more than 40 clinicians working together to investigate and treat disease and help you optimise your health and wellbeing. There are experienced GPs, sexual health specialists, family planning doctors, physiotherapists and practice nurses working together to provide a comprehensive primary care service.
During the pandemic, many patients are finding it more difficult to access healthcare. Virtually Healthcare provides rapid access video or telephone appointments, with consultations available the same day if you contact us before 3 pm. Our clinicians can provide professional assessment and advice, arrange investigations, prescribe treatment or arrange for a face-to-face review.
At Virtually Healthcare, our focus is on you. Our clinicians take a holistic approach to care. Whether you want an easy, convenient way to get contraception or a discreet testing service for STIs, our dedicated team can provide expert advice and treatment.
The right choice of contraception is highly individual. It will depend on your lifestyle, your sex life, your preferences and any future family plans. Your doctor will take you through the pros and cons of any method of contraception so that you can make an informed choice. For the coil, these include:
You will need an internal examination to insert and remove the coil. It is like having a smear test. You will lie on an examination couch, and the experienced doctor will insert a plastic speculum to help them access the neck of the womb.
Using fine instruments, they will carefully place the narrow t-shaped device in the cervix. When it is in position, they will trim the ends of the cords connected to the IUD then remove the speculum.
You should be able to feel the ends of the cords if you place your fingers up to the top of your vagina, but they shouldn’t be uncomfortable during intercourse. Please check the threads three times in the month after insertion, then monthly after that.
After coil insertion, you may notice some bleeding and cramping lower abdominal pain. Over-the-counter painkillers should help ease this discomfort.
You will also need an internal to remove the coil. The procedure is similar to insertion. Your doctor will carefully insert a speculum, then use a long, fine, sterile instrument to pull the coil strings and remove the coil.
One of Virtually Healthcare’s family planning specialists reports on the questions and concerns they currently see in their consultations.
The IUD is a non-hormonal contraceptive device. It is a fine t-shaped device made of plastic and copper.
The IUS is a particular type of coil that releases small amounts of progestogen, a synthetic form of the hormone progesterone.
Both the IUS and the IUD are long-term, reversible forms of contraception for women. They are both placed in the neck of the womb and stop fertilised eggs implanting in the womb. However, there are key differences:
The IUD does not release hormones. It does not affect your menstrual pattern, but menstrual bleeding is often heavier. The IUD or copper coil can protect against pregnancy for 5-10 years and is around 99% effective.
The copper coil is a non-hormonal method of contraception. There is no evidence that it has any effect on your tendency to gain or lose weight.
Although you should be able to feel and check the coil strings, it isn’t safe to do a DIY coil removal. It is a delicate procedure that should be carried out by a trained doctor or family planning professional. Tugging on the cords yourself could tear the delicate tissue and risk internal damage.
The coil should have no lasting effect on your cycle or fertility. After the doctor removes your coil, your body should be able to conceive as soon as you ovulate. There is no need to wait, it’s safe to try for pregnancy as soon as you feel ready.
We offer written, telephone and video consultations with a range of male and female clinicians from GPs, nurse practitioners, and primary care specialists such as physiotherapy.