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Why Women Should Not Have To Suffer Painful Coil Fittings

More and more women are sharing harrowing and painful experiences of having a coil fitted, and the subject made headline news recently when BBC presenter Naga Munchetty described it as one of the most traumatic experiences she’s ever had.

And that’s not all – an article in The Times by columnist Caitlin Moran triggered hundreds of social media posts, sharing similar distressing experiences. Such reports can understandably cause anxiety amongst women who are thinking of getting a coil fitted. Here we take a look at what's behind the news stories, and arm you with some facts about the coil.


What’s behind the news stories?

Recent reports in the Metro, Times and Independent newspapers have highlighted a concerning issue – that hundreds of women are going through significant discomfort when having a coil - also known as an IUD - inserted or removed. Many women say they were not offered any pain relief during the procedure.  

These stories are not unusual and women have reported feeling that they are just expected to ‘put up’ with a high level of pain. However experts believe that it’s time to have more open conversations and change needs to take place, particularly as the coil is one of the safest and most convenient forms of contraception for women. 


Is it normal to experience pain during a coil fitting?

Although pain should not be a normal part of the procedure, the reality is thousands of women experience discomfort that they shouldn’t have to. NHS guidelines state that women can ask for pain relief, including a local anaesthetic, and it’s important that you feel able to discuss this with your GP beforehand. The guidelines also advise that you should let your doctor know if you feel any pain during the fitting and you can request them to stop at any time.


How do coils work and why do many women choose to have them fitted?

A coil is a small T-shaped device that’s implanted in the uterus and protects against pregnancy, either by releasing a small amount of hormone or copper into the area. It can also be used to treat hormonal imbalances. 

Experts agree that it is one of the most effective and safe ways to prevent a pregnancy. Many women like the fact that they release very low or no amounts of hormone into the body, and once they are fitted you can forget about them. No more remembering to take the pill or pregnancy scares, as they are more than 99% effective.


How can I make sure I don’t feel any pain when having a coil inserted or removed?

Here at The Medical Chambers our Consultant Gynaecologists are experienced and highly skilled at inserting or removing coils. They understand that this is an intimate procedure and you should feel as relaxed and comfortable as possible.  

Using an ultrasound scan they will review the size and position of your uterus and ovaries, and see how it is tilted. Together you will decide on the best form of pain relief, if needed, including local anaesthetic injections or gels. After the fitting you will have another scan to make sure the coil is in the right place, as the main reason for developing problems afterwards is an incorrectly positioned device.

Consultant Gynaecologist Mr Pandelis Athanasias says it is important that his patients have a detailed and unhurried consultation before the procedure. ‘Women should be fully informed of everything that’s going to happen when a coil is fitted, and have the opportunity to ask as many questions as they need to. I strongly believe with the right expertise we can minimise any discomfort. I would hate to see anyone being put off using the coil, as it is a highly effective form of contraception.’

If you’d like to find out more, or make an appointment with one of our team of gynaecologists please call 020 7244 4200 or make an appointment online.