Female Health

Long Acting Reversible Contraception

As these methods are the most reliable and the safest, AND have the advantage of you not having to remember to take a pill every day, I always think they deserve their own page.

Intrauterine Contraception

These are often known as ‘coils’ although only a few of them actually contain coils of copper!

We fit all makes of copper and hormonal ‘coil’ here at Wooda- if you are interested, book in to our Well Woman Clinic.

Intrauterine System (IUS, or Mirena/Jaydess/Kyleena/Levosert)Intrauterine Device (IUD, or Copper Coil)
More than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy
Works by making the lining of the womb thin so the egg cannot plant itself in it, and making it difficult for sperm to swim through the neck of the womb – some women even stop ovulating with MirenaTM
Contains a hormone called levonorgestrel
Lasts for 5 years
Reduces bleeding significantly for most women (the majority have no periods at all by 12 months)
Can cause irregular bleeding and weight, mood and skin changes (although interestingly
More than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy
Works by irritating the lining of the womb and stopping the egg from planting itself in it
Last for 5-10 years depending on coil used
Doesn’t contain any hormones
Can be used as emergency contraception up to 19 days after your last period
Can cause heavier, more painful periods  

What to expect on the day of the fitting…

  • You will go into the treatment room with a doctor and a nurse – feel free to ask any questions at any time
  • You may put your legs up in stirrups depending on the doctor performing the procedure
  • A ‘speculum’ will be put into your vagina (as during a cervical ‘smear’ test)
  • The neck of your womb may be held while the coil is put in using a thin tube – this can feel like a bad period cramp – let your doctor know if you are very uncomfortable
  • The threads of the coil are then cut to a comfortable length for you
  • You should lie down until you are feeling ready to get up

After the procedure…

  • A copper coil works as a contraceptive straight away, but use condoms during sex for 7 days after a MirenaTM fitting – it is safe to have sex straight away after fitting
  • You will have some crampy abdominal pain initially – try using ibuprofen and heat (eg. a hot water bottle) to help with this
  • You should expect some spotting of blood (bring some panty-liners with you to your appointment) for up to 6 weeks after the procedure
  • For up to 3-6 months with the Mirena TM you can expect some irregular bleeding, but this settles in most women – the majority of women will either have no periods or very light bleeding only after this time
  • Tampons or sanitary towels can be used straight away
The coil (IUD): pros, cons and potential side-effects
Here is a Mirena IUS (intrauterine system) in place inside the womb.

The Implant

This is a flexible rod which is inserted, with local anaesthetic, in to your upper arm. It lasts for 3 years and is over 99% reliable. It contains a very small dose of a hormone called progestogen, which stops you from releasing an egg each month. It also tends to stop or reduce your periods, in 80% of women, but 20% will get very annoying frequent bleeding, which we can usually get under control with a short course of extra hormone tablets- but no method suits everyone!

The side effects include the following:

  • Breast tenderness
  • Mood fluctuations
  • Greasy skin/hair
  • Periods stopping completely (20%) or being very light and irregular (60%) or very frequent and annoying (20%)
Nexplanon birth control

Contraception Injections

At the moment their are two types of contraceptive injection, both of which stop your ovaries from releasing an egg each month. The first type, Depo-Provera, is injected into the buttock every 13 weeks by the practice nurses here at the surgery.

The second type is injected just under the skin, and can be done yourself at home, once our nursing team have trained you in the simple technique! This one is called Sayana Press.

The side effects are very similar and include the following:

  • Weight gain (about an average of 2kg in women over the first 12 months, although many women also LOSE weight. You are more likely to gain weight on it if you were overweight initially)
  • Breast tenderness
  • Mood fluctuations
  • Greasy skin/hair
  • Periods stopping completely/being very light and irregular
  • A little delay in your fertility getting completely back to normal (around 6 months after the last injection)
Contraceptive injection
Depo Provera injection being given into muscle.
Close up of hand holding the Sayana Press contraceptive device
The new Sayana Press self-administration injection.