What is it like to get an IUD fitted?

I am going travelling in Asia so it made sense to use a long-lasting form of contraception that I didn’t have to worry about. I was done with the pill, the injection and condoms so the inevitable next step was the coil. I’d not tried the coil before as I’d heard it made your periods worse and if I’m honest, it looked like a scary thing to put inside myself.

I had originally chosen the copper coil when I had my initial consultation as I didn’t want to have any more hormones in my body. However, since stopping the pill my periods have been horrendous and I was worried that I’d be bleeding all over Everest Base Camp! This issue became apparent when I went to my coil fitting appointment and I was on the second day of my period. As soon as they went into my vagina with a speculum to check the tilt of my womb, blood splattered all over the floor.

Holding an IUD birth control device in hand
Holding an IUD birth control copper coil device in hand

The lovely doctor and nurse weren’t bothered at all as period blood is an occupational hazard but they did refer to it as a ‘flood’ of blood. They advised me that the copper coil might make my periods heavier so it might be better to get the hormonal coil instead. I agreed to the hormonal coil as they said it only releases the same amount of hormones in a week as one single pill. The doctor was actually the same lady who treated my cervical ectropion and I liked her so that put me at ease.

There is no problem with having a coil fitted when you are on your period. In fact, it’s actually better because your cervix is more open and you’re cramping anyway. I’d taken some ibuprofen to help with my period pain but the measuring of my cervix stung. I learnt that I have a larger cervix so I ended up with the Mirena coil but there is a smaller one available for smaller cervixes. I love learning things about my body as I’m into stuff like that.

Your cervix opens for childbirth and the pain on both measuring and actual insertion was intense. The pain is centred entirely around the cervix inside you and it really takes your breath away. They chat to you but its impossible to be distracted from it. I’m pretty good with pain, I’ve had tattoos, piercings, dental work and numerous injections and I can tell you it stung. It was faster than I thought as they just insert it through a straw and it opens inside you.

They check your blood pressure as you can faint afterwards, mine was fine but they advise not to get up straight away and I did feel a bit odd. You get issued with a classic NHS sanitary towel and when I got up I could see the blood flood that I’d created. Despite the mess, I recommend getting it fitted on your period and it will hurt but not for too long.

My boyfriend drove me home so I would also recommend taking the day off as I felt weird for about an hour afterwards and I had a bit of sharp pain. You have to check with your fingers that the wires are in place and they are surprisingly easy to feel. I used a microwaveable ‘hot owl’ to help with the pain and it was a good excuse to watch some bad TV!

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