How a Coil can help you beyond Contraception

BlogContraceptive Coils

Written by

Catherine Smith

Published on

Thoughtful young woman considering different means of contraception

When considering your reproductive health and contraceptive options, you may already be familiar with the intrauterine device (IUD), commonly referred to as the ‘coil’. Renowned for its effectiveness in preventing pregnancy, the coil has become a staple in long-term family planning. Nevertheless, the array of non-contraceptive benefits of the coil may yet be uncharted territory for you. From the hormonal coil to the copper coil, each type brings its own set of IUD advantages that extend well past their primary role. In this discussion, we shall explore how these devices can contribute to a broader spectrum of health benefits, reinforcing your well-being far beyond their contraceptive utility.

Key Takeaways

  • The coil offers an array of advantages that support overall reproductive health.
  • Non-contraceptive benefits of the coil can have a positive impact on various gynaecological issues.
  • Hormonal and copper coils contribute uniquely to non-contraceptive health perks.
  • IUDs play a significant role in managing menstrual-related concerns.
  • Understanding the full scope of IUD benefits can inform your contraceptive choice.
  • Engaging with healthcare professionals is pivotal for personalised advice on IUD use.
  • Coils are more than just a method of contraception; they are a tool for improved well-being.

Understanding the Contraceptive Coil and Its Functions

When considering long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), the intrauterine device (IUD), commonly known as the contraceptive coil, is a prominent option favoured for its reliability and duration of use. As you navigate the choices available to you in the realm of reproductive health, a comprehensive understanding of the IUD’s application and mode of action is vital.

What is a Contraceptive Coil?

An IUD is a small, T-shaped device inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. It is recognised as a form of LARC due to its effectiveness in providing contraception over an extended period, minimising the need for daily reminders.

How Does a Contraceptive Coil Work for Birth Control?

The IUD functions by either releasing hormones or utilising the properties of copper to provide contraceptive protection. Hormonal IUDs release progestin, which thickens the cervical mucus, hindering sperm movement and thinning the uterine lining, thus reducing the likelihood of implantation should fertilisation occur. Copper IUDs, on the other hand, release copper ions, which are toxic to sperm, thus preventing sperm from reaching and fertilising the egg.

Types of Coils and Their Differences

Choosing between a hormonal IUD and a copper IUD often depends on individual health needs and preferences. Below you’ll find a comparative table highlighting key distinctions to guide your decision.

FeatureHormonal IUDCopper IUD
Primary ComponentContains progestin hormoneContains copper
Duration of Effectiveness3-8 years, depending on the brandUp to 10 years
Mode of ActionThickens cervical mucus, thins uterine liningReleases copper to disrupt sperm motility and viability
Effect on Menstrual CycleMay reduce menstrual bleeding and crampsMay increase menstrual bleeding and cramps initially
IUD InsertionPerformed by a healthcare professionalPerformed by a healthcare professional

Informed by recent guidelines from the NHS and gynaecological research, this table summarises the fundamental attributes to consider. It’s essential to discuss these options with your healthcare provider to evaluate which type aligns best with your unique circumstances.

The Contraceptive Coil as a Menstrual Management Tool

While commonly known for its contraceptive properties, the coil also serves as an essential tool for menstrual management, offering relief and regulation for various menstrual concerns. Engaging with the therapeutic uses of this device may yield significant benefits in the day-to-day life of women experiencing menstrual irregularities. Let’s delve into how the coil can alleviate some of the most common menstrual issues.

Reducing Menstrual Cramps

Dysmenorrhoea, or painful menstrual cramps, can be debilitating, affecting daily activities and overall quality of life. The hormonal coil has been lauded for its capacity to lessen the intensity and occurrence of menstrual cramps. This is primarily associated with hormonal coils that release progestin, which may help to relax the uterine muscles, consequently providing menstrual relief from the discomfort of cramps.

Managing Heavy Bleeding

Menorrhagia, the medical term for heavy menstrual bleeding, poses substantial challenges, including the risk of anaemia. Here, the hormonal coil is particularly efficacious in mitigating heavy flows, leading to lighter periods. By diminishing menstrual blood loss, the coil not only improves physical well-being but also contributes to greater emotional and psychological comfort during one’s period.

Additional Health Benefits You Might not Know

When considering a contraceptive coil, it’s crucial to evaluate not only its primary purpose of preventing unwanted pregnancies but also its broader implications for your health. Indeed, while the contraception side effects are often discussed, it’s the IUD benefits that contribute significantly to systemic health effects and may continue to assist your wellbeing long after insertion.

One of the most notable advantages of using an IUD is the potential reduction in menstrual flow. This is more than just a convenience; lighter periods can lead to substantial improvements in iron stores. For women who experience heavy bleeding, this can translate into diminished risks of iron-deficiency anaemia, often characterised by tiredness, shortness of breath, and pallor. Hence, an IUD could be an unexpected ally in maintaining your energy levels and overall vitality.

Moreover, epidemiological research has indicated a correlation between the use of contraceptive coils and a decreased likelihood of developing certain types of gynaecological cancers. This connection is one of the systemic health effects that can have long-lasting repercussions on your health. Below, a comparison of non-contraceptive benefits associated with both hormonal and copper IUDs are outlined in greater detail:

BenefitHormonal IUDCopper IUD
Menstrual FlowGenerally reducedMay increase in some individuals
Iron StoresPotentially improved due to lighter periodsVaries; may deplete if bleeding is heavier
Risk of Gynaecological CancersPossible reduced risk, particularly of endometrial cancerNo conclusive evidence of cancer risk reduction

As you consider the non-contraceptive advantages of IUDs, it is vital to have a comprehensive discussion with your healthcare provider about how its attributes align with your individual health needs and lifestyle. Keep in mind that every medical decision is deeply personal and should be made based on a full understanding of the benefits and risks involved.

Contraceptive Coil’s Role in Reproductive Health

Exploring the vast potential of contraceptive coils, commonly known as IUDs, reveals their pivotal role in safeguarding reproductive health. Distinct from their contraceptive function, these devices confer critical benefits, notably in the areas of infection prevention, cancer risk mitigation, and fertility management. Evidence and guidelines from leading health authorities, such as the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists, provide the basis for understanding these advantages.

Prevention of Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

The safety of intrauterine devices (IUDs) plays an instrumental role in reducing the incidence of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), provided they are inserted with precision and care. PID, a severe complication often arising from sexually transmitted infections, poses a significant threat to long-term reproductive health. The meticulous insertion procedure minimises the risk of infection, highlighting the importance of professional guidance when opting for an IUD.

Protective Effects Against Endometrial Cancer

Hormonal coils have been linked to a lowered risk of endometrial cancer, with their progestogen component playing a key role in endometrial cancer prevention. By thinning the endometrial lining and reducing menstrual bleeding, the hormonal IUD presents a substantial protective factor against the development of this type of cancer, thereby contributing to overall gynaecological well-being.

Possibility of Preserving Fertility

For women who seek to postpone childbearing, contraceptive coils offer a reversible yet robust method for fertility preservation. The non-permanent nature of this contraception affords you the flexibility to plan for a family when the timing is right for you, without compromising the potential for future fertility. This balancing act between reliable contraception and the preservation of reproductive choices is a profound aspect of IUD safety and application.

Aspect of Reproductive HealthImpact of Contraceptive CoilConsiderations for Use
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID) PreventionLower risk when correctly insertedProfessional insertion to minimise infection risk
Endometrial Cancer Risk MitigationReduced risk associated with hormonal IUDsConsideration of hormonal coil for at-risk individuals
Fertility PreservationPossible to maintain fertility after removalChoice of reversible, non-permanent contraception


Throughout the exploration of the contraceptive coil, we’ve uncovered a myriad of ways this device not only serves as reliable long-term contraception but also significantly contributes to broader aspects of your health. The informed choice to utilise a contraceptive method should encompass the understanding of its extensive benefits, and coils indeed exemplify this with their role in personalised healthcare.

Reflecting on the previous discussions, it’s evident that the choice of a contraceptive coil transcends mere pregnancy prevention. The hormonal and copper coils are nuanced options in the tapestry of contraceptive options available to you. In considering long-term contraception, acknowledging the non-contraceptive advantages can greatly influence your decision towards the most suitable method for your lifestyle and health needs.

Personalised healthcare means that your unique circumstances receive the attention they deserve. Consulting with healthcare professionals is a pivotal step in determining the most beneficial course of action. They can offer tailored advice that aligns with the collective insights presented here, ensuring your reproductive health decisions are well-formed and beneficial in the long term.

Contraceptive CoilBenefits Beyond Contraception
Hormonal IUDRegulates menstrual cycles, reduces menstrual cramps, and manages heavy bleeding
Copper IUDFree from hormones, provides long-term contraception without systemic hormonal effects
Both IUD TypesCan potentially reduce the risk of gynaecological cancers and improve iron stores

As you weigh your contraceptive choices, it is important to consider not just your immediate needs but also the long-term implications for your health. The contraceptive coil, with its dual capacity for pregnancy prevention and health management, may offer a comprehensive solution for those seeking a balanced approach to their reproductive and overall well being.

Your health is paramount, and armed with knowledge, you are now more equipped to make choices that resonate with you personally and benefit your wellness journey. The contraceptive coil is not merely a device for family planning; it’s a catalyst for empowered healthcare decisions and a testament to the importance of informed choice in our ever-evolving healthcare landscape.

At The Coil Clinic, we offer individualised care to help you find the contraception that suits you best.

Dr Catherine Smith

Dr Catherine Smith is the founder of The Coil Clinic. A GP and Women's Health Expert with nearly 20 years of experience. She is a BMS Certified Menopause Specialist