Having tried every contraceptive pill under the sun and a condom incident that led me to the emergency room, I recently decided it was time to get serious about contraception.
Having initially started on the pill age 17 to ease my period pains, I continued to use them for the next 3 years as a contraceptive method, too. However, unbeknownst to me, the precise pill I had been taking for 2 years was breast enlarging (something i only found out when i took myself and my H cup boobs to the GP) and, if you know my sisters and I, this really isn’t a problem we need any help with. So , I tried taking progesterone only ones (otherwise called the ‘mini pill’) and it turned out I reacted horribly to these too, with them covering my face in acne- not the best gift to receive in your 20th year of living. It was at this point i realised the pill was never going to be kind to me and explored my other options.
The problem was, both oestrogen and progesterone (the two hormones contraceptives work with) really don’t agree with me, so having ruled out the implant and injection (as well as condoms because you know what they really can get lost and lead to 2am removal services at manchester royal infirmary hospital at the end of an otherwise successful second date), i decided to enquire about the coil.
The first thing mentioned to me about the coil came from a male GP (who of course would know exactly how having a coil inserted would feel) who assured me “if you haven’t pushed a baby out of there it’s going to be horrifically painful to have a coil inserted.” So, for a few months I wrote that off and feared a lifetime of inconvenience.
However, when i revisited the idea with a female GP, her advice was a little different. “yeah it’ll hurt, but whats 5 minutes for 5 years of worry free contraception?” And with that, I had made up my mind. STOP THE PRESS and sign me up, i cried.
With this decision made, I then had the choice between the copper coil (which uses no hormones) and the hormone coil (IUS) which releases progesterone in the uterus, that then seeps into the womb. I decided to rule out the copper coil due to reports of horrific periods, and instead, go for the hormonal one. the beauty of this little gem is that it is hugely localised. Because it releases the hormone from its resting place in the womb, whilst a small amount may seep into your general system, it’s not enough to give the same side effects that swallowing the pill does. it stays in ya area and pretty much affects that region only.
SO, how does it work? the IUS is a triple threat giving you (as you can imagine) three forms of protection. Firstly, it stops you ovulating, secondly, it thickens the mucus in your womb to act as a barrier and thirdly, it stops the forming of a womb lining so even if an egg is fertilised it has nowhere to implant. the IUS is the most protective contraceptive out there (other than abstinence ey kids) giving you dat 99% u wanted. They do warn you that should you fall pregnant you’re more likely to have an ectopic pregnancy than not, but because your chances of getting pregnant are so small, it’s more likely you’ll have an ectopic pregnancy not on the coil than on it? if that makes sense? anyway, not hugely important.
with all my information stored, i set off to have it put in. i was nervous, really unsure of the level and longevity of the pain. but who could’ve known, you’d never believe it, it really wasn’t that bad. they ask you to take painkillers an hour before your appointment, and once you’re up on the bed they insert a numbing gel into your noon to help the pain later on. admittedly, this was sore, but only as bad as a period pain. more uncomfortable than painful. Then came the good part- the measuring. (on a side note, to explain why you even need to be measured: there’s two types of hormonal coil, which both have fuckin stupid names in an attempt to make them more appealing. introducing, the Jaydess and the Marina. If you can fit it, they give you the Marina which lasts 5 years, and if not, the Jaydess that serves you loyally for 3. “Ha, there’s no chance we’re getting the Marina in there” she said. .. .wasn’t sure how to take it really)
So, the measuring process basically involves a little stick being inserted into the vagina to see the diameter of your cervix. And jesus fucking christ it hurt like a bitch. its like the sharpest shooting pain you’ve ever known and i looked at the nurse with a look of help I’m not sure i’ve ever needed to use before. But, after enduring the torture for an almighty 4 seconds (as in like, actually 4-5 seconds) it was over. And then she inserted the coil, and it was exactly the same. Horrifying, for 4 seconds. And then it was done. For 3 years of protection? aint nothin but a breeze. you’re looking at 10 seconds of agony, and who can’t handle that? Without giving you way too much information, my cervix is definitely on the smaller side, so you’re hearing this report from someone on the bad end of the ordeal.
In fairness, I had bad cramps for the following week, but other than that it’s been ace. I love feeling protected without any effort on my part and I really would recommend it to anyone. Don’t let the pain aspect scare you off. My housemate flora got one too and came home saying ‘it didn’t even hurt’, so there’s that, too.