What to expect following your contraceptive coil fit
Immediately after your contraceptive coil fit it is normal to experience some period-like symptoms such as stomach cramps and some bleeding. You may find the cramps continue for a few hours or a few days and the bleeding can be light, such as pink or brown spotting, or red and a little heavier.
You can relieve the cramps by taking paracetamol, ibuprofen or whichever type of painkillers you normally take.
How long do the pain and cramps last for?
Some people are fine after having a contraceptive coil fitting and go straight back to work/college. Others are more uncomfortable and may need to rest for a few hours. You must do what is best for you.
The most important thing about bleeding and pain after a coil fitting is that it stays the same or reduces, so you know things are headed in the right direction. If your pain and bleeding suddenly increase that could be a sign of infection or that the coil is slipping so you need to see a doctor or nurse as soon as possible and ideally within 24 hours.
If by three weeks after the fitting everything has settled down, then that is a good time to check your coil strings. You can do this by putting one or two fingers in the vagina and finding your cervix (which feels like your nose). The strings will be at the top of the vagina though may be tucked around your cervix. If you feel fine and can feel your coil strings then you do not need to see a doctor or nurse for a check. If you cannot feel your strings or are worried about anything, then you can arrange to see a doctor or nurse for a coil check.
Guidelines for what you can do and when after having a contraceptive coil fitted.
- Sex – we would advise waiting for 24 hours before having sex to allow the coil to settle (check with the doctor or nurse if your coil works immediately or if you need to continue using additional contraception)
- Tampons – in the first 24 hours use a pad if you need to. This will give the coil time to settle.
- Moon cups – manufacturers recommend delaying use of a moon cup for six weeks after having a coil fitted. They also recommend that you make sure the cup is low in the vagina and that you break the seal before you remove it.
- Relying on the coil for contraception – ask your doctor or nurse when you can use the coil for contraception. Sometimes it is straightaway but sometimes you need additional contraception for seven days. If you forget to ask it’s best to just use additional contraception for seven days.
- Exercise including swimming – it is best to wait 24 – 48 hours before exercise to let the coil settle. If you are still experiencing pain after the fitting it is best to wait until that stops.
- Gym plates – it is advised that you should wait for 6 weeks after the coil is fitted before using gym plates.
- X-rays including an MRI – having an Xray including an MRI is generally fine but always tell the person doing your Xray or scan that you have a coil.
If you are ever worried that your coil has moved or if you can’t feel the strings then get advice from a sexual health service or doctor.