Coils – IUS & IUD

photo of coils

Coils are a method of contraception. A coil is just as reliable in preventing pregnancy as the pill. The coil is placed in your uterus.

How to go about it

  • First decide which kind of coil you want: an IUS with hormones or an IUD with copper.
  • Make an appointment with a doctor or another healthcare professional. He or she will insert the coil into your uterus.
  • You can leave the coil in place for 5-10 years.

1. IUS (intrauterine system – a hormonal coil): The hormones in an IUS prevent pregnancy. A hormonal coil prevents pregnancy for 5 years.


2. IUD (intrauterine device – a coil): The IUD contains copper and that prevents pregnancy. An IUD prevents pregnancy for 5-10 years.

Advantages and disadvantages:



  • Very reliable: you can’t forget a coil like you can forget the pill.
  • You only need to think about it once every 3-10 years.
  • A coil is even reliable if you are sick or have diarrhoea.
  • Nobody can tell that you are using contraception.


  • Your period is usually shorter, lighter and less painful. Sometimes your periods stop completely.


  • If you do not want to take hormones, a coil that releases copper is a good option.



  • Insertion can be a little bit painful.
  • A doctor has to insert it.
  • You can’t postpone your period with a coil.
  • A coil does not protect against STIs.


  • You may have irregular bleeding or spotting.


  • Your period can be a little bit more painful. You may also have slightly more bleeding than before.


In theory, a coil is just as reliable as the pill. But actually the coil is more reliable, because you don’t have to think about it all the time. That’s what makes the pill riskier, having to remember to take it every day.

Where can you get a coil?

You can get an IUS or IUD through your doctor.

When do you run the risk of pregnancy?

  • If you were too late getting a new coil inserted (how often you have to do that depends on the type of IUS or IUD - it may be 3, 5 or 10 years).
  • If you have abdominal pain, but haven’t had your coil checked. Very rarely, an IUS or IUD is rejected by your uterus. In that case, it’s no longer reliable.


Remember: A coil doesn’t protect against STIs. To prevent STIs you must use condoms.