A hormonal coil between a finger and thumb

The hormonal coil (the IUS) is made of plastic and releases a small amount of progestogen hormone which is similar to one of women's own hormones.

It's put into the womb by a doctor or nurse and lasts up to 5 years.

The IUS can be wonderful in helping heavy or painful periods.

Effectiveness

Positives

  • Lasts up to 5 years
  • No need to remember pills or patches
  • It doesn’t interrupt sex
  • It’s extremely good at preventing pregnancy
  • Periods are usually lighter and less painful
  • It's a low level of a very safe hormone which is suitable for most women
  • It's usually quick and easy to take out
  • Can help with PMS

Negatives

  • Having an IUS put in can be painful
  • Some women have irregular bleeding
  • The IUS can come out (1 in 20 women)
  • STI check needed before putting it in
  • Sometimes mood changes, skin problems or breast tenderness

Rare risks

  • IUD through the wall of the womb when it's put in (fewer than 1 in 1000 women)
  • Pregnancy outside the womb (ectopic pregnancy) - possible but rare CHECK

The IUS is great if pills are a nuisance to remember 

It lasts up to 5 years, and is not affected by other medicines, vomiting or diarrhoea

The IUS contains a lower level of hormones

The IUS has the lowest level of hormone of all the hormonal methods of contraception

The IUS does not cause infertility

Fertility returns to normal after having the IUS taken out.  It’s important to know that it’s less easy to get pregnant as women gets older – it’s naturally harder to get pregnant over the age of 35 (although this can definitely still happen!).  Find out more abuot infertility here

Partners won’t feel the IUS during sex

Some men do notice the threads during sex, but the threads can be trimmed so they are out of the way

Nobody knows that you have an IUS

The IUS can be kept secret since it's right inside the womb

Women don’t need a period once a month

The IUS stops the lining of the womb from building up and the womb lining stays thin – blood doesn’t build up inside, and it can help women feel more energetic if they are not losing iron each month in a period. Find out more about periods here

Many women use the IUS for its benefits even if they don't need it for contraception

It can be fantastic for period pain, lighter periods, and to level out the moodiness of premenstrual tension

The IUS can come out especially after periods in the first three months (1 in 20 women)

Using a menstrual cup for periods can pull the IUS out

It's important to check the threads (feeling for them inside the vagina after every period)

What's right for you?

    Good to know

    The IUS usually makes periods lighter, shorter and less painful. Some women will have no periods at all, especially if they have been using it for a while. 

    Some women get irregular bleeding which is not harmful but can be a nuisance - it's worth seeking advice if this happens.

    The IUS can be painful to put in, but is usually easy to take out.

    How much effort is the IUS?

    The IUS is put in by a doctor or nurse at a GP surgery, sexual health clinic or family planning clinic. It takes about 15 to 20 minutes to put in.

    The fitting can be painful, and it’s common to have some pain and bleeding for a few days after. 

    It's important to make sure a woman is not already pregnant when it's put in. Clinics will advise about this.  Find out more about where to get an IUS here

    Once fitted, the IUS is effective for between 3 and 5 years, depending on the type.

    How effective is the IUS?

    The IUS is more than 99% effective – if 100 women use it for a year, less than one will have an unplanned pregnancy.

    How does it work?

    The IUS releases a small amount of progestogen hormone which thickens the fluid around the neck of the womb (which stops sperm getting to an egg), and makes the lining of the womb thinner so that a fertilised egg can’t settle and grow. 

    What's right for you?