The thought of the coil was always something that scared me a little. Whilst I’m used to going to the doctors and being poked and prodded in my lady areas, the thought of an object being inserted up there permanently kind of freaked me out. However, after years of battling with the pill, conversations about the Mirena coil began to sound more and more promising.
Why I Wanted The Mirena Coil
As you may have read in my previous Hormone Diaries posts, I’ve always struggled with heavy and irregular periods, as well as a variety of side effects from taking the contraceptive pill. After university, I began seeing a new gynaecologist who was really keen to find me a solution to my ongoing issues. I’ve had numerous tests in the past but nothing ever suggested that there was any medical cause for my constant bleeding.
We talked through the different types of coil (hormonal and copper) and it seemed the best option for me would be the hormone coil, also known as the Mirena. The coil usually reduces bleeding by up to 90% or can stop your periods completely, and research suggests it can also have an impact on your chances of getting cervical cancer. There’s also the added bonus of not having to take a pill every day and being protected against pregnancy for 3 or 5 years – depending on which coil you are fitted with.
After many discussions and being shown the Mirena coil, I made the decision that it would be a good option to try.
Having The Mirena Coil Fitted
After speaking with friends who had also had the Mirena coil, I was really nervous about having it fitted. I’d been told it was basically the same as childbirth and to expect the worst cramping and period pain of my life.
The process of inserting the coil is quite similar to an STI or smear test. First, the doctor will have a feel of your stomach and have a little feel around inside to see where your cervix is. I know that I have a tilted cervix, which basically means my cervix doesn’t sit facing outwards, it sits facing slightly upwards or towards my stomach. This can make insertion more difficult, so my doctor took a little longer checking me over than normal.
Next, they will insert something called a speculum. This is a plastic or metal tube like device which they use to open your cervix. Now, I’m aware this sounds like some sort of medieval torture but I promise, it’s not that bad. To be totally transparent and blunt, it is no bigger or wider than a penis, so chances are you’ll be absolutely fine.
Once your cervix is opened, they will begin the process of inserting the coil. This is when people’s stories of the coil really start to differ. Obviously, the coil has to be inserted into your uterus, so a little tube is popped up your cervix and into your uterus. The best way I can think to describe this is intense period pain. I found that as soon as the doctor was moving the tube up there, I had instant cramps. It was completely tolerable, and no worse than I would normally have on my period, but it was a bit odd as it wasn’t a gradual pain.
The actual insertion after this I didn’t really feel at all. The cramps continued, but I wouldn’t say they got any worse. I didn’t feel any tugging, pulling or contracting like I had been told I would and I didn’t feel sick or faint either.
Overall, I personally didn’t think having the Mirena coil fitted was that bad at all. When you think about it, obviously you can expect some discomfort as a foreign object is being inserted into you, but considering the stories I had been told and what I had previously read, I really was expecting the worst.
One thing I will say is you will need to be as comfortable as possible after the procedure. I’d recommend booking the rest of the day off after your coil insertion, if you can. Be prepared to feel like you’re having a really bad period – stock up on pain killers, hot water bottles and relax as much as you can. Eat your body weight in chocolate, watch a chick flick and have some real me time cause you probably won’t want to move at all. You’ll probably also experience some bleeding so make sure you have sanitary pads or a moon cup at home as you won’t be able to wear a tampon for this bleed. My doctor advised not using tampons or having sex for 7 days after having my coil fitted – but I’m not sure if this will vary depending on the type of coil you have so definitely double check with your doctor.
My Initial Reaction
For me, the coil has been an absolute dream. After years of constant heavy bleeding, I’m so happy that I haven’t had a period in around 8 weeks. I’ve experienced some spotting, which is totally normal, but I haven’t had to worry about tampons or pads since 2018. It’s a miracle!
I do also think it’s really important to remember that the Mirena Coil is a long term contraceptive solution and although the start of the process can be rough for some, in the long run it is worth the initial pain. It’s also important to remember the reason why it’s painful or uncomfortable – your body is getting used to having a foreign object inside of it. It’s the same as when you start a new pill and you might gain loads of weight or have irregular bleeding – your body needs time to adjust and figure out how to deal with the new hormones and things you are putting into it.
I also just want to point out that only you know your body and your limits. You may have a completely different experience to me, and that may be normal. But if you are worried at all at any time, see your doctor. I am not a medical expert and I’m only sharing my personal experience here in the hope of educating and breaking down the stigma and barriers of talking about our vaginas.
You will not be wasting anyone’s time, your feelings are valid and it is better to be seen and have nothing wrong with you than to leave it and potentially cause yourself more harm.
Have you had the Mirena coil fitted or are you considering it? How was your experience?