What does a ‘coil’ actually look like?

I think the term ‘coil’ is unfortunate – it conjures up images of something horrible! When I show women in my surgery what a coil really looks like they are genuinely surprised. I think they’re expecting me to reveal some huge, pointy metal spring – and are therefore hugely relieved when I produce something, small, plastic and ‘T’ shaped!

Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons

Historically, intrauterine contraceptives (to be more technical, and I think less scary, than calling them coils!) weren’t always so ergonomic – and I have much respect for the women who used them and, in doing so, helped in the development of the devices we use today. However, nowadays they are mostly made of plastic, with either hormone or copper built in to the stem (sometimes the arms), and come in a special applicator to make fitting them much easier.

So don’t let the idea of a ‘coil’ put you off having one – their appearance might just surprise you!!

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