Lockdown implications for coil removal

June 02 2021   |   News

When the country went into lockdown in March 2020, a halt was put on a wide range of non-urgent procedures.

But more than a year on, the lack of access to some of those procedures are causing worry.

One of our patients recently contacted her GP surgery because the removal date of her coil had passed and she was experiencing pain – but they were too busy to call her back. 

She explained her worries when she came to Summerfield Healthcare’s women’s health clinic to have the IUD removed.

Dr Wendy Matthews said: “The fact is the NHS is under a huge amount of pressure at the moment and GP appointments are in great demand following a long period of time where people have been unable to see their local doctor for non-emergency issues.

“These are non-urgent procedures but not being able to have a coil taken out such a long time after the expiration date you were given can be extremely worrying, more so for those who may be experiencing pain or discomfort.

“We would urge people not to try and remove their own IUD as it is a medical procedure and should be done by a trained professional.”

How long can a coil stay in?

This depends on what type of coil/intrauterine device (IUD) you have had fitted. Usually, your IUD will be removed after five or 10 years depending on the type of IUD and factors such as your age.

Why is it important to have my coil removed before its expiration date?

There are two main reasons there is an expiration date on coils such as the Mirena coil, and they are:

  • If the IUD is left in your uterus it could cause infection, which can be serious and cause infertility.
  • The second risk is that an expired IUD may not be an effective method of birth control.

Often the coil will continue to be fine for a period of time after the expiration date – to allow for potential delays in removal – but those who are now more than a year past the expiration date, and are worried about the situation, should contact a GP to discuss their options.

Can I remove my coil myself?

An IUD should be removed by a trained doctor or nurse practitioner as IUD removal is a medical procedure.

A number of women experience a drop in blood pressure in response to having their cervix touched and this is another reason that removal should take place in the presence of trained medical professionals.

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