How to Check Your Coil Threads after a Coil Fit
Checking your coil threads
There are two threads attached to the bottom of your IUD (intrauterine device) that come down the womb and out of the cervix (neck of the womb). When in place they sit high up in the vaginal canal. These threads allow you to check that your coil remains in place. They are also there so that your doctor can remove your IUD at a later date.
Your IUD may stop working if it slips either partially or completely out of place (known as expulsion). You may not experience any symptoms if this happens, therefore it’s important to check the threads regularly. Occasionally the threads can also curl up within the womb itself.
How to check your coil threads:
- Wash your hands
- Either sit or squat
- Insert your index or middle finger into your vagina until you touch the cervix (which should feel like the tip of your nose)
- If you can feel both the IUD threads then your IUD is in place. The threads will feel like fishing line.
- If the IUD threads feel longer or shorter than the last time you checked, or you cannot feel them at all, then your IUD may have moved.
When should I check my IUD threads?
The best time to check your IUD threads is at the end of each period as the cervix will be lowest in the vaginal canal at this point of your menstrual cycle.
It is particularly important to check your IUD every four weeks after fitting. If your IUD is going to move out of place it will most likely do so in the first few months after it has been inserted.
If you can’t feel your IUD threads you should check your pads/tampons/menstrual cup to ensure that it has not come out. After this initial period, you should check your IUD threads every few months.
What should I do if I think my IUD has moved?
If your IUD has moved it will need to be put back in place by a doctor or the coil may have to be replaced. DO NOT try to push the IUD back up into place.
Contact your GP practice to make a follow up appointment with a nurse or doctor for an internal examination. You may require an ultrasound or abdominal X-ray to locate the coil if it is not visualised during the examination.
Until you can get to a doctor or nurse, make sure that you use a backup contraception, like a condom.
You may choose to have the IUD threads cut shorter if they can be felt by your sexual partner, however, this will obviously make it more difficult for you to check them.
MSI Reproductive Choices
MSI Reproductive Choices UK is commissioned by NHS Sussex to provide NHS abortion care services.
MSI Reproductive Choices is a well-established sexual health charity. They provide services to communities in Sussex to offer reproductive healthcare services. Their aim is to help make it straightforward for women to find the information they need about abortion care, and to be able to self-refer for a consultation as easily and conveniently as possible.
Patients can call the central Call Centre on 0345 300 8090 which is available 24/7. Patients can call for information, support or to book treatment.
Patients do not need a GP referral to access their TOP pathway. They can self-refer via the telephone number above. Where possible MSI Reproductive Choices UK are able to offer same day appointments and treatment.
Reproductive Choices UK's medical abortion pathway is available from their clinics in Brighton, Crawley, Hastings and Bognor Regis. Their surgical pathway is available from their clinic in Brighton. Please see the below link detailing full clinic addresses and opening times.
Their abortion care pathway also includes the following services:
- Telemedicine (early medical abortion pills sent by post, for home use)
- Full range of contraception methods, including a full range of Long Acting Reversible Contraception (LARC)
- STI screening for chlamydia, gonorrhoea, and HIV
- Counselling – pre- and post-treatment, provided by independent BACP-accredited counsellors
- Right care patient pathway to support patients with more complex health and social needs
For more information visit their website: www.msichoices.org.uk
Sexual Health, Contraception & HIV services for West Sussex
West Sussex Sexual Health Team are continuining to provide services during the Covid pandemic, with a few small changes.
They are operating from three Hub clinics:
- St Richards Hospital, Chichester
- Crawley Hospital
- 45 Rowlands Road, Worthing
Their spoke clinics and walk in services remain closed.
Access to services is via the central booking triage then telephone consultation with a member of staff. Face to face appointments are booked by their team following triage.
Patients will need to contact the central booking number on 01903 285199 or visit www.sexualhealthwestsussex.nhs.uk/.
Services they can provide
- Online STI testing for asymptomatic individuals
- Management of symptomatic STI’s / Complex GUM
- Hepatitis A / B vaccinations for those at sexual risk
- HPV vaccinations for men who have sex with men <45 years of age
- STI testing post sexual assault
- Condom provision
- Provision of HIV PEP and PrEP
- Provision of all forms of contraception
- Coil fittings and removal procedures for contraception**
- Implant fittings and removal procedures for contraception
- Deep implant removal clinics
- Psychosexual counselling
- HIV treatment and care
**Please note they are not commissioned to provide coils for non-contraceptive reasons e.g. heavy menstrual bleeding, endometrial protection on HRT.
For more information on contraception: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/contraception/