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The non-hormonal contraceptive coil (CU-IUD) 

MSI UK client showing contraceptive coil in hand.

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The non-hormonal coil (CU-IUD) 

The non-hormonal coil (also known as the “copper coil”, “copper T” or “loop”) is a small T-shaped plastic and copper device that is fitted in the uterus (womb). It provides contraceptive protection for up to ten years.

The copper stops the sperm and egg from surviving inside the uterus and fallopian tubes, so sperm cannot fertilise an egg. 

Video – the non-hormonal coil 

Would you like to find out everything you need to know about the non-hormonal coil in under two minutes? We’ve created this short explainer video, filled with information about the non-hormonal coil including: 

– What it is andsho how it works 
– How effective it is in protecting against pregnancy 
– Advantages 
– Disadvantages 
– Risks 

Nurse showing client coil

Getting the non-hormonal coil fitted 

Inserting a non-hormonal is a simple procedure that takes about 5 minutes. A trained person inserts the coil through the vagina. The coil sits in the uterus and does not move from there. 

There are threads attached to the coil which sit in the vagina that assist with removal and allow you and your provider to check the coil is in the right place. 

It is rare for the coil to fall out or move. Most people can self-examine and feel the small, very thin thread attached to the end of the coil which comes out of the cervix and into the vagina. When you have the coil inserted make sure your healthcare provider shows you how to find the thread so you feel confident to find it again. 

How effective is the non-hormonal coil?  

The non-hormonal coil works very well at preventing pregnancy. 

The non-hormonal coil is more than 99% effective. Fewer than 1 in 100 people will get pregnant in a year, depending on the type of non-hormonal coil. 

The non-hormonal coil can also be used as the most effective method of emergency contraception, and can be fitted up to 120 hours or five days after unprotected sex.  

Click here to find out more about how the non-hormonal coil works as a method of emergency contraception. 

How long does it take for the non-hormonal coil to work? 

A non-hormonal coil is always effective immediately.  

How might the non-hormonal coil affect my hormones?    

The non-hormonal coil is a non-hormonal method of contraception. So, if you’d prefer to use a method which won’t impact your hormones, the non-hormonal coil may be a good option for you. 

How might the non-hormonal coil affect my periods?   

Whilst the hormonal coil might be recommended to support with heavy periods, the non-hormonal coil may exacerbate heavy or painful periods. 

Coil fitting and pain management  

The experience of having intrauterine contraception (such as the hormonal coil or non-hormonal coil) fitted differs from person to person.  

The most important thing to remember is that you can ask for pain relief. At MSI Reproductive Choices, we offer anyone opting for a coil a choice of four types of local anaesthetic, including: an anaesthetic gel, spray, an injection and a cream, as well as suggesting the option of taking painkillers, such as ibuprofen, an hour or two before the procedure. Each of these methods of anaesthetic are applied to the cervix (the injection, for example, is applied inside the cervix), and you can choose to have more than one method of anaesthetic if the initial method you use isn’t easing your pain. There is no recovery time for this anaesthetic, and so it is safe for you to drive after your appointment. If you are having your coil fitted or removed with another provider, you may want to ask whether pain relief is provided when you book your appointment.  

These anaesthetics may not completely take away the discomfort, and there may still be cramping pain after the fitting (this may last for up to a couple of days).  

It’s always good to have something to eat before a coil fitting appointment in case you feel faint at any point, and to wear clothes that are comfortable and easy to change in or out of.  

Remember that you are in control, and that you can stop or take a break at any point if you want to. You can also ask to have a chaperone or another healthcare practitioner with you during your appointment, to support you and ensure you feel comfortable throughout.

Other LARC methods 

Follow the links below to find information about other long-acting reversible contraceptive methods.   

MSI Reproductive Choices UK 20230605_0516

The contraceptive injection

Find all you need to know about the contraceptive injection.   

MSI Reproductive Choices UK 20230612_0712

The hormonal coil (LNG-IUD)

Find all you need to know about the hormonal coil (formerly known as the IUS).

MSI Reproductive Choices UK 20230605_0792

The contraceptive implant

Find all you need to know about the contraceptive implant. 

Advantages, disadvantages, side effects and risks associated with the non-hormonal coil 

Once in place, you don’t need to think about the non-hormonal coil or do anything until it needs replacing, which can be up to 10 years depending on the type of non-hormonal coil you are using. 

You can get the non-hormonal coil removed whenever you want 

Your fertility will return to normal immediately after the non-hormonal coil is removed. 

The non-hormonal coil contains no hormones, so does not have any hormonal side effects and you will still experience your period. 

The coil can be inserted right after childbirth, abortion or miscarriage. 

It is not used during sex so will not affect spontaneity. Neither you nor your partner should be aware of the coil during sex. 

A non-hormonal coil requires a vaginal examination with a simple, short procedure to fit it in the uterus (womb). 

The main side effect of non-hormonal coil is heavier, more painful, and/or longer periods. Some users might also experience light spotting between periods, especially in the first few months after insertion. In most cases these side effects tend to settle down after the first three to six months. 

Condoms are the only contraceptive method which protect against sexually transmitted infections. To ensure protection from both pregnancy and infection, we recommend “dual protection”. This means using a male or female condom in addition to the contraceptive method of your choice to prevent pregnancy. 

Anaemia if menstrual bleeding is prolonged and heavy. 

There is a small risk of infection when the non-hormonal coil is put in. 

There’s a very small risk that the coil might go through (perforate) your uterus (womb) or cervix when it’s put in. If it does happen, the coil may have to be removed by surgery. 

If the coil moves out of place or falls out, it can stop providing protection against pregnancy. 

Having the non-hormonal coil fitted as part of abortion care with MSI UK  

As part of NHS-funded abortion care, we offer a range of contraception methods should you wish to start a method at the time of your treatment.    

If you are having a surgical abortion with MSI UK, we can arrange for the coil to be fitted during or on the same day as your abortion treatment.    

If you have a medical abortion (including telemedicine), a nurse will be able to arrange an appointment for you to have the coil fitted following your abortion.   

Where can I book an appointment for non-hormonal coil fitting and removal?      

In the UK, you can make an appointment to have the non-hormonal coil fitted or removed – and to access other LARC (Long-Acting Reversible Contraception) services, such as coil fitting and removal – at sexual health clinics, contraception clinics and some GP surgeries

At MSI UK, we primarily offer contraception services as part of your abortion care. We also offer contraception services in some parts of England for people who have not accessed our abortion services. From these clinics, people can access LARC (Long-Acting Reversible Contraception, such as the coils, the implant and the injection) with us without having had an abortion.  

Follow the link to find out more: MSI UK Contraception Clinics 

Learn more about contraception 

Visit the pages below to find a comparison tool to help you find the right method for you, to learn more about long-acting reversible contraception and to find information about MSI UK’s contraception clinics. 

MSI Reproductive Choices UK 20230612_0764

Which method is right for me?  

Find a contraception comparison tool that can help you find the right method for you.   


MSI UK contraception clinics 

Here, people can access long-acting reversible contraception without having had an abortion.

MSI Reproductive Choices UK 20230605_0792

Long-acting contraception  

Long-acting contraceptive methods include the coils, the injection and the implant.