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I’ve been reluctant to write about having the coil… what’s the right expression … put in? (urgh) because from what I have seen, read and heard, personal experiences of the coil – specifically the progesterone-leaking Mirena – are as different as childbirth. As different as skin type. As different to what books you like reading.

Really, really different.

The following is all just what happened to me, (and please leave your own experiences in the comment box at the bottom), but it is without question unrepresentative.

I had the coil fitted privately by my obstetrician Guy Thorpe-Beeston at the end of last year. I had an initial consultation, which lasted about ten minutes, and then the coil was fitted about a week later.

For the actual act itself I had pre-emptively taken 600mg of ibuprofen and was pretty much high as a kite. Even then I could tell what was happening wasn’t terribly nice – a lot of tugging and pinching – and I was glad that it was Guy doing it, who delivered both my children, so is inured to the horror show.

Sorry!” he chirruped every now and again. “S’alright” I slurred. It was like the worst date ever.

No wait; I’ve had worse.

This was eight months ago and as well as having vague “periods” which occur roughly when my actual period is supposed to happen, there has been random and sporadic spotting and bleeding. Some periods have been accompanied by excruciating pain but almost nothing else. There have been breakouts which may or may not be related to the coil, but which have cleared up now.

My most recent “period” was negligible and in all, I am totally delighted with the whole thing and will never change it; if I had done it 4 years ago it would have saved me an awful lot of heartache.

So, do it, but do it forewarned that a) it can be unpleasant to put in

b) the effects are not instantaneous. (I was APPALLED that a reader told me that she had been advised by her GP to have a coil fitted in anticipation of her wedding, which was 6 weeks hence.)

c) it can have negative side effects, which no doubt will be listed in technicolour detail below.

But you also might be completely fine. Personally, I think the benefits are worth the gamble.

The copper coil I know nothing about.


Guy Thorpe-Beeston is at 148 Harley Street; contact his secretary on