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Medical negligence

Knowing the risks of hormonal coil injuries

Hormonal coils are a popular form of contraceptive used by many women, but what are the risks and what can you do if you have been injured by a hormonal coil?

22 April 2021

What is the intrauterine system (IUS)?

The Intrauterine System (also known as a hormonal coil) is a T-shaped contraceptive device, which is inserted into the uterus by a medical professional. Once inserted, the device releases a progestogen hormone into the womb. This is similar to the natural hormone progesterone that's produced in a woman's ovaries, which thickens the mucus from the cervix and makes it harder for sperm to reach the egg.

The hormonal coil, or IUS, is said to be more than 99% effective as a contraceptive method and can be removed by a medical professional, such as a nurse or specially trained doctor, at any time.

IUS is one of the long acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs) available to women in the UK. According to Statista, of the women in contact with sexual and reproductive services in England in 2019/20, the IUS was the second most used form of LARC contraception, used by 11% of women. The most popular choice was the implant, used by 18% of women. The injectable contraceptive was used by 9% of women and the IUD was used by 8%.

How does the hormonal coil, or IUS differ from the coil, or IUD?

The intrauterine device (IUD) also known as the coil, works in a very similar way to the hormonal coil. However, rather than releasing a progestogen hormone into the womb, it releases copper. Like the progestogen released by the hormonal coil, the copper alters the cervical mucus, making it difficult for sperm to reach the egg and even if it does manage to reach the egg, it can stop a fertilised egg from being able to implant itself.

What are the risks of having the hormonal coil fitted?

The risks of fitting an IUS are rare but include damage to the womb, pelvic infections and rejection of the IUS. Information on the risks should be provided to you by your GP prior to any procedure taking place.

Unfortunately, there are cases of women who have suffered injuries related to insertion of a hormonal coil. These have included instances of damage to the womb and heavy bleeding caused by perforating the cervix. The most common risk is the risk of infection. Pelvic infections are known to occur in the first few weeks after the insertion of a hormonal coil but it can sometimes take up to six months after a hormonal coil has been fitted for the complications to materialise.

An internal examination should be recommended to ensure there are no existing infections prior to a hormonal coil being inserted.

In more extreme cases of medical negligence, the disinfectant has been incorrectly place inside a patients’ vagina when the procedure took place.

What are the signs of a pelvic infection due to a hormonal coil?

Signs that you have a pelvic infection include:

  • Suffering pain in your lower abdomen
  • Experiencing a high temperature
  • Experiencing strong-smelling or abnormal discharge

You should seek medical attention as soon as possible from your GP or medical clinic if you believe you have a pelvic infection due to your hormonal coil.

What are the signs of damage to the womb due to a hormonal coil?

Signs that your womb have been damaged include:

  • Suffering pain in your lower abdomen
  • Being unable to feel the threads of your IUS
  • Changes in your bleeding

If you think you have womb damage you must seek medical attention as soon as possible. If your womb has been damaged, you may need surgery to remove your IUS.

If you think you've suffered hormonal coil negligence, you should speak to a specialist medical negligence lawyer.

For more information about hormonal coils, visit the NHS website.

If you believe you've suffered injury as a result of medical negligence, simply contact us and one of our specialists will be in touch to discuss your situation without obligation.

All the above information was correct at the time of publication.

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