Always offer pain relief for coil fittings, medics say

Women should always be offered pain relief when they have the coil fitted, medics have said.

The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) said that women should be offered “appropriate analgesia” when they have a coil – also known as an intrauterine device (IUD) – procedure.

It comes after television presenter Naga Munchetty shared her traumatic experience of having a coil fitted.

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She said she fainted twice after experiencing “excruciating” pain while having the contraceptive device inserted into her body, and was not offered any anaesthetic.

Munchetty told BBC Radio 5 Live she has a high pain threshold, but the procedure was “one of the most traumatic physical experiences I have had”.

She had been motivated to speak out after reading an article by Caitlin Moran in The Times newspaper about her own experience of having an IUD fitted.

The FSRH said in June that it would “share updated clinical guidance on this matter and work with our members to share best practice to ensure women experience the highest standards of IUD care”.

It has now issued a statement which says that “women should always be offered pain relief in IUD procedures”.

It said that for many women, the pain associated with an IUD is similar to period cramps, but for some the experience is painful and anxiety-provoking.

The FSRH said that there is no clear best pain relief option to alleviate pain associated with the insertion of intrauterine contraception, but it recommends that healthcare workers “create a supportive environment and offer appropriate analgesia when women attend their intrauterine device fitting procedures”.

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Dr Janet Barter, vice president of the FSRH, said: “It is always concerning to hear about the pain some women have experienced during their IUD fitting, and this has sparked an important discussion amongst healthcare professionals and IUD users.

“FSRH training in intrauterine contraception includes teaching on analgesics.

“We review evidence regularly in order to incorporate any proven new technique into our clinical guidance to support best practice, so that women can experience high-quality contraceptive care.

“Although this is not new, we recommend healthcare professionals to create a supportive environment and offer appropriate analgesia.

“In my experience many women decline the offer, but the option should be there. Not all clinics or GP practices are able to offer local anaesthesia, and where this is the case, referral to another service should be in place.

“We also need to ensure that the patient is aware that they can request that the procedure stops at any time. It is important to be mindful that some individuals do report severe pain associated with the procedure.

“For many women, however, the pain associated with an IUD fitting is similar to experiencing period cramps and they don’t experience major issues.”

In June, health minister Nadine Dorries said that she was “appalled” to hear of reports of women suffering pain when having a coil fitted.

She told the Health and Social Care Committee: “No woman should suffer as a result of having an IUD or other scope procedures”.

IUDs are used as a form of contraception and are sometimes recommended for other issues including heavy periods.

According to nhs.uk, an IUD is a small T-shaped plastic and copper device that is put into the womb and releases copper to stop a woman from becoming pregnant.