Mum's plea after 'traumatic' experience of contraceptive coil fitting

Ipswich woman Bonnie Coe

Bonnie Coe with her husband, Tom, and their daughter, Evelyn - Credit: Bonnie Coe

An Ipswich mum has shared her 'traumatic' experience of having the contraceptive coil fitted.

Bonnie Coe wants all surgeries to routinely offer local anaesthetic for coil fitting – and clearer warnings that some women may experience severe pain.

The 29-year-old veterinary nurse, from the Castle Hill area, had the coil fitted at her GP surgery 13 months after giving birth.

"A few of my friends had recommended the coil after having it fitted without complications," she said.

"Having given birth at home, with very little pain relief, I thought it would be fine, so I booked an appointment at my local surgery.

"A nurse went through a consultation and possible complications, like uterine prolapse and infection; things like that.

"But it was the most excruciating thing I've felt in my life. 

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"I cried on the table, I continued to cry after it was finished, and I burst into tears as soon as I got home."

Mrs Coe said she had no criticism of the surgery that offered the procedure, which eventually proved too difficult to complete, but called for better expectation management and pain relief options as standard.

"Not once was it explained that I might feel that much pain," she said. "It was only after searching online afterwards that I learned I wasn't alone. 

"If someone had told me that the coil could be so painful, I'd have been okay, that's fine, it's not for me, and I'd have found an alternative.

"If a doctor's surgery doesn't offer local anaesthetic, then I don't think a doctor's surgery should be offering the procedure and it should be done at a clinic, or the hospital.

"My experience was physically and emotionally traumatic.

"I feel so strongly about it – and so shocked it's not more widely publicised."

Current NHS guidance advises that having an intrauterine device (IUD) fitted can be uncomfortable, and that some people might find it painful, but that women can discuss having a local anaesthetic with their GP or nurse beforehand.

The Faculty of Sexual and Reproductive Healthcare (FSRH) said that, for many women, the pain associated with an IUD fitting is similar to period cramps.

Although evidence shows no clear best pain relief option to alleviate pain, the FSRH has, since July, recommended that healthcare professionals offer appropriate analgesia where available, or otherwise make a referral to another service.