Copper Coil / IUD contraception

Hi All
I am curious, for those with hormone receptive BC, what contraception are you using?

We’ve been using condoms, but more or less just abstaining because they kill the sponteneity (and I feel ugly a lot of the time!), but I have now made an appointment to get a copper coil or IUD fitted.

It shouldn’t give me heavy periods, as mine have been suppressed via Zoladex, chemo and tamoxifen anyway!

Anyone have experience of the coil? I’ve only ever used the pill and condoms!

Ta muchly
Flora xxx

Hi Flora,

I’ve had a Mirena coil for 7 years (actually, I’m on my second one as they only last for 5 years). Although it was fitted for management of heavy bleeding rather than purely contraceptive, I’ve had no problems with it at all. I don’t know if normal coils also have the fishing wire, but once that was trimmed to the correct length, I’ve never had cause to think about the coil again. Hope yours works well for you.

As for feeling ugly, well … you don’t look it - in fact quite the contrary. I understand that how we feel isn’t necessarily about how we look, but I really feel its important to hear how lovely we appear to others and you do.

Debs x

I second what Debs has said, you are by no means ‘ugly’ l have often thought, when l have seen your photo come up, what a lovely shaped face you have!
We all have that moment when we don’t feel as though we look as good as we could, but then again these are exceptional circumstances, so we are allowed to feel a little down about our looks. But be assured you are NOT Ugly!!
Sandra xxx

Flora i agree… if anything you look stunning… but i know that this disease can make us all feel a bit ugly and not like our usual selves in one way or another.

i have hormone positive and hormone negative BC and have a mirena.

i used to work as a nurse in the coil clinic so from that point of view… they usually do an internal to make sure your physically able to have one… nowadays tehy recommend you attend with a comfortably full bladder as it eases insertion.

its a bit like having a really bad smear test… you get a speculum passed and then a wee clap goes on your cervix which is quite nippy… they use a measuring device called a sound to see how long your uterus is and that is pretty crampy and then the coil is inserted and gives the same crampy pain… most cases the procedure only takes a few minutes and opening the pack and getting prepared takes longer than the procedure itself.

we recommend taking painkillers about an hour before insertion… paracetamol and ibuprofen if you can take them… and also having something to eat around that time as the procedure can make you feel a bit queasy.

you will usually give you a wee chat prior to insertion to make sure its the method you want to try… there is a risk of infection of about 1 in 100 for the first 3 weeks following insertion but then your risk of vaginal infection returns to the same as anybody else.

some can be expelled by the body this is usually within the first few weeks… this happens in about 1 in 20 insertions, but this tends to happen during a period although can occur at any time.

there is a risk of perforation of 1 in 1000 and that is where the coil goes through the side of the uterus… this generally happens by doctors and nurses who dont do coil insertions regularly or people with complex problems… id recommend going to somebody who does it regularly like ina family planning coil clinic than a GP who does it once or twice a year.

some people complain about jaggy threads but this is usually just due to blunt scissors in the IUD pack so you can just ask them to trim them and that usually sorts the problem.

as you are aware the copper coil can cause heavy, prolonged and more crampy periods but hopefully if your not having any this wont be a problem for you.


Hi Flora,

I’m not just saying this, but the first time I read one of your posts and saw your photo, it made me feel better because you look so lovely with no hair and I hope that I look as good as you do when / if ( prob when!) mine goes. So definitely not ugly!

Contraception round my house is abstinence too- terrified of getting pregnant and don’t trust condoms enough.


Aww, bless you all, you’re very kind. I am feeling a little better about my looks these last couple of weeks, but sometimes I just feel like a fuzzy-headed, puffy eyed, fat mess!! I think how we perceive ourselves has a much bigger impact on our sex drive than how someone else sees us! But, I shall get over it, especially as my hair grows (which it will, one day soon…!).

Thanks for all the comments and especially the information from Lulu, thats really helpful.

The GP that will be doing it specialises in women’s health and is the only one at the surgery who does the procedure, so they have obviously allowed her to specialise to keep up her skills. I feel she has become ‘my’ doctor (although I’m quite happy to see whoever at the practice!), as she is the one who referred me and my lump, and has been keeping a close eye on my progress.

It won’t be for a good couple of weeks yet though, as she is off on her holidays!

Just thought I would see what measures other coupled, pre-menopausal folk have been taking, as I believe Mirena, the pill or impants are not usually recommended for hormone receptive BC.

I have had a copper IUD for for the past 4 years with no problems at all. My periods got a little heavier but not unmanagable. I had a problem with the first one and it came out, but second one was fine. Oncologist is happy with this as a form of contraception. I am er+. In fact we had a joke about it as she could see it on my ct scan. She was keen for me to keep it in. I have never had any problems and feel it is the one of the safest form of contraception.

hello, i have had a coil since i was 23 now 53, i have had no problems what so ever, in my mid 40s it was changed to a mirena coil which too was great when dx at 51 my surgeon recomended to have it removed and have a normal copper coil, as my cancer was hormone based and mirena is a hormone release. he said not enough was known about how the cancer reacts to it so it was an advisery move, hope this helps a little.


I’ve just been diagnosed with hormone related bc and was advised to have the mirena coil taken out.
I had it removed this morning and now my right breast (the one with cancer) is really sore!!
I rang the breast care nurse who was a bit dismissive and said the two things were not related- although she said she would check this and ring me back she hasn’t.
I’m a bit puzzled- I never get breast pain- just hope it goes off and there’s nothing to worry about!

Mary x

It could just be a coincidence?

Have you had an MX or WLE yet? If not, it could just be your lump hurting. Mine did.


my lump ached quite a lot before it was removed too.