Davina McCall gets coil fitted on TV – everything you need to know about IUDs

Davina Mccall Gets Coil Fitted On Tv – Everything You Need To Know About Iuds
Davina McCall
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By Lauren Taylor, Lifestyle Editor, PA

Davina McCall has revealed that having a coil fitted was a “game-changer” and that before she had it, her PMT was “quite severe”.

The TV presenter will be shown having her coil changed on screen, as part of new one-off Channel 4 documentary Davina McCall’s Pill Revolution – in a bid to dispel misinformation around contraception, 60 years on from the introduction of the pill.


“I went on the pill when I was 15,” revealed McCall, who took herself to a sexual health clinic to get it after her dad said she was too young.

“I was madly in love with my first love… and I thought, ‘I know what’s going to happen’, which I thought was quite a grown-up attitude to take.”

She added: “It didn’t massively disagree with me, but interestingly, HRT hasn’t massively disagreed with me either, so I may be someone who tolerates hormones quite well.”

(Channal 4/PA)

Pre-menopause, McCall, now 55, used the Mirena coil – one of many progesterone intrauterine devices – as her contraception of choice for 10 years.

“It was amazing, a game-changer for me, because not having periods was fantastic. My monthly PMT was quite severe. I used to have a week of feeling just annoyed at the world and very moody and emotional before my period – the hormonal coil got rid of that for me,” she explained.

“And a monthly bleed for me was difficult – you know, painful, a few days where I just didn’t feel myself. And with that coil, I didn’t get any of that. It doesn’t agree with everybody, but it was great for me.


“I’m embarrassed to say that, as a woman, I always thought that we had to have a monthly bleed… in fact, that isn’t true.”

Now, during the documentary, viewers will see McCall, who has been open about her experience of menopause, have a Mirena coil fitted to aid her HRT.

“[Lesley – who fitted the coil] was really kind, took it slow, answered all my questions. The thing that hurt the most was a short sharp jab when they measured the cervix to see how far they needed to put in the coil,” she said.

“And I didn’t even feel the insertion. During the process, I had some stomach cramps for about 10 or 15 minutes, and then afterwards, I didn’t feel anything.”


(Channel 4/PA)

So, what else should you know about the coil?

Here, Dr Paula Briggs, consultant in sexual and reproductive health at Liverpool Women’s NHS Foundation Trust and co-author of Contraception: The Answers You’ve Been Looking For (Cambridge University Press, £11.99) gives us the low down…


What is the coil?

Coils are intrauterine devices that include copper coils (hormone-free) and intrauterine systems (with differing levels of hormone), including Kyleena, Mirena, Jaydess and Benilexa.

Unlike the combined contraceptive pill, hormonal coils only contain progesterone (not oestrogen). Mirena, for example, has a high level of levonorgestrel (a progesterone), while Jaydess and Kyleena contain smaller amounts.

Briggs explained: “Mirena has a licence for contraception, to manage heavy menstrual bleeding, and also can be used as the progestogenic arm of HRT” – meaning it can help women going through menopause to manage those symptoms too.

Depending on the brand, and what it’s for (contraception verses endometrial protection or heavy periods), she would recommend coils stay in for four or five years.

Where does the coil go?

“It sits right inside the womb. The womb is the size of a small pear. The intrauterine device will sit very nicely with the arms where the opening to the fallopian tubes is, and then the stem sits within the body of the uterus.

“And then there are threads, which come down through the cervix, which is about 4cm long, and they just protrude into the top of the vagina, and they’re just there to help get it out when the time comes.”

It is possible to feel the threads, to check the coil is in the right place – but you don’t have to feel them yourself if you don’t want to: “It’s not within everyone’s comfort zone. So if somebody’s really uncomfortable, I’d say it doesn’t really matter,” Briggs added.

Does having a coil fitted hurt?


“For most women, it is uncomfortable, but not horrendous,” Briggs said. However, the procedure may feel “odd” and it’s usual to experience “referred pain in your upper abdomen.”

Although the whole appointment could be half an hour, the fitting itself usually only takes a couple of minutes.

In some cases, people may experience a drop in pulse rate or blood pressure due to a response called cervical shock. “That can make people feel really unwell,” explained Briggs – who said it’s important for women to know this is a possibility, although a lot of the time it’s fine.

It’s important to tell your nurse if you are concerned, however. “If you want gas and air, please ask, if you want a local anaesthetic block, please ask,” Briggs said.

What about afterwards?


“Once it’s in, you might get a bit of cramping but that usually settles down. By the next day, most women wouldn’t know that really anything had happened to them.”

Advantages over the pill?

“[Coils are] more than 99% effective. The pill is also more than 99% effective if it’s taken properly, but that is the problem” – because it may be easy to forget to take the pill every day, whereas the coil is “fit and forget”.

Briggs added: “It’s not a reflection on somebody’s intelligence if they struggle to remember something, but we’re all busy, and things that you don’t have to think about are obviously going to be more reliable than pills, which you have to take on a daily basis.”

And the disadvantages?

There are also some ways in which the pill offers more advantages than the coil. “Coils wouldn’t have the same beneficial effect on acne. In fact, levonorgestrel intrauterine systems can make some woman’s skin worse,” Briggs explained.

“Certain combinations can also improve premenstrual mood disorders, and reduce [the risk of] gynaecological cancer, cancer of the ovary and the uterus.”

Any myths?

Common misconceptions include that if you lose the threads, is means the coil has gone missing; that only women, or those assigned female at birth, who’ve had babies can use the coil; and that if you didn’t get on with pills then you shouldn’t have a progesterone coil – all of which aren’t true.

Davina McCall’s Pill Revolution premieres on Thursday June 8th at 9pm on Channel 4 and All4.

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