Guidelines for the coil have been updated

There are 2 types of coil available in the UK and they’re known by many different names. Hormonal and non-hormonal, IUD and IUS, the copper coil and the Mirena coil are all terms you might hear.

And this is about to change, thanks to new clinical guidelines released by the FSRH (Faculty of sexual and reproductive healthcare) in March 2023.

The FSRH sets all clinical guidance and standards for sexual and reproductive health in the UK. The information and advice you get from SH:24, from clinics, your GP and healthcare professionals will all follow these guidelines.

What are the changes?

We call the 2 different types of coil the hormonal coil and the non-hormonal coil, as this best describes the difference between them. But they were also known as the IUS (intrauterine system) for the hormonal coil and the IUD (intrauterine device) for the non-hormonal version.

Because of the new FSRH guidelines, medical professionals will now call them both IUDs or intrauterine devices. This means in the UK, we’re using the same terms as in other countries.

To tell the different ones apart:

  • the non-hormonal coil is now called the copper intrauterine device or Cu-IUD

  • the hormonal coil is now known as the levonorgestrel intrauterine device or LNG-IUD

How long can you keep your coil?

Both types of coil are known for being long-lasting. One of their main benefits is that they will work as contraception for many years.

The FSRH guidelines have reviewed their advice on how long you can use some hormonal and non-hormonal coils.

If you’re using any 52mg hormonal coil (LNG-IUD) - currently in the UK their brand names are Mirena, Levosert or Benilexa - and:

  • it was fitted when you were under age 45, you can keep it for 6 years

  • it was fitted when you were 45 or older, you can use it as contraception until age 55 - when you won’t need contraception anymore

If you’d still prefer to have your hormonal coil changed at 5 years, you can ask your clinician.

If you’re using a non-hormonal coil (Cu-IUD) and it was fitted when you were over 40 years old, the FSRH guidelines have increased the time you can keep it for. You can now use it as contraception for as long as you need before you reach menopause.

If you’re using oestrogen as part of HRT (hormone replacement therapy) and you need to take something for endometrial protection, the guidelines now support using any 52mg hormonal coil for this for up to 5 years.

What this could mean for you

If you have a coil in place, check with your coil provider about what coil you have, and how long you can keep it. You can ask them about the new guidance and how it affects you.

  • if you have a Mirena coil (hormonal coil) for example and you were under 45 years old when it was fitted, it could now last for 6 years not 5 - which means you can keep it in for another year

  • if you were 45 or over when your 5 year hormonal coil was fitted, it could last you up until you are 55 - after that, you won’t need any contraception

  • if you have a non-hormonal coil, and it was fitted when you were over 40, this could last you until menopause

It’s always important to check first with your local sexual health clinic, GP or coil provider about what type of coil you have, and when it needs removing.. Different types of coils last different amounts of time - anything from 3 to 10 years depending on what type of coil they are.

Written by Helen Burkitt. Senior Sexual Health and Contraception Nurse
Last updated at: 05 June 2023