Hormonal coil (IUS) vs Fertility awareness methods (FAM)

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Hormonal coil (IUS)

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Fertility awareness methods (FAM)

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Overview

Rated 3.5

757 reviews

Every 3-8 years

Frequency

Over 99%

Effectiveness

None

Blood clot risk

None

Effect on fertility

Rated 4.3

152 reviews

Daily

Frequency

92% - 98%

Effectiveness

None

Blood clot risk

None

Effect on fertility

Hormonal coil (IUS) ingredients

Main hormones in Hormonal coil (IUS)

progestogen

Fertility awareness methods (FAM) ingredients

Fertility awareness methods is an umbrella term for a method of contraception that works by being able to identify when in the menstrual cycle you are fertile through a range of factors.

What Lowdown reviewers say

Benefits: What this contraceptive can help with

Adenomyosis

Endometriosis

Heavy periods

Menopause

Period pain

There are no benefits that are recognised in scientific research or guidelines for this contraceptive

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Check out our latest reviews

Real life reviews from people like you

Hormonal coil (IUS) reviews

757 reviews

Used for 12 - 18 mo
20 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  2 days ago

  •  Stopped using

I had the Mirena coil for about a year and a half to manage menorrhagia and for contraception. The insertion procedure was better than I expected; while I had been warned it could be very painful by others, I found it more uncomfortable than painful. I do have a high pain tolerance, so that might have helped. However, the next seven months were horrendous. I experienced intense cramps and back pain, worse than anything I'd ever felt. Some days, I couldn't get out of bed, and even walking made me faint and dizzy. I relied heavily on pain medication and even resorted to using weed to cope. During this time, I became incredibly depressed, but my doctor advised me to give it six months. My periods, although lighter and lasting about five days, were followed by weeks of spotting, necessitating the use of pads or liners. They were also extremely irregular, they never were before. This constant bleeding made me less confident and significantly reduced my libido as I had issues getting aroused which made me 'dry', making sex both unappealing and painful, especially in the first few months. While the Mirena coil did make my periods lighter, the prolonged bleeding was a significant downside. Additionally, I could sometimes feel the coil, which was uncomfortable as it seemed to scratch my cervix and vagina. I eventually had it removed because my doctor suspected that the issues might be related to the hormone. I honestly should've removed it a couple of months in, and I regret that I didn't, as it clearly was not for me. I have now started the combined pill and feel much happier. Overall, although the Mirena is great for some, it was a horrendous experience for me, but I'd recommend people to give it a go regardless, as its effects seem to be case-dependent and it may be brilliant for some!!

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Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 18 mo - 3 yr
30 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  4 days ago

  •  Stopped using

The merina coil was not for me. I chose the merina for the benefits of inserting and forgetting and that the hormones released were localised, therefore less side effects on the rest of the body (in theory). What I was underprepared for was the discomfort and pain in the insertion and the intense cramps following, lasting for around 1 year. I had considered having it removed after around 6 months which is when they say the cramps should have stopped. However, where I was living (abroad) it had cost me a lot of money to have the procedure, it also gradually did decrease in frequency and intensity after the 1 year mark. I decided to keep using it for a further 2 years (3 in total) until we talked about having children. Since having it removed the cramps have completely gone which is a huge relief. I definitely recommend getting a wide range of views and stories, not to put you off but so you’re fully prepared. I feel that the leaflets supplied describe generally how most people feel but don’t give the whole picture of how it can affect different people. I will say the removal was incredibly easy (if the stings are visible) and so can be tried and removed if not working.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 3 - 6 mo
32 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  6 days ago

  •  Still using

Had the coil recommended by a gynaecologist to combat my estrogen dominance which was causing me very irregular but really heavy periods. I haven’t had any negative side effects thus far and my skin has got much better, however I did have constant, light bleeding for 3 months after insertion.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 12 - 18 mo
20 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  2 days ago

  •  Stopped using

I had the Mirena coil for about a year and a half to manage menorrhagia and for contraception. The insertion procedure was better than I expected; while I had been warned it could be very painful by others, I found it more uncomfortable than painful. I do have a high pain tolerance, so that might have helped. However, the next seven months were horrendous. I experienced intense cramps and back pain, worse than anything I'd ever felt. Some days, I couldn't get out of bed, and even walking made me faint and dizzy. I relied heavily on pain medication and even resorted to using weed to cope. During this time, I became incredibly depressed, but my doctor advised me to give it six months. My periods, although lighter and lasting about five days, were followed by weeks of spotting, necessitating the use of pads or liners. They were also extremely irregular, they never were before. This constant bleeding made me less confident and significantly reduced my libido as I had issues getting aroused which made me 'dry', making sex both unappealing and painful, especially in the first few months. While the Mirena coil did make my periods lighter, the prolonged bleeding was a significant downside. Additionally, I could sometimes feel the coil, which was uncomfortable as it seemed to scratch my cervix and vagina. I eventually had it removed because my doctor suspected that the issues might be related to the hormone. I honestly should've removed it a couple of months in, and I regret that I didn't, as it clearly was not for me. I have now started the combined pill and feel much happier. Overall, although the Mirena is great for some, it was a horrendous experience for me, but I'd recommend people to give it a go regardless, as its effects seem to be case-dependent and it may be brilliant for some!!


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 18 mo - 3 yr
30 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  4 days ago

  •  Stopped using

The merina coil was not for me. I chose the merina for the benefits of inserting and forgetting and that the hormones released were localised, therefore less side effects on the rest of the body (in theory). What I was underprepared for was the discomfort and pain in the insertion and the intense cramps following, lasting for around 1 year. I had considered having it removed after around 6 months which is when they say the cramps should have stopped. However, where I was living (abroad) it had cost me a lot of money to have the procedure, it also gradually did decrease in frequency and intensity after the 1 year mark. I decided to keep using it for a further 2 years (3 in total) until we talked about having children. Since having it removed the cramps have completely gone which is a huge relief. I definitely recommend getting a wide range of views and stories, not to put you off but so you’re fully prepared. I feel that the leaflets supplied describe generally how most people feel but don’t give the whole picture of how it can affect different people. I will say the removal was incredibly easy (if the stings are visible) and so can be tried and removed if not working.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 3 - 6 mo
32 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  6 days ago

  •  Still using

Had the coil recommended by a gynaecologist to combat my estrogen dominance which was causing me very irregular but really heavy periods. I haven’t had any negative side effects thus far and my skin has got much better, however I did have constant, light bleeding for 3 months after insertion.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments


Fertility awareness methods (FAM) reviews

152 reviews

Used for 18 mo - 3 yr
25 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  6 days ago

  •  Still using

First few months lots of ‘red’ days (no unprotected sex days). Coming off the pill was a personal choice and brought back lots of issues i.e needing prescription pain medication. However, my sex drive and mental health have significantly improved and impacted on my relationship. I’ve used natural cycles for 2 years religiously and no problems or pregnancy.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 6 - 12 mo
28 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  6 days ago

  •  Still using

I’ve been using the Natural Cycles app with the Oura Ring for about 6 months now, and it has been the best thing I’ve ever done! No side effects and I’ve never felt so informed about my body. I love that the app also informs my partner of when green/red days begin, so the contraceptive burden is on him too (in that he doesn’t have to ask me what type of day it is - we both know, which is nice). For peace of mind, I used the Oura ring for an initial period of three months to let the Natural Cycles app gather data on my basal temperature, whilst using condoms as a contraceptive. Then, when I felt confident that the app had a few months of data (and I was familiar with my own patterns/regular cycles), my partner and I reduced condom use to red days only. We have had zero pregnancy scares in 6 months, and using this as contraception has vastly improved our sex life. I’d honestly recommend it to anyone who is looking to escape hormonal contraceptives. The Oura Ring is expensive, but there’s no way I could remember to take my temperature every morning otherwise (and no way am I setting my alarm every morning… Sundays are for sleeping in!), so I’d recommend buying one if you do plan to use this as a long-term contraceptive and don’t want to be chained to the digital thermometer/same wake-up time every day.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 5 - 8 yr
29 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  2 weeks ago

  •  Still using

I have used Natural Cycles for years now (alongside condoms when ovulating) and love using a non-hormonal method. I used to get side effects from the combined pill and mini pill so I have seen an improvement since coming off those. The data aspect of recording your temperature and seeing the patterns of my cycle is something I find really interesting. Plus the reminders of ovulation/upcoming period/breast checks are always helpful. I know myself and my body better since tracking my cycles.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 18 mo - 3 yr
25 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  6 days ago

  •  Still using

First few months lots of ‘red’ days (no unprotected sex days). Coming off the pill was a personal choice and brought back lots of issues i.e needing prescription pain medication. However, my sex drive and mental health have significantly improved and impacted on my relationship. I’ve used natural cycles for 2 years religiously and no problems or pregnancy.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 6 - 12 mo
28 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  6 days ago

  •  Still using

I’ve been using the Natural Cycles app with the Oura Ring for about 6 months now, and it has been the best thing I’ve ever done! No side effects and I’ve never felt so informed about my body. I love that the app also informs my partner of when green/red days begin, so the contraceptive burden is on him too (in that he doesn’t have to ask me what type of day it is - we both know, which is nice). For peace of mind, I used the Oura ring for an initial period of three months to let the Natural Cycles app gather data on my basal temperature, whilst using condoms as a contraceptive. Then, when I felt confident that the app had a few months of data (and I was familiar with my own patterns/regular cycles), my partner and I reduced condom use to red days only. We have had zero pregnancy scares in 6 months, and using this as contraception has vastly improved our sex life. I’d honestly recommend it to anyone who is looking to escape hormonal contraceptives. The Oura Ring is expensive, but there’s no way I could remember to take my temperature every morning otherwise (and no way am I setting my alarm every morning… Sundays are for sleeping in!), so I’d recommend buying one if you do plan to use this as a long-term contraceptive and don’t want to be chained to the digital thermometer/same wake-up time every day.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 5 - 8 yr
29 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  2 weeks ago

  •  Still using

I have used Natural Cycles for years now (alongside condoms when ovulating) and love using a non-hormonal method. I used to get side effects from the combined pill and mini pill so I have seen an improvement since coming off those. The data aspect of recording your temperature and seeing the patterns of my cycle is something I find really interesting. Plus the reminders of ovulation/upcoming period/breast checks are always helpful. I know myself and my body better since tracking my cycles.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 3 - 6 mo
34 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  2 weeks ago

  •  Stopped using

The Natural Cycles algorithm does not work to accurately track ovulation and therefore prevent pregnancy. Evidence based FAM/symptothermal methods use a '2 check method' including temperature and cervical fluid patterns. Natural Cycles only tracks your body temperature. After using for a few months I noticed my safe/green days changed after the date. So I had (what I thought was) safe unprotected sex in the non-fertile window, but then by the end of that cycle those days had changed to red/not safe. Surprise surprise, I got pregnant and had to arrange a termination. Since stopping this I have started using fertility awareness methods successfully for 4+yrs. Natural Cycles is just too risky without a 2 check method, and basing it on an algorithm.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 3 - 5 yr
34 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  2 weeks ago

  •  Stopped using

I loved using Natural Cycles as it let my body just be itself. It was very effective for four and a half years…until I unexpectedly got pregnant! I will fully admit though we would occasionally take risks on early red days, and we know where we went wrong the month I became pregnant (travelling with time and environment changes led to confusing temperature readings coupled with not using enough caution). The only downsides of NC for me were needing to be on a predictable routine for morning thermometer readings (may be challenging for those travelling a lot or on shift work) and we had to use condoms or abstain during ovulation - which is of course the peak time for when you want some action! Overall though I would recommend it and will probably resume using it once our sleep schedule normalises with our beloved new baby. Having been on the pill and using a copper iud for years, it’s just hard to beat having zero side effects and letting your body do its own thing.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

1 comments

Used for 3 - 5 yr
25 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  3 weeks ago

  •  Still using

Absolutely brilliant - after being on hormonal contraception this has been like a breath of fresh air. Natural cycles works so brilliant for me and I’ve never felt so in touch with my body and emotions. Genuinely lifechanging - if the you meet the criteria for this (regular periods, fairly routine lifestyle) then I could not recommend it more.


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 3 - 6 mo
25 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  22nd Feb 24

  •  Stopped using

I didn't really do this properly and only used it here and there! So I am definitely not an expert on this, but if you have regular periods and are organised I can see why this may be beneficial! Especially as no hormones


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 3 - 6 mo
30 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  7th Feb 24

  •  Still using

Started using Natural Cycles after having my first baby. I exclusively breastfeed and my first few periods after giving birth were all over the place. Tracking using the app just gave me a bit more info on my body and how long I was going between cycles etc. I’m just over a year post partum now and periods have returned to normal and I put knowing that down to the app. Baby still wakes a bit in the night so it can be a bit difficult to know exactly when to measure my temperature but the app has some helpful articles on this. Overall, love that it’s hormone free and that I can see helpful information on my cycle in an eat to use app! If considering, try finding a friend or someone with a referral code to get a discount on app subscription x


Top side effects not reported

0 helpful

0 comments

Used for 12 - 18 mo
26 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  27th Jan 24

  •  Stopped using

After bragging about the natural cycles for a while, and following it religiously, checked everyday, noted everything, I fell pregnant twice. I was someone who was super regular as well, so the app knew my cycle very well. I thought the first was an outlier then it happened again. Stress, exercise or changes in the normal routine can change your natural cycle, so the app can’t see what’s going on inside your body. So, this method is great if you’re not worried about falling accidentally pregnant and having a baby. If not, use contraception.


Top side effects not reported

1 helpful

0 comments

Used for 12 - 18 mo
26 years old
🇬🇧 UK
  •  11th Jan 24

  •  Still using

I LOVED this app, it was truly the best option as someone with a medical condition hormonal contraception was not possible and the side effects of others seemed too problematic. However after 13 months of bragging about how great my experience has been with the app I fell pregnant. This was devastating as I followed the app religiously and was an outcome I did not want. I even think I know what green days caused this as around my 10month in it began to green light the day after my period had ended, which was new. Having trusted the app so far I began having unprotected sex on these green days after my period not long before the pregnancy. Since this has happened I have research further and I believe this app is not being investigate enough and it’s far less efficient than we are led to believe. Despite of this I am still using the app however ,we now use condoms even for most of the green days as I feel I cannot trust it. I am seeking alternatives but with my medical background it is slim pickings. My take away- there are no side effects accept the very real possibility of getting pregnant. If you see any ad on Instagram rn it is swamped with comments with women having got pregnant from the app and I suspect those of us who had to have an abortion have kept quiet. I wanted this to be a true alternative to all the havoc other forms of contraception cause but have been let down in the worst way.


Top side effects not reported

1 helpful

0 comments

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