Mother tells of her fight for life after developing killer sepsis when she caught an infection caused by being fitted with a contraceptive coil
- Linsey LeTubb, 38, had the coil fitted in 2011 and kept having urinary infections
- In 2018, she had excruciating pain in her groin and was rushed to hospital
- A 7cm abscess on her fallopian tube and pelvic inflammatory disease was found
- Ms LeTubb battled sepsis for ten days and was unable to walk for two weeks
A mother-of-three was left on death’s doors battling ‘raging’ sepsis after having the contraceptive coil fitted.
Linsey LeTubb, 38, from Gwent, South Wales, had the contraceptive coil fitted after the birth of her daughter in 2011.
However, in 2016 she got a urinary tract infection [UTI] that didn’t seem to go away, even with antibiotics.
Then in the summer of 2018, when she experienced excruciating pain in her groin, Mrs LeTubb returned to her GP for more antibiotics.
But two days later she was rushed to hospital when the pain became so intense she was unable to walk.
Doctors diagnosed pelvic inflammatory disease and a seven centimetre abscess on her fallopian tube from the coil, which triggered sepsis.
After ten days fighting the deadly immune response to an infection, her family was told that she would have died if she had not got to hospital sooner.
Linsey LeTubb, 38, of Gwent, South Wales, was left on death’s doors battling ‘raging’ sepsis after having the contraceptive coil fitted
The mother-of-three was rushed to hospital when she suffered excruciating pain in her groin in summer 2018. Pictured, with her partner Ash, 32, Fin, eight, Hollie, seven, and Ty, 18, at an unknown date
The mother is now sharing her story to encourage others to warn others of the potential dangers of the contraception.
The coil is an effective and safe contraceptive method that might come with some side effects, including heavier periods and pain.
Although most experts agree the coil does not increase the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease, the NHS also states there is a small risk of getting an infection in the 20 days after the coil has been fitted, which untreated could lead to a pelvic infection.
The coil itself cannot directly cause sepsis.
According to the NHS, there’s a very small chance of getting a pelvic infection in the first 20 days after the IUD has been inserted.
A nurse may check for any existing infections before an IUD is fitted, as inserting one may spread already present infection, such as an STI, or push up bacteria into the reproductive organs.
Most experts now agree that having an intrauterine device (IUD) inserted does not increase the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease. Any potential risk is generally within the first three weeks after insertion, according to Mayo Clinic.
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is caused by an infection developing in the female upper genital tract.
This could potentially lead to sepsis, a potentially life-threatening condition caused by the body’s response to an infection.
A nurse may check for infections before inserting the coil as it could spread an infection further, or push bacteria upwards into the reproductive organs.
Sepsis, when the body attacks its own organs and tissues, can be triggered by an infection in any part of the body.
Mrs LeTubb, a teaching assistant, decided to get the contraceptive coil as it was a long lasting, low maintenance form of contraception. It is not clear if she got the copper or plastic coil.
She said: ‘For the first few years, I was fine and didn’t notice any problems, until three years ago when I started to get recurrent UTIs.
‘But it was something that I dealt with, until I woke up one morning last summer with excruciating pain in my groin and just days later – when the pain was so bad I couldn’t walk – I was rushed to hospital.
‘When I was there they told me I had raging sepsis which had been caused by the coil, as the coil had caused me to get pelvic inflammatory disease and a seven centimetre abscess on my fallopian tube.’
Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is an infection of the female upper genital tract, including the womb, fallopian tubes and ovaries, which can cause abscesses to develop.
Doctors diagnosed Mrs LeTubb with pelvic inflammatory disease [PID] and a seven centimetre abscess on her fallopian tube from the coil, which triggered sepsis. Pictured with her children a few years ago
After ten days fighting the deadly condition, Mrs LeTubb’s family, including husband, Ash, were told that she would have died if she had not got to hospital sooner
It’s normally caused by a bacterial infection spreading upwards from the vagina or cervix, with one in four cases caused by an untreated STI.
Mrs LeTubb said: ‘Unable to even lift my head, I lost control over my whole body and slipped in and out of consciousness.’
A critical care team of nurses were on standby and observed Mrs LeTubb’s response to a combination of four antibiotics and an IV drip.
‘Scarily, my pelvic area and swollen so much that doctors were unable to remove the coil the evening I arrived.’
On the second day in hospital, Mrs LeTubb had the coil removed.
After being discharged, it took another two weeks for her to muster up the strength to walk again and she felt run down for months.
She said: ‘My family were told that if I had left it any longer I would have died, and while I was in hospital I felt like I was on deaths door.
‘Hopefully by hearing about my story, it will encourage people to look into the complications – such as PID – of having the contraceptive device fitted before they do so.’
While in hospital, Mrs LeTubb was barely able to lift her head. When she was discharged, it took two weeks to walk again. Pictured with her Mr LeTubb on their weeding day, unknown date
Mrs LeTubb, pictured with her daughter, Hollie, now seven, advises women to get tested for infections before having the coil fitted
After years of feeling unwell and contracting multiple infections, Mrs LeTubb believes that the coil led to an influx of infections.
She said: ‘In hindsight, I had been uncomfortable since having the coil fitted – I went to the GP numerous times complaining of cramps, swelling in my stomach and UTIs.
‘Although I had been prescribed antibiotics to kill the infection, they were targeting the lower tract rather that the upper tract.’
After regaining full health, the mother is sharing her story to encourage other women to look into the complications of contraceptive methods.
She said: ‘When I was scanned for PID and they looked at the abscess on my fallopian tube the nurse told me that she often saw such things happen as a result of having the coil fitted.
‘This is something that I didn’t know about, as if I did I definitely wouldn’t have had it fitted.
‘I would advise women to make sure they get screened both before and after the coil is fitted.
‘I would also push for clarity on when the coil should be removed and make sure you have a full understanding of the complications that it can cause.’
WHAT ARE THE PROS AND CONS OF THE COIL?
Although an IUD, also known as the coil, is an effective method of contraception, there are some things to consider before having one fitted.
- It protects against pregnancy for five or ten years, depending on the type
- Once an IUD is fitted, it works straight away.
- Most women can use it.
- There are no hormonal side effects, such as acne, headaches or breast tenderness.
- It doesn’t interrupt sex.
- It’s safe to use an IUD if you’re breastfeeding.
- It’s possible to get pregnant as soon as the IUD is removed.
- It’s not affected by other medicines.
- There’s no evidence that an IUD will affect your weight or increase the risk of cervical cancer, cancer of the uterus or ovarian cancer.
But there also disadvantages:
- Periods may become heavier, longer or more painful, though this may improve after a few months.
- It doesn’t protect against STIs, so the couple may need to use condoms as well.
- If you get an infection when you have an IUD fitted, it could lead to a pelvic infection if not treated.
- Most women who stop using an IUD do so because of vaginal bleeding and pain, although these side effects are uncommon.
- There’s a very small chance of getting a pelvic infection in the first 20 days after the IUD has been inserted. It may be advised to have a check for any existing infections before an IUD is fitted.
- It’s not common, but the IUD can be rejected (expelled) by the womb or it can move (displacement). If this happens, it’s usually soon after it’s been fitted.
- In rare cases, an IUD can make a hole in the womb when it’s put in. This may be painful, but often there are no symptoms. If the GP or nurse fitting your IUD is experienced, the risk is extremely low.
- If the IUD fails and the woman become pregnant, there’s also a small increased risk of ectopic pregnancy.
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