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The Mirena intrauterine device (IUD) is an implant that people can use as a method of birth control for up to 6 years of age. It can also provide up to 5 years of relief for those with a heavy period.
This IUD works by releasing a hormone that prevents pregnancy. This form of birth control can be a good option for people who have trouble remembering to take a pill every day. However, it can cause various side effects.
This article explores the Mirena IUD in more detail and answers some frequently asked questions. It also examines the differences between Mirena and the copper IUD and lists some alternative contraceptive methods.
the IUD Mirena is a small, T-shaped plastic device that a trained healthcare professional places in a person’s uterus. The device prevents pregnancy and can treat heavy periods.
Mirena contains 52 milligrams of levonorgestrel, a type of hormone that alternative birth control pills frequently use. Mirena works by releasing levonorgestrel in the uterus very slowly over a period of 6 years.
Levonorgestrel enters the bloodstream and prevents a person from getting pregnant by thickening the cervical mucus so that sperm cannot enter it. The hormone also inhibits the movement of sperm and thins the lining of the uterus so that an egg is less likely to attach itself.
Help heavy periods
Mirena can help people who have a heavy period by thinning the lining of the uterus. The company claims that women using Mirena to relieve heavy menstrual bleeding have shown a 80% reduction of bleeding after 3 months. After 6 months, this reduction increased to over 90%.
Learn more about heavy menstrual bleeding here.
Mirena says the IUD is 99% effective in preventing pregnancy for up to 6 years. Each year, less than one pregnancy occurs in 100 people.
The company also claims that its product is the only hormone-releasing IUD that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has approved to treat heavy periods.
A 2019 survey found that
Mirena claims that a person may experience bleeding, pain, or dizziness during and after putting on the device. If symptoms persist for 30 minutes after fitting the device, Mirena suggests that a person notify a doctor as soon as possible. The doctor will make sure that the device is in the right place and that it has not come off.
Common side effects of the Mirena IUD include:
- Changes in bleeding: This includes bleeding or bleeding between periods, especially in the first few months.
- Missed periods: Sometimes your period stops completely after about 1 year. If a person thinks they are pregnant, they should have a urine pregnancy test.
- Ovarian cysts: These cysts can be painful, but they often do not require medical intervention. In some cases, however, surgical removal may be necessary.
- Pain: Pain can occur in the abdomen or ovaries.
- Headaches or migraine episodes: These can sometimes be serious or come on suddenly.
- Vulvovaginitis: This is an infection of the outer part of the vagina.
- Vaginal discharge: Some people can have excessive losses.
Some of the more serious risks when using the Mirena IUD include:
If a person does not have health insurance, the initial cost of the Mirena IUD can be high.
Many health insurance organizations cover the cost of an intrauterine device. However, a person should contact their plan provider to confirm coverage.
If a person does not have insurance, they may be eligible to apply for the Bayer US Patient Assistance Foundation. If they meet the criteria, the organization can cover the full cost of all medications, including an intrauterine device.
Anyone considering a Mirena IUD should first discuss it with a healthcare professional. If they decide to proceed with the fitting, it will take place in the office or clinic of a primary care physician.
A person will first need to remove all clothing below the waist and lie on their back, usually placing their feet in stirrups. A healthcare professional will often cover the person’s lower body to try to make them more comfortable.
During the try-in, the doctor will clean the vagina and the cervix. They then slip a plastic tube containing the Mirena IUD into the uterus. The doctor will remove the tube, leaving the Mirena inside. The strings hang from the IUD for easy removal later, but the doctor will cut the strings to an appropriate length for now.
The doctor can also show a person how to do a thread check, which they should do once a month to make sure the Mirena IUD is still in place. If a person cannot feel the threads, or if they feel more than the thread, they should contact their doctor immediately.
A doctor will usually suggest a follow-up appointment 4 to 6 weeks after placement.
Here we take a look at some frequently asked questions about the Mirena IUD.
Is Mirena removable?
Yes, a doctor or qualified healthcare professional can remove the device at any time.
Does Mirena make you fat?
Weight gain is a possibility, but it is not a common side effect of Mirena.
Can a person still use tampons?
Yes, individuals can still use tampons alongside Mirena. There will be no interaction between the two, as the placement of the IUD is in the uterus, while the tampons are inside the vagina.
Can a sexual partner smell Mirena during sex?
Sexual partners should not feel the device during intercourse because the IUD is in the uterus. A sexual partner can smell the threads, but if they can also smell the Mirena IUD, a person should contact their doctor, as the fit may be incorrect.
What is the difference between the Mirena IUD and the copper IUD?
There is very little difference between the two IUDs. Both claim to be very effective, but doctors have also
However, a 2017 study found that people using copper IUDs were more likely to experience expulsion and pregnancy.
- Implant: A doctor will insert this device under the skin of a person’s arm. It will release hormones over 3 years.
- Injections: A person will receive an injection of hormones into the buttocks every 3 months.
- Oral contraceptive pills: People take them daily or after sex.
- Skin patch: A person wears it on the abdomen, buttocks, or upper body, and it releases hormones into the bloodstream.
- Vaginal ring: This device stays inside the vagina for 3 weeks and releases hormones.
- Condoms: Male and female condoms are available.
- Diaphragm or cervical cap: This device covers the cervix and prevents sperm from entering. A person should place the cover in the correct position just before having sex.
- Spermicides: These come in the form of foams, creams, gels, films, tablets or suppositories. A person should apply spermicides inside the vagina about 1 hour before having sex.
- Sterilization: This permanent form of birth control involves surgery to close or tie a person’s fallopian tubes.
Inserting the Mirena IUD into a person’s uterus can prevent pregnancy or help relieve heavy menstrual bleeding. A doctor or healthcare professional can remove the device at any time.
The Mirena IUD is generally available through an individual’s health insurance plan. In other cases, a person may consider using a financial aid program.
Since many varieties of birth control are available, a person may find it helpful to seek advice from a doctor on the type that best meets their needs.