Choosing a method of contraception is a personal decision many women face. The Mirena Hormonal Intra-Uterine Device (IUD) was first introduced in Finland in 1990, and has since become a popular form of birth control in many other countries including the U.S. While the Mirena IUD is not right for everyone, it can be a highly effective, maintenance free choice for family planning.
The Mirena IUD is a T-shaped plastic device that is inserted into the uterus by a physician. The insertion may cause discomfort for some patients, but once put in place, the IUD should be undetectable. A thin string from the base of the IUD will protrude from the cervix, allowing for removal. Women should check for the string once per month to ensure the device is still in proper position. The string should not be tugged on because this may result in the accidental removal of the IUD.
The Mirena is a hormonal IUD in that it slowly releases a small amount of synthetic hormones into the uterus. Compared to oral or injected birth control, the hormone released locally and is not circulated through the whole body. Women who do not tolerate other forms of hormonal birth control should check with their doctor to discuss whether they might be able to use the Mirena. According to the Mayo Clinic, the FDA has approved the use of hormonal IUDs as safe for women who have had at least one child. Unlike a copper IUD, which lasts ten years, the Mirena is effective for five years, after which it must be replaced.
The Mirena is a highly successful form of birth control. With a 99.9% effectiveness rating, only an estimated 1 out of 1000 women will get pregnant while using this IUD. The only more effective forms of contraception are abstinence and vasectomy. Even tubal ligation only boasts a 99% effectiveness rating, which means 1 in every 100 patients may be come pregnant. Unlike to these two permanent forms of birth control, the Mirena IUD can be easily removed and fertility resumes almost immediately. When compared to the difficult reversal process of vasectomies and tubal ligations, the hormonal IUD is a great choice for women who are uncertain whether they want to have more children in the future.
Unlike barrier methods of birth control, a Mirena IUD does not impede the spontaneity of intimacy. (It is important to realize that the Mirena does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and is best used in long-term monogamous relationships). There are no pills to remember to take and no doctor’s visits for hormone injections. Breastfeeding women can also safely use the Mirena. Because the hormones released are local and not systemic, they will not enter the breast milk or affect milk supply. Women may also experience reduced menstrual flow once the initial spotting from insertion ends. This can be a great boon to women who suffer from painful periods. Because of the numerous benefits of hormonal IUDs, they are a great choice for maintenance free birth control.
According to Bayer Healthcare Pharmaceuticals, the manufacturer of the Mirena, the following circumstances should be discussed with a physician prior to choosing a hormonal IUD. These conditions may not preclude a patient from using a Mirena, however the physician should be aware if the patient recently had a baby or if is are breastfeeding, has ever had pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), has ever had an ectopic pregnancy, has diabetes, heart disease or a congenital heart condition, or if the patient has problems with blood clotting or high blood pressure. There are potential side effects when using any IUD. Some women experience discomfort during insertion. The IUD may be inadvertently expelled, which can result in accidental pregnancy if not replaced. Some women will miss periods or stop menstruating altogether. Additionally ovarian cysts, which usually disappear on their own, may occur. In extremely rare cases, uterine perforation may occur during or after insertion. Heavy bleeding after insertion should be reported to a doctor. If there are any concerns about the Mirena IUD, a physician should be contacted immediately.
When choosing a form of birth control, it is imperative to research all of the options available to make an educated decision. The method’s effectiveness and ease of use should be considered, as well as the possible risk factors and side effects. A desire for future pregnancies and the speed of the returned fertility are significant issues in family planning. In conclusion, women who have already had at least one child may find that the Mirena IUD is a fantastic fit for their birth control needs.
This article is for information purposes only and is not meant to provide medical advice or recommendations. A medical doctor will be able to help answer questions about the Mirena IUD.