The Mirena IUD is a soft plastic T-shaped device containing hormone. It is placed in the uterus (womb) to prevent pregnancy, and can also lighten or even stop periods. It contains a hormone called “progestin.” This hormone acts locally in the uterus to prevent pregnancy, instead of going throughout your whole body, the way the pill or some other hormonal methods do. The Mirena also contains no estrogen, so it has fewer hormonal side effects and risks than a typical Pill.
How Mirena Works
Mirena prevents pregnancy by blocking sperm from meeting the egg. It does this by several ways: it affects the ability of the sperm to swim toward the egg, it thickens the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from passing the cervix, and it affects the ability of the ovary to release an egg. There is a proposed, but not proven, theory that it may also prevent pregnancy by preventing implantation of a fertilized egg.
With a small amount of progesterone within the device, the effect of the hormone is to thin the lining of the uterus and prevent bleeding and cramps. Since the hormone circulates throughout your body, some women may experience hormonal side effects such as weight gain and mood shifts.
How effective is Mirena?
Mirena is very effective with fewer than 1 in 100 women getting pregnant while on it. It is as effective as having your tubes tied, but unlike a tubal, it’s not permanent, so you can get pregnant in the future once the Mirena is removed.
Are there risks associated with Mirena?
As with any other birth control method, the Mirena also has risks. There is a 1/1000 chance of perforation, meaning the Mirena may migrate out of the uterus and into the abdomen. In this case, you may need minor surgery to remove it. However, we place our Mirenas as we watch with an ultrasound and since experts think most perforations occur at the time of placement, this is one way we try to reduce that risk. There is also a small risk of bleeding/cramping during and in the days after insertion. Usually, Advil or Motrin is the best medicine for this type of pain. There is a 1-2% chance the Mirena could slip down and out of place, and if there is concern for that, we will obtain an ultrasound immediately.
Will the Mirena help my periods?
Many women’s periods become lighter and less crampy, and about 1 in 5 women’s periods will stop altogether. You may experience some irregular spotting for the first few months after insertion, but that typically gets better with time.
Learn More About Mirena
The Mirena device is a great way to prevent unwanted pregnancy in a non-permanent, effective manner. Instead of worrying about whether or not you forgot to take your daily birth control pill, you can simply go to Dr. Basinski or Dr. Juran to install the device simply and easily. Feel relieved that you’ll have an FDA-approved form of birth control for up to 5 years. To learn more about Mirena, its safety, effectiveness, and more, call our office today to schedule a consultation to see if this method is right for you.