The Mirena IUD is a modern contraceptive method making a splash in the media. Perhaps you’ve already heard or read about the Mirena, and are considering whether this option is right for you. To help you make a decision, we’ve rounded up all the facts below.
So, what exactly is Mirena?
Mirena is a long-acting, reversible hormone-releasing contraceptive appliance that is inserted into the uterus. It is a type of intrauterine device (IUD). It can be used as a contraceptive, or to control heavy periods.
How does it work?
Mirena is a thin, plastic T-shaped device containing a synthetic female hormone, known as levonorgestrel, a type of progesterone. Progesterone is a contraceptive agent also found in the pill. This hormone interferes with the entrance and function of sperm and reduces the monthly growth of the lining of the womb.
How is it inserted?
The insertion is usually performed in your doctor’s rooms, and usually won’t require anaesthesia. The procedure takes around 15 minutes and is fairly similar to the process of a Pap smear. It can also be inserted at the time of another procedure, such as a hysteroscopy.
Following insertion, you will not be able to feel the device, but you should be able to feel the threads of the device with your fingers.
The device is removed in a procedure similar to the insertion.
How long does Mirena last?
Mirena stays in the uterus and remains effective for a maximum of five years, but may be removed sooner if desired. The device does not dissolve by itself and must be removed. Your fertility will return rapidly after removal.
How effective is Mirena?
Mirena is extremely effective in the prevention of pregnancy and is protective from the time of insertion, provided it is inserted at the right time of your cycle. But it’s important to remember that no contraceptive method is one hundred percent reliable. If more than 1000 women use Mirena for one year, no more than two of them will fall pregnant. Another factor contributing to Mirena’s effectiveness is that it does not require any maintenance and is generally not affected by illness.
What are the disadvantages of Mirena?
The greatest disadvantage of the Mirena is that it does not prevent sexually transmitted diseases. It can also cause irregularities of your menstrual cycle, particularly in the first three months after insertion.
When should Mirena be inserted?
Mirena must be inserted within 7 days of the first day of your period, preferably just after you finish bleeding.
What are the complications of this procedure?
Every contraceptive method has associated risks and side-effects. Complications include, but are not limited to:
You may experience discomfort at the time of and immediately after insertion. There’s a risk of perforation of the uterus and the introduction of infection.
2. Menstrual control
You can expect some change in your periods – the exact effect is difficult to predict. Most women will stop having periods, and in the remainder periods become lighter or less regular. But most women will experience spotting in the first six months after insertion which can be bothersome.
In rare cases, the device may be expelled during the menstrual period. You should check for the threads of the device after each period or about once a month.
4. Other effects
A number of other side effects have been reported, including headaches, breast tenderness, and changes in libido. Occasionally, the threads may be felt by your partner, and if this causes discomfort, these can be adjusted.
If you’re interested in finding out more about Mirena, you can give our reception staff a call on (07) 3332 1999. All of Eve’s gynaecologists offer Mirena insertion and removal.