What Is Mirena?
The Mirena IUD (Intrauterine Device) is a small T-shaped device placed into the uterus by a trained medical professional. The placement of Mirena is non-surgical, can be done in the office and takes only a few minutes. Mirena is also 100% reversible, so it can be removed at anytime with a short office visit.
Everyone is different, and some women may experience discomfort or spotting during and after placement. These symtpoms typically go away shortly.
The Mirena is placed in the uterus so neither you or your partner should be able to feel the device during intercourse.
How Does Mirena Work to Prevent Pregnancy?
Mirena is an IUD that release small amounts of a progestin hormone called levonorgestrel into the uterus.
This hormone thickens the cervicl mucus to prevent sperm from entering your uterus, thereby inhibiting it from reaching or fertilizing the egg.
Exactly How Small Is Mirena?
The actual height of the Mirena is only 1.26 inches.
Why Should You Consider Mirena?
See more children in your future but aren’t ready yet? Or maybe your family is just the right size but you’re not ready for permanent birth control. Either way, Mirena might be right for you if you want birth control that is:
- Highly effective — One of the most effective birth control methods—over 99% at preventing pregnancy
Low-maintenance — No daily pills and no monthly refills. It lasts as long as you want, for up to 5 years. The timeframe is up to you. You should do a monthly thread check to make sure it’s in place. Ask your healthcare provider to explain how. You should schedule a follow-up visit 4 to 6 weeks after your Mirena is placed to check that it’s in the right position
- Reversible — You can have it removed by your healthcare provider at any time, and try to become pregnant right away
- Estrogen-free — It delivers small amounts of progestin locally into your uterus
Approved to treat heavy periods—Mirena is the first and only IUD (intrauterine device) birth control that is FDA-approved to treat heavy periods in women who choose intrauterine birth control
No birth control is right for everyone, so talk to your healthcare provider! They can help you decide if Mirena is the right choice for you.
What Are the Side Effects of Mirena?
There is a very slight risk of getting pregnant, less than 1 percent. This is still the lowest risk of pregnancy of any form of birth control. If you do conceive while using Mirena, you’re at a higher risk of an ectopic pregnancy, when the fertilized egg implants outside the uterus. Still, because Mirena prevents most pregnancies, the risk of having an ectopic pregnancy is far lower than women who are not using contraception.
There is a slight risk that the insertion of Mirena causes perforation of the uterus.
Typical side effects associated with Mirena include:
- Breast tenderness
- Irregular bleeding (this usually improves after the first six months of use)
- Mood changes
- Cramping or pelvic pain
There is a chance of expelling Mirena from your uterus. This is more typical if Mirena was inserted immediately after childbirth.
How Painful Is It to Get an IUD Inserted?
Most women have some degree of fear and trepidation about having an IUD inserted. After all, it must be painful to have something inserted through your cervix and into your uterus, right? Not necessarily. The insertion process only takes about 15 minutes. Most women say the discomfort is minimal and generally lasts less than 30 minutes. Uterine cramping is common, but you can relieve this with Tylenol or Advil and a heating pad if needed. Some women have some degree of dizziness during the insertion process.
Our Premier OB/GYN patients find the pain tolerable and feel the tradeoff is well worth it for having this highly effective method of birth control in place. Once inserted, there’s nothing you need to do with Mirena, and it can stay in place for up to 5 years.
How Quickly Does Mirena Start Working?
If you had Mirena inserted within 7 days after the start of your period, it is effective immediately. If it is inserted at any other time during your menstrual cycle,
Mirena will start working 7 days after it is inserted. So, for that first week after insertion, you need to use condoms or continue your pills, patch, or other birth control as a backup.
What Should I Not Do After Getting an IUD?
After we insert Mirena, you must not have sex or use tampons for 24 hours. Also, don’t use a hot tub, take a bath, or use a swimming pool. You may have some on and off cramping for 24 hours, so you may want to take it easy. This isn’t a requirement, however. Do not pull on the strings, as this can dislodge Mirena. The strings are only there to assure you the IUD is in place.
Will I Be Able to Feel Mirena When It Is in Place?
Women can only feel Mirena if it has descended and they are feeling the hard plastic. You can feel the strings that descend out of the cervix, but that is only if you try and feel them.
Is the Mirena IUD Better Than Other Forms of Birth Control?
At Premier OB/GYN, we feel Mirena and other IUDs have some serious advantages over other forms of birth control.
They are truly low-maintenance — No daily pills to take; no patches to replace; no condoms or diaphragms to put on or insert. Once placed by your Premier OB/GYN doctor, your Mirena IUD won’t need any attention. And it lasts for up to 5 years. That’s a whole lot of time to not worry about your birth control.
These are the benefits Mirena gives our Premier OB/GYN patients:
- Eliminates the need to interrupt sex for contraception
- Doesn’t require partner participation
- Can remain in place for 5 years
- Can be removed at any time, which will return you to fertility very quickly
- Can be used while breastfeeding
- Doesn’t carry the risk of side effects related to birth control methods containing estrogen
- Typically decreases menstrual bleeding at three or four months after placement
- About one-fifth of women stop having periods after one year of using Mirena
- Can decrease menstrual pain and pain associated with endometriosis
- Decreases risk of pelvic infection
- Decreases risk of endometrial cancer
Does an IUD Make You Gain Weight?
About 5 percent of women on Mirena gain weight, but this varies widely between different women. The weight gain isn’t an increase in body fat. Instead, progestin, the hormone used in Mirena, can make your body hold onto more water and cause some bloating. This is similar to what women experience during their cycle. This water retention typically goes away in about 3 months of using Mirena once your body gets used to the hormones.