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What is Mirena and is it right for me?

What is Mirena and how does it work? 

The Mirena is a hormone-releasing IUD that can prevent pregnancy for up to five years. It releases a hormone called levonorgestrel into your uterus, making it over 99% effective and one of the most effective methods of reversable birth control 

Why use Mirena? 

Mirena is ideal for women who do not wish to have to remember to take a contraceptive pill every day. The Mirena is flexible because you can remove it at any time should you decide that you want to have a child. If at the end of the five year duration of the Mirena, you still do not wish to have a child, you can simply have a new one placed in which will then last another five years. It is vital to know that the Mirena does not prevent against STDs or HIV. 

Menstruation on the Mirena 

The Mirena can also be used to treat heavy periods in women who choose intrauterine contraception Bleeding and spotting may increase in the first 3 – 6 months and remain irregular. You may experience frequent spotting or light bleeding. A few women have heavy bleeding during this time but do call your doctor if the bleeding remains heavier than usual. Once your body adjusts, the number of bleeding and spotting days is likely to decrease but remain irregular. You may even find that your period stops altogether for as long as the Mirena is in place. By one year about 1 in 5 users may have no period at all. Your periods will return once the Mirena is removed 

Placing the Mirena 

The Mirena is made of a soft, flexible plastic that is placed by your doctor during an office visit. Mirena does not contain estrogen and it can be used whether or not you’ve had a child. As a follow-up you should visit the doctor once in the first 4 – 6 weeks after the Mirena is placed to make sure that it is in the right position, from there it can be checked annually as a part of your routine exam. You will need to do a self-check of the Mirena threads once a month to make sure that they are in place. Be sure to ask your doctor how to do this. If you are having trouble finding the threads or cannot feel them, thing it is a good idea to call your doctor and in the meantime; use some sort of non-hormonal birth control 

Pregnancy with the Mirena 

Becoming pregnant on the Mirena is uncommon and can result in an ectopic pregnancy. This means that the pregnancy is not in the uterus but may occur in the fallopian tubes. An ectopic pregnancy is an emergency that requires immediate medical attention and often requires surgery, so it is important to call your healthcare provider immediately if you feel that you may be pregnant. 

Pregnancy after the Mirena 

Mirena prevents pregnancy for as long as you want and lasts for up to five years. You can try to become pregnant as soon as the Mirena is removed by your doctor. 1 in 8 women succeed in becoming pregnant less than one year after removing the Mirena. Pregnancy on the Mirena is uncommon but can be life threatening and may result in a loss of pregnancy or fertility. 

How does it work? 

The Mirena prevents pregnancy in several ways:

  • By thickening cervical mucus to prevent sperm from entering your uterus
  • By inhibiting sperm from reaching or fertilizing your egg
  • By thinning the lining of your uterus

There is no single explanation for how it works, but all of these together make it effective birth control for up to five years 

Side effects 

It is possible that you may experience pain, bleeding or dizziness during and after the placement of the Mirena. If these symptoms do not pass within 30 minutes, then it is possible that the Mirena may not have been placed correctly. Your doctor will examine you and see if it needs to be removed or replaced. If you are considering the Mirena for contraception, then book an appointment at Southport Doctors where one of our healthcare professionals will be able to do a medical exam and determine whether or not you are suitable for this device.

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