Womens Health

Mirena - A Great Choice in Birth Control

In our section devoted to Mirena and other forms of IUDs and ICUDs, get the information you need to decide if this form of birth control is right for your lifestyle and your body.

Mirena is a safe and reliable form of birth control that many women find easy to use. It is similar to other Intrauterine Contraceptive Devices (IUCD's) because it is fitted by a doctor and it remains in the womb for a fixed amount of time. It is different than these other devices, however, because it is more effective than most IUCD's and it avoids many of the common side effects that IUCD's have.

Studies about Mirena

Two large clinical trials were done in Finland and Sweden to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of Mirena. 1169 women from 18 to 35 enrolled in the study and used Mirena for as long as five years. This totaled 45,000 months of exposure to Mirena. Over 70% of the participants had used an IUD at some point, and most had no history of ectopic pregnancies. They were predominantly Caucasian. The pregnancy rates over a 12 month period were less than .2 for every 100 women. The five year rate was .7 for every 100 women.


Mirena has been found to be as effective as tubal ligation! For every 1000 women who use it, only about one becomes pregnant. This is compared to 10 for a normal IUCD, 20 for the pill and 10-15 for Depo Provera. It is important to know, however, that like IUCD's, when Mirena does fail, it makes it more likely that the woman will have an ectopic pregnancy. If you think you are pregnant while using Mirena, it is important to consult with a health care professional. Since there are so few pregnancies to date from the use of Mirena, it is not known what will happen if you keep Mirena in while pregnant, but it is certainly not advisable to do so.

How Mirena Works

Mirena is made of a light, plastic, T-shaped frame that has a stem of a bit thicker T. This stem has it in a tiny storage system of the hormone Levonorgestrel. This hormone is frequently used in contraceptive pills, but here, it is at a much lower dose than when you take the pill. It goes directly to the lining of the womb, and not through the blood stream as the pill does. It works by making the mucus in the cervix thicker to prevent sperm from getting through, while simultaneously making the lining of the womb thin so that an embryo can't implant. This actually results in very light periods for women on Mirena.

How to Get Mirena

You must be fitted for Mirena by a doctor in his or her office. The doctor will give you an exam to make sure that you have a normal size womb and that there is nothing else unusual. The IUS will then be fitted within a week of the beginning of your period to reduce the chance of expulsion and of irregular bleeding. It should not be inserted until at least six weeks after delivery of a baby.

During the fitting, the doctor places the Mirena device in the womb through the cervix. It may be a good idea to take some painkillers a few hours before your fitting, as you may find the process uncomfortable. Once it is in place, you won't feel it, and your partner won't feel it during intercourse. You will be asked to return in about six weeks for a follow up appointment and then yearly. There are strings attached to the Mirena device, and this is how you check to make sure that it's in the right place. It's also how you remove it. It should last about five years, and a new one can be inserted right after the old one is taken out.

Learn more about mirena at the official mirena company website.

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