Womens Health

10 Things About Mirena You May Not Have Known

Mirena is a t-shaped plastic frame that's inserted into the uterus through the vagina. The frame contains doses of the progestin hormone that causes the endometrium (uterus lining) to thin and the cervical mucus to thicken. Thicker cervical mucus makes it harder for sperm to reach the egg for fertilization. If fertilization does occur, the chance of implantation is reduced because of the thinner uterus lining.

1. It has FDA approval.

No other hormonal intrauterine device (IUD) has been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) besides Mirena?

2. Research into Mirena started in the 1970s.

This birth control device has been in use since 1990, but underwent nearly 30 years of research before it was presented to the public for use. When it was made available to consumers, Mirena was only marketed commercially in Finland. It wasn't until 2000 that the device was available in the United States and approved by the FDA.

Schering Health distributes Mirena outside the United States. Inside the United Sates, Berlex distributes it. Both these companies are legitimate, licensed organizations that have worked with the non-profit organization, the Population Council. The Population Council also works with other birth control manufacturers including the maker of Norplant.

3. Not everyone can use Mirena.

Mirena can be an effective birth control option, but it's not a contraceptive for everyone. Some conditions may cause your healthcare provider to discourage use of this device. Here's a list of some of the conditions or diseases that might cause your doctor to suggest alternative birth control options.

· A diagnosis of current or past breast, uterine, liver or cervical cancer.

· Any uterine abnormalities that might interfere with the placement of the device or its retention. Uterine abnormalities that can cause a problem include fibroids.

· An abnormal pap smear.

· Allergies to chemical hormones.

· Unexplained vaginal bleeding.

· A history of sexually transmitted diseases including pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) or even any type of pelvic infection.

· Liver disease or a family history of liver disease.

· Past or current inflammation of the lower genital tract including the cervix or vagina.

· A heart condition or a history of heart attacks and/or strokes.

· High blood pressure or blood clotting problems.

· Migraines or diabetes.

4. Mirena is safe to use during breastfeeding.

This type of birth control can be safely used during breastfeeding. The Cochrane Library reports that progestogen-only birth control is not believed to have a negative impact on infant growth or the quality and amount of milk produced by breastfeeding mothers.

There is, however, some disagreement as to when Mirena should be inserted post-partum. The World Health Organization recommends against insertion immediately after giving birth because of higher expulsion rates. It approves the use of the IUD for women six weeks postpartum. The US FDA suggests against the use of any hormonal birth control, including Mirena, by any nursing mothers.

5. The unit is removed during a period.

Mirena is more easily removed towards the end of a woman's period. Removal is typically done with a pair of forceps that are used to grab the device and gently pull it out. Sometimes a thread collector device is used to grab the device through the cervix.

6. Expulsion is higher in women who haven't had a baby.

It's possible for Mirena to be expelled through the cervix, but the expulsion rate is low at four percent. Women under 20 who haven't had a baby have a higher expulsion rate and the rate of expulsion also increases if the device is inserted right after an abortion or childbirth.

7. Timing of the insertion of Mirena after childbirth is crucial.

It needs to be inserted within 48 hours of having a baby to reduce the chance of a perforated uterus due to the incompletion of uterine involution. If it's not inserted within 48 hours, the woman must wait four to six weeks until the uterine involution is complete.

8. Mirena can treat heavier periods.

Periods become lighter for women who use this device as birth control. Twenty percent of women stop getting periods entirely within one year of insertion.

9. Irregular bleeding is common.

The average women reports 16 days of spotting or bleeding within the most month after insertion.

10. A return of normal periods can be a sign the device has been expelled.

Other signs include painful sex, sudden long or missing strings or the device's hard plastic in your vagina or on your cervix.


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