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The Mirena Intrauterine System is a small, flexible, plastic device that also contains a hormone-emitting reservoir. Once placed in the uterus, Mirena protects against pregnancy for up to five years, making it a low-maintance contraceptive option that leaves no space for user error. The Mirena coil is the single most effective form of reversible birth control out there.

Like other forms of contraception, especially hormonal contraception, Mirena can, however, lead to certain side effects.

Who Shouldn't Use Mirena?

Mirena is contraindicated for certain groups of women. This means those women should not be using the Mirena IUS. Mirena is not suitable for you if:

  • You think you might be pregnant
  • You need emergency contraception — the Paragard non-hormonal intrauterine device can, however, be used as emergency contraception
  • You have a uterine abnormality, including a bicornuate uterus
  • You have uterine fibroids large enough to interefere with the intrauterine device
  • You have a history of breast cancer or other cancers that are progestin-sensitive
  • You have unexplained uterine bleeding between periods
  • You have an infection of the reproductive system
  • You have liver disease

Make sure you discuss your contraceptive options with your healthcare provider in great detail before making a final choice. This should always include going over your medical history.

Mirena: What Side Effects Can You Expect?

First off, Mirena is an extremely effective form of birth control. It is highly unlikely that you will get pregnant while using Mirena, but if you do, the pregnancy is more likely to be ectopic — meaning it develops outside of the uterus, typically in one of the fallopian tubes. Even uterine pregnancies are risky when an IUD was present at the time of conception. This is something women who are considering an IUD should be aware of.

Headaches, nausea, acne, breast tenderness, mood changes, and pelvic cramps are some of the possible side effects of the Mirea IUS, however, if you encounter them, they are very likely to go away within three months of placement.

Irregular bleeding and sometimes the complete or nearly complete absence of periods are other potential side effects of the Mirena IUS. These side effects are, however, exactly what makes some women choose the Mirena coil. If you previously suffered from painful and very heavy periods, the Mirena may reduce your monthly suffering greatly.

Ovarian cysts and weight gain are possible side effects you'd rather not have.

Finally, it's possible for the Mirena coil to come out naturally, obviously ending your protection from pregnancy. This is more common in very young women, those who had the IUD placed right after childbirth or abortion, those who have never been pregnant, and those who have severe menstrual bleeding. If you have previously had an IUD come out, it's more likely to happen again.

Women who have just had an abortion or given birth to a baby should ideally wait about two months before having an intrauterine device placed, to prevent expulsion.

Like all non-condom forms of contraception, the Mirena intrauterine system protects against pregnancy but not against sexually transmitted diseases.

Overall, the Mirena coil is a very safe and effective form of birth control for many women. Conveniently, though it can stay in place for up to five years, you can have the device removed at any time, and you will see a full return to fertility almost right away.

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