Mirena IUD (Birth Control)
Mirena is a hormonal intrauterine device (IUD) inserted into the uterus for long-term birth control and/or reduction of heavy menstrual bleeding.
The device features a T-shaped plastic frame that releases a type of progestin which thickens the cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching or fertilizing an egg and thins the lining of the uterus. It is effective for up to five years after insertion.
Why should my daughter consider Mirena?
The Mirena IUD is an effective, long-term form of contraception that can be used in women of all ages, including teenagers. If your daughter is considering contraception methods, the Mirena IUD:
- Can remain in place and prevent pregnancy for up to five years
- Can be removed at any time, and fertility returns quickly
- Often reduces menstrual bleeding after several months of use
- Often reduces severe menstrual pain and pain from endometriosis
- Doesn’t carry some of the side effect risks of estrogen-containing birth control
- Decreases the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease by thickening cervical mucus
- Decreases the risk of endometrial (uterine) cancer
Who shouldn’t use the Mirena IUD?
Your daughter should not use the Mirena IUD if she:
- Has unexplained vaginal bleeding
- Has liver disease
- Has uterine abnormalities, like fibroids, that can interfere with placement
- Has an abnormally shaped uterus, such as a septate uterus
- Has an active pelvic infection or history of pelvic inflammatory disease
- Has inflammation or infection of the vagina or cervix
- Is allergic to any component of Mirena
What are the side effects?
Your daughter may experience side effects, such as:
- Breast tenderness
- Irregular bleeding
- Absence of periods
- Mood changes
- Weight gain
- Cramping or pelvic pain
What to expect
Your daughter’s doctor can insert Mirena anytime during her menstrual cycle, as long as she’s been consistently using another birth control method or hasn’t been sexually active since her last period.
The procedure is often performed in the office setting in teenagers who have been sexually active or who otherwise wish to have it placed while awake. However, many girls have the device placed in the operating room setting while asleep to avoid the discomfort with the IUD placement.
The doctor may order a pregnancy test and STI screening before inserting Mirena. Your daughter can take a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug like Advil or Motrin one to two hours before the procedure to reduce cramping.
During the procedure, the doctor will:
- Insert a speculum and clean the vagina and cervix with an antiseptic solution
- Place the device inside an applicator tube and insert the Mirena IUD through the cervical canal and into the uterus
- Trim the device strings
During the procedure, your daughter may experience cramping, dizziness, fainting, nausea, low blood pressure, or a slower-than-normal heartbeat. These should return to normal.
About 1-3 months after Mirena is inserted, your daughter’s doctor may re-examine her to make sure Mirena hasn't moved and check for signs and symptoms of infection and any bleeding abnormalities.
To remove Mirena, your daughter’s doctor will use forceps to grasp the device’s strings and pull gently downward. Light bleeding and cramping is common during removal.