Hormonal IUD or Intrauterine device with progestogen is a reversible birth control method and is long lasting. Mirena is the only IUD that has approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is the most popular brand in the UK. They were developed after the development of the copper IUD in the 1960-1970s. This device once inserted into the uterus prevents pregnancy upto 5 years.
- Most effective form of reversible contraceptive
- You can choose when to become pregnant by removing it.
- In women with heavy and painful periods, this method makes the periods lighter, shorter or stop altogether.
- Effective for women who cannot use combined contraceptives (with estrogen)
- Effective for 5 years so that you don’t have to use a contraceptive method every time you have sex
- Is safe for breastfeeding mothers.
- Not affected by other medications
- Doesn’t interrupt sex
- During the first 6 months of insertion of IUS, irregular bleeding or spotting may be experienced which fade away with time.
- Headaches, Acne and tenderness of the breast may be experienced in some cases.
- Small cysts may appear on the ovaries. This is quite uncommon and disappear after a couple of months.
- Does not protect against STDs or sexually transmitted infections (STIs)
A hormonal UId should not be inserted if you are pregnant, have abnormal vaginal bleeding, have cervical, breast or uterine cancer, have severe liver ailments etc. Consult with your gynecologist before adopting this contraceptive method
Mechanism of Action
The hormonal IUD is a small T-shaped plastic which contains the hormone levonorgestral, a type of progestogen. Mirena releases the hormone into the uterus and thus prevents the egg from coming in contact with the sperm.
Before insertion your physician will evaluate your overall health and perform a pelvic examination. You may also be screened for STDs. It can be inserted anytime during your menstrual cycle if you are sure that you are not pregnant. You may have to use a backup contraceptive measure if Mirena is inserted more than 7 days after your period.
IUS may produce complications that are rare and usually happen in the first 6 months of insertion.
Womb Damage: In rare cases, while insertion an IUD can perforate the womb. This may cause pain in the lower abdomen. Contact your doctor if you experience severe pain after insertion.
Infections: In the first couple of weeks after insertion pelvic infections may arise though the risk is very low. You doctor would perform a internal examination before insertion of the IUD to ensure there are no existing infections.
Rejection/Expulsion: In some case IUD is expelled by the body or gets displaced. Your doctor can provide you with instructions on how to check if it is in place.
Ectopic Pregnancy: In case IUD fails and you end up getting pregnant then there is a risk of ectopic pregnancy (pregnancy in the tubes and not uterus). Talk to your doctor in case you want to continue with the pregnancy.