What is the Mirena?
The Mirena is a hormonal intrauterine device (IUD) which is a a long-term contraceptive method that lasts for 5 years. Here’s everything you need to know about it.
How does it work?
It’s a small, t-shaped plastic device that is wrapped in copper and placed inside your uterus by a health care professional. The Mirena releases copper ions (soft electrical metals) which make it hard for the sperm to reach a woman’s egg, making it almost impossible to impregnate her.
How is it inserted?
The device is inserted through the vagina and placed into the uterus by a healthcare professional. It’s usually inserted within 7 days after the start of a menstrual period. Once they've inserted the device, you might feel a bit of pain or dizziness and have some vaginal bleeding, which shouldn't last longer than 30 minutes after the procedure.
Is it painful?
The Mirena's supposed to be really comfortable - it shouldn't make it difficult to wear a tampon and cannot be felt during sex. If it starts to get painful, causes dizziness or bleeding, you should go see your doctor immediately.
Once you have the device inserted, you'll need to go for pelvic exams every year to make sure that the device's still in place and uninterrupted.
Are there any side effects?
Irregular periods are normal during the first 6 months of having had the Mirena inserted. It’s also possible that your period will completely stop after a couple of months. Remember that missing your periods can also be a sign of pregnancy or another health problem, so it’s always best to consult your doctor if you have any concerns. Other possible side effects include headaches, weight gain or weight loss, acne and bloating but you should always consult your doctor if they become severe
What are the benefits?
When you’ve had the Mirena inserted you won’t have to worry about having to remember to take contraceptives. It lasts 5 years, so you know you're protected against unwanted pregnancies for that period. Just remember that this hormonal contraceptive doesn’t protect against STIs and HIV so I advise that you still use a condom even after it is inserted.
There are so many different forms of contraceptives out there, and I think it’s important to weigh your options before deciding on any one. You can also speak to a healthcare professional about finding the best contraceptive method for you.
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