Mirena is a flexible, plastic intrauterine contraceptive that is inserted directly into the uterus. Although it is estrogen-free, it does contain the hormone levonorgestrel, which is released into the body. Mirena can be used for up to five years and is more than 99 percent effective at preventing an unwanted pregnancy.
Although there is some debate about how Mirena, and all intrauterine devices, work, it's believed to prevent sperm from reaching an egg while decreasing the thickness of the uterine lining. The levonorgestrel, which is present in many birth control pills, also prevents a woman from fully ovulating since the egg doesn't mature.
Benefits of Mirena
Mirena is designed for women who have already had at least one child and want a long-term, but not permanent, method of birth control.
Many women who use Mirena like the spontaneity it provides since there are no condoms or spermicides to use. Since it is inserted once at the physician's office, women who use Mirena barely need to think about their birth control, unlike the pill, which needs to be taken everyday.
Mirena Side Effects
Like any type of birth control, Mirena does have some potential drawbacks. Since it does not provide a barrier between partners, there is no protection against sexually transmitted diseases and should only be used by women who are in monogamous relationships.
Other side effects include back pain, ovarian cysts, spotting, and changes in the menstrual cycle. In some cases, periods might stop altogether. This is a benefit for some women, while others prefer to get a monthly cycle.
Women who have had pelvic infections, certain reproductive cancers, or liver disease may not be able to use Mirena. Talk to your doctor about any other concerns you have about your health history and whether Mirena is right for you.
Fertility and IUD
Women who plan to use Mirena or an IUD until they are ready to conceive are in luck--in most cases, fertility returns to normal quickly after the device is removed. In fact, one study shows that women who stop using Mirena conceive just as quickly as women who were on no birth control at all. That means you are likely to get pregnant within a few months of having Mirena removed.
Although Mirena and most IUDs are designed for up to five years of use, they can easily be removed at any time by your physician. Unlike the birth control shots, which are effective for several months at a time, Mirena does not affect future fertility once it's removed. If your cycle returns to normal right away, you could conceive in the first month after having it removed.
Safety of Becoming Pregnant after Mirena Removal
Mirena can be removed at any time and your fertility should return to normal. Women who didn't have any complications from using Mirena shouldn't have any problems conceiving and carrying a health pregnancy. In fact, there is very little reason to worry about the safety of becoming pregnant after Mirena removal assuming that you are healthy.
Conceiving while on Mirena is a different story. Women who get pregnant while using the device are at a much higher risk of developing an ectopic pregnancy. If you begin to experience heavy bleeding and pain while using Mirena, contact your doctor immediately.
Other problems that occur if you get pregnant while on Mirena include premature delivery, miscarriage, or even death. Even though the chances of conceiving with this form of birth control are less than 1 percent, be sure to contact your physician if you think you might be pregnant.
In rare cases, the Mirena device could cause a hole in the uterus or it may imbed itself in the uterus wall. In either of these cases, surgery might be necessary to remove the device. If damage or scarring is caused to the surrounding tissue, further surgery or even a hysterectomy may be necessary. These situations will greatly impact a woman's future fertility and her ability to conceive, but they are rare side effects that won't affect most women using Mirena.