OakLeaf Medical Network Healthy Viewpoints, Winter 2003
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Donna Schoenfelder, MD

Jamie Lamm, FNP-BC,APNP

Forgettable Contraception: The Mirena IUD (Intrauterine Device)

Donna Schoenfelder, MD
& Jamie Lamm, FNP-BC,APNP.
Obstetrics & Gynecology
Eau Claire Women's Care
Eau Claire

What is the Mirena IUD?

The Mirena is a levonorgestrel (progestin)-releasing intrauterine system, which is an estrogen-free device that delivers small amounts of hormone directly into the uterus.  As a result, the hormone level is almost undetectable in the bloodstream as it is concentrated right in the uterus to help protect against pregnancy. The Mirena provides lower and more balanced hormones than the pill.   The Mirena, made of soft flexible plastic, is inserted into the uterus during an office visit.  It is good for five years, is 99.9% successful in preventing pregnancy and is easily removed when you wish it to be.


The Mirena does not cause significant weight gain and does not impact fertility once it is removed.  However, the Mirena does not protect you against HIV or sexually transmitted diseases.  IUDs date back to 1968, but the Mirena is far different than the early IUDs. The Mirena IUD has been available in the US since 2001 when the FDA approved it. However, over the past 16 years more than 10 million women around the world have used the Mirena successfully.  It has been a very safe and effective form of birth control.


How it works

It is believed the Mirena works by all three of the following actions to help prevent pregnancy.


1 - Thickens the cervical mucous

2 - Hinders sperm from reaching or fertilizing the egg

3 - Thins the lining of the uterus


Noncontraceptive Benefits

During the first three months or so after the Mirena is inserted, women may have spotting or bleeding between periods as the uterine lining is thinning out.  After one year of having the Mirena, there is a 90% reduction in menstrual bleeding and approximately 20% of women who use the Mirena have no bleeding or spotting at all. The Mirena is also an excellent option for women who may or may not need birth control, but who have heavy, painful, or prolonged periods.


Dispelling common myths.  IUD’s:

Do not cause ectopic pregnancies

Do not cause pelvic infection

Do not increase the chance of getting a sexually transmitted disease

Do not affect future fertility

Do not cause abortions

Are not large in size

Mirena is a safe and reliable form of birth control with noncontraceptive benefits as well.  Talk to your primary care provider or gynecologist about whether the Mirena
might be right for you. You may also visit www.mirena-us.com. 


For more information or to schedule an appointment with Dr. Donna Schoenfelder or Jamie Lamm, FNP-BC, APNP, Eau Claire Women’s Care, call 715.834.9998.