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All about the intrauterine device Mirena (IUD)

One of the greatest recent advancements for women is the introduction of long acting reversible contraception (LARCs!), which provide very high quality reproductive control. These can include an arm implant, a 3 monthly injection or an intrauterine device(IUD). Of these, on average 23% of female contraceptive users worldwide have an IUD – and this can be up to 40% depending on country and level of access. The hormonal IUD is particularly popular because it has a number of advantages:

  1. It usually reduces periods significantly and often makes them stop completely. In fact, it works so well that the government subsidies the hormonal IUD for women purely for heavy period control (rather than to stop pregnancy)
  2. It lasts for 5 years and you don’t need to do anything. Which makes it both easy and cost effective.
  3. It’s the only hormonal contraception that primarily acts locally rather than throughout the body. This means that you will still ovulate, and you are much less likely to have side effects. The device simply releases low levels of hormones within the uterus to temporarily thin the uterus lining (hence reducing periods) and thicken the cervical (sperm blocking) mucous.
  4. It is very easy to remove (by a doctor) and your fertility will return to normal almost immediately after you do.

All LARCs are highly effective at preventing pregnancy, the IUD is >99% effective, where as the pill is usually 93-96% effective.

To read more about LARCs and the hormonal IUD see these reliable resources:

Family Planning NSW

Jean Hailes For Womens Health

Blog by Dr Sara Cargill