What is the Mirena?

The Mirena is a form of contraception known as an ‘intra-uterine device’. The Mirena is placed inside the uterus in a simple procedure which does not require any surgery or recovery time. It is a small, plastic device which releases hormones into the uterus. These hormones prevent pregnancy through a number of ways:

  • Thickens the mucous of the cervix so that sperm cannot get through into the uterus

  • Reduces the movement of the Fallopian tubes so that the egg cannot not reach the uterus

  • Makes the lining of the uterus unsuitable to hold and nourish a pregnancy

  • In some occasions, prevents the ovary from releasing an egg at all (ie stop ovulation).

The Mirena can last up to 5 years before it has to be removed, though if the patient chooses they can remove the Mirena whenever they like and should not suffer lasting effects.

What are the advantages of the Mirena?

The Mirena is a highly advantageous form of contraception for a number of reasons:

  • It is very effective and can prevent up to 99% of pregnancies (compared to the oral contraceptive pill which can only prevent up to 92%)

  • It is a long-acting form of contraception, meaning rather than having to remember to take a pill each day, you can have the Mirena for 5 years without having to worry.

What are some side-effects of the Mirena?

Like all forms of hormonal contraception, all women react differently. Some side effects can include:

  • Irregular bleeding or spotting is common in the first few months, this will usually settle. In many women, all bleeding (including periods) will stop within 12 months of use.

  • Hormonal side effects such as bloating or skin changes can occur, however this occurs less commonly than other hormonal medications (like the pill) because the Mirena only releases a small amount locally in the uterus, rather than it being throughout the bloodstream.

  • Other side effects are very rare but can include infection or damage to the uterine wall.

Who should not get the Mirena?

  • If there is any chance you could already be pregnant, you should not have the Mirena inserted as it could jeopardise the pregnancy (the doctor will give you a pregnancy test before insertion)

  • If you have a current sexually transmitted infection (STI), especially one which has extended to the uterus, you should not have the Mirena inserted until it is treated

  • If you have any abnormal bleeding from the vagina, you should not have the Mirena inserted until the cause is diagnosed

If you are interested in learning more about this topic, feel free to book an appointment with one of our friendly doctors by booking online or contacting us by phone on 8269 6000.


Family Planning NSW 2013, The Hormone-Releasing IUD [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.fpnsw.org.au/sites/default/files/assets/HORMONE%20RELEASING%20IUD.pdf (Accessed 6 Sept 2018)

Family Planning Victoria 2018, Intrauterine Device Contraception [ONLINE] Available at: https://www.fpv.org.au/for-you/contraception/long-acting-reversible-contraception-larc/iud-contraception-intra-uterine-device [Accessed 6 Sept 2018)

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