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Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit
Leeds, Grenville & Lanark District Health Unit

 
FAQ

Birth Control Options

 

IUS (Intrauterine System - Mirena*)

What is it?

An IUS (Mirena*) is a small, plastic, T-shaped device that contains the hormone levonorgestrel. This device is placed inside a woman's uterus to prevent pregnancy. It can be left in place for up to 5 years.



How does it work?

The hormone in the IUS is released slowly over time and acts on the lining of the uterus, thereby preventing pregnancy in three ways:

  • Thickens cervical mucus making it difficult for sperm to get through
  • Changes the lining of the uterus to prevent implantation
  • In some women, it prevents the ovaries from releasing an egg



How effective is it?

  • The IUS is more than 99% effective in preventing pregnancy.




What are the advantages?

  • Very effective and long-acting (can be left in place up to 5 years)
  • Does not contain estrogen
  • Does not interfere with intercourse
  • Decreases menstrual bleeding and cramping
  • May reduce pain caused by endometriosis
  • May lower the risk of precancerous cells developing in the uterus
  • 20-30% of women will stop having periods
  • Fast return of fertility once the IUS has been removed




What are the disadvantages?

  • Must be inserted and removed by a trained health care professional (may be uncomfortable or painful)
  • Possible side effects include irregular bleeding or spotting in the first months after insertion
  • Perforation of the uterus may occur at the time of insertion (rare)
  • May fall out in up to 6% of women
  • Does not protect against sexually transmitted infections



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Leeds, Grenville and Lanark District Health Unit
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