Risk Factors of Mirena IUD
Mirena is the brand name for an IUD which contains small amounts of synthetic progesterone hormones which are absorbed into the wall of the uterus. Most women who use Mirena have few, if any problems, and Mirena can generally safely remain in the body for up to five years. For the women who do have problems after the insertion of Mirena, some of those problems can be severe. Like any method of birth control, the Mirena IUD has certain risk factors that you will need to discuss with your doctor prior to making your decision. Mirena is generally considered appropriate for those women who have had at least one child, are in a stable, preferably mutually monogamous relationship and don't have a prior history of pelvic inflammatory disease or ectopic pregnancy.
Who Should Not Use Mirena?
The number one reason not to use Mirena IUD as your birth control choice is if you currently have a pelvic inflammatory disease, have had one in the past, or are prone to having PID. If you have any idea, no matter how small, that you may be pregnant, you should absolutely not have a Mirena IUD inserted. If you have been diagnosed with breast cancer, or have had breast cancer in the past, Mirena is not a good choice of contraceptive for you, due to the hormones which are released into the uterine lining. If you have been told by your doctor that you have a tipped uterus, or that your uterus is, in any way, abnormally shaped, then you should use a different form of birth control as Mirena might either be difficult to insert properly, or might not work correctly once inserted. If you currently have more than one sexual partner, or have a sexual partner who is not monogamous, Mirena would probably not be the right choice for you. If you are allergic to levonorgestrel, silicone or polyethylene, you should avoid Mirena, or if you have fibroids or a uterine tumor, you should also not use Mirena. Women who are prone to getting infections, or those who have certain immune-deficiency health problems, including leukemia or AIDS, should not use Mirena. Finally, those who abuse intravenous drugs should not use Mirena.
What Does the FDA Think About Mirena?
The Food and Drug Administration has done a comprehensive investigation of Mirena, and concluded it is unlikely that the Mirena IUD could contribute in any way to a woman's cancer risk. Mirena contains no drugs, compounds or hormones that are known to contribute to either the growth of already present cancerous cells or the formation of new cancerous cells. Although birth control pills have been linked to cancer risk in certain situations, the Mirena IUD contains extremely low levels of reproductive hormones due to the fact that it sits directly inside the uterus. Very small amounts of progestin can perform the same function as the higher amounts in the birth control pill. There are no suspected carcinogens in the materials Mirena is made from, therefore the FDA has assessed the risk of Mirena causing cancer as extremely low to almost non-existent. To take it a step further, the International Agency for Research on Cancer suggests that birth control containing only progestin can actually decrease the risk of endometrial cancer. In theory, Mirena could also decrease the risk of ovarian or uterine cancers, but more studies are needed before a final determination on this matter is reached.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Mirena use has been associated with an increased risk of PID, although the actual percentage of women who develop PID while using Mirena is less than 1%, and the risk is highest immediately following placement and for the first twenty days. The risk of PID increases substantially if you or your partner have or have had sex with multiple partners. If you don't treat PID quickly, you can end up with infertility, constant pelvic pain or ectopic pregnancy. The more serious cases of PID will require surgery, possibly a full hysterectomy. In rare cases PID can cause death, so if you suspect PID, you need to immediately schedule a doctor's visit. Talk openly and honestly with your health care provider before you decide to use Mirena as your choice of birth control.