Long Term Birth Control (IUD & Implanon)
The Mirena intrauterine device (IUD) is small, plastic device that is inserted and left inside the uterus to prevent pregnancy. A routine exam is required to review your medical history, check for pregnancy or infection, and to check the size and shape of the uterus. The IUD often is inserted during or right after your menstrual period. The doctor puts the IUD in a long, slender, plastic tube and places it into the vagina and guides it through the cervix into the uterus. The IUD is then pushed out of the plastic tube into the uterus. The IUD springs open into place, and the tube is withdrawn. Insertion of the IUD does not require anesthesia, although you may have some discomfort. Taking over-the-counter pain relief medication before the procedure may help.
Read more about Mirena Intrauterine Device (IUD) or the AMIGS office in Atlanta, Georgia at (404) 355-4885 to speak with one of our physicians or staff.
Mirena & Implanon
There are two long-term, hormonal, birth control choices: the Mirena IUD (intrauterine device) and the Implanon subdermal (under the skin) implant. The Mirena IUD is a levonorgestrel-releasing (progestin only) intrauterine system placed in the uterus to prevent pregnancy for as long as desired for up to 5 years. Mirena also treats heavy and prolonged periods and cramping. The Implanon device is a etonogestrel-releasing (progestin only) subdermal implant that is placed under the skin of the upper, inner arm to prevent pregnancy for as long as desired up to 3 years. Both methods are highly effective at protecting against pregnancy, about 99%, an advantage over the short-term methods. Both methods usually lighten periods and sometimes take them away altogether which is not harmful as long as you stay on a hormonal method prescribed by your doctor. Since both methods are progestin only methods and do not contain estrogen, the possible side effects may include nausea, bloating, breast tenderness, breast changes, mood changes, headaches, changes in vaginal discharge, bleeding in between periods, ovarian cysts, pelvic cramping, decreased sex drive, hair/skin changes, and appetite/weight changes. If pregnancy does occur, there is a higher risk of ectopic (tubal) pregnancy. The Mirena IUD and the Implanon subdermal device can be placed during a doctor’s office visit after an initial history and pelvic exam.
The only long-term, non-hormonal, birth control device is the Paraguard/Copper IUD (intrauterine device). It is the most convenient non-permanent form of birth control since is lasts for up to 10 years. It is highly effective at protecting against pregnancy, about 99%, an advantage over the short-term methods. It doesn’t have the benefits or the risks of hormonal therapy. The most common side effects are breakthrough bleeding and pelvic cramping. The paraguard IUD can be placed during a doctor’s office visit after an initial history and pelvic exam.
Natural Family Planning (NFP)
Another possible short-term or long-term, non-hormonal birth control method is called Natural Family Planning (NFP). This method has multiple different practice options, but generally they are all based on the timing of sex during a woman’s menstrual cycle. NFP is also called periodic abstinence. It is safe and low cost and can be an effective way to prevent pregnancy if the method is used correctly at all times. The success or failure of this depends on the couple’s ability to recognize the signs that ovulation (the release of the egg from the woman’s ovary) is about to occur, as well as the couple’s ability to not have sex or wear condoms during the fertile period, which is the time when the woman can get pregnant. This can be more than two weeks per month. Thus a woman must know her body well. The various methods may include testing daily temperatures, assessing daily vaginal discharge/cervical mucus, using an ovulation prediction monitor and/or keeping a menstrual diary. Sex becomes limited and a lot less spontaneous. As a result some couples find this method very hard to use. Other couples, however, find that this method improves their communication, since it takes effort on both their parts to make this method work effectively. Plus NFP doesn’t have the potential side effects of hormonal contraception. Even with perfect use, a woman has a risk of pregnancy. Statistics show on average 25% of women who use this method become pregnant. NFP does not protect against STDs nor have the potential benefits of hormonal therapy. This method is not advisable in women who should not get pregnant for medical reasons or who have irregular periods and cannot predict when they are regularly ovulating.
Learn more about all Birth Control Methods.