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Health Matters Fact Sheets

Is the Hormonal IUD Right for You?

(Updated July 2013)

The intrauterine device (IUD) is a form of birth control. It is shaped like a tiny “T” and made of soft but strong plastic. Your health care provider places it in your uterus (womb) to keep you from getting pregnant.

Getting the IUD is quick and simple. It can be done in an office or clinic. As the IUD goes in, you may feel cramping or pinching.


There are 2 types of hormonal IUD — Mirena and Skyla. Here are some facts to help you decide if this form of birth control is right for you.

The hormonal IUD contains progestin. This hormone is found in many birth control pills.

The hormonal IUD works very well — and for a long time

  • Less than 1 out of 100 women get pregnant while using it. It works just as well as having your tubes tied. But your health care provider can remove it at any time.
  • The hormonal IUD takes about 7 days to start working. So use a condom for the first week.
  • Mirena works for up to 5 years. Skyla works for up to 3 years.

The hormonal IUD can change your period

The hormonal IUD can increase cramps. This is most common for the first 3 to 6 months. It can make your period lighter or even go away. It can also make your period irregular.

The hormonal IUD won’t get in your way

There will be some thin threads inside your vagina. These threads won’t get urine on them. They won’t get in the way of having sex or wearing a tampon.

The hormonal IUD needs little care

  • The hormonal IUD is easy to use. You won’t need to think about birth control each day or each time you have sex.
  • Check your vagina once a month to make sure the threads are still in place. In rare cases, the IUD can slip out of place. This is more likely to happen if you’ve never had a baby.
  • Use a condom to protect yourself from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

To learn more about the hormonal IUD

Ask your health care provider if the hormonal IUD is right for you. To compare it to other forms of birth control, go to

This fact sheet was made possible by an educational grant from Teva Pharmaceuticals.