The Mirena IUD is a contraceptive device that is inserted into the uterus where it releases a tiny amount of hormone directly to stop ovulation and also has the backup safety net by causing the uterus to be an inhospitable environment for an egg to implant. The combination of these factors make it the most effective form of reversible birth control, and studies have shown that women on short-term forms of hormonal birth control are twenty times more likely to have an unplanned pregnancy than those who choose either an implant or an IUD. Also, with Mirena, your period either lightens dramatically, or in my case, completely goes away for five years. Seriously, imagine life where you have the same rate of birth control failure as someone who has been surgically sterilized and never get your period. It’s awesome, and it’s one of the most popular forms of contraception in just about every country except for the United States.
Although they have been endorsed by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, many doctors still hesitate to recommend them to patients because of lingering concerns given the perceived safety problems that first generation IUDs posed when they were introduced in the seventies. They were therefore recommended and deemed safe only for women who had already had children; a sentiment that has lingered well-past its disproval. Slowly but surely, however, studies have shown that the rate of use has doubled since 2007. While the upfront cost is expensive, around 800 dollars, over five years it works out to be cheaper than birth control pills. Though, looking back, I really hope my dad believed me when I told him I needed to put an 800 dollar charge on his credit card to planned parenthood, which was the only place that could get me in within a reasonable amount of time in my college town. Yikes, I should probably clear that one up.
So, ladies, if the concept sounds appealing to you, ask your gyno (or even student health, that’s who told me when I went for some medical problems) about it, and don’t be afraid to seek out another doctor who is more up to date on current findings. And if you feel comfortable taking your health into your own hands, Planned Parenthood isn’t actually just a low-income abortion clinic, and they are the least judgemental people on earth when it comes to a young person who is being proactive about preventing an unplanned pregnancy. They’re a legitimate health clinic like any other, except they base your cost on a sliding income scale, and you just send the bill to your insurance and they’ll reimburse you for whatever portion is covered under your policy. I won’t lie and say it isn’t painful to get, but I’d do it again. You can tell your boyfriend to thank me later.