Skyla IUD is a hormone-releasing form of birth control that many women choose for its convenience.
Once placed in the uterus it slowly releases hormones to prevent pregnancy for up to three years.
Unlike oral contraceptives, IUD Skyla and Mirena brands don’t require women to take a daily pill.
IUDs are more than 99 per cent effective and are said to be the most reliable form of birth control.
In fact, they’re believed to be 20 times more effective than oral contraceptives.
“A major new study shows the failure rate of birth control pills and other short-term prescription contraceptives is much higher than previously thought, based on how women actually use them in real life,” reports WebMD.
Researcher Jeffrey Peipert, MD, of Washington University in St. Louis, tells WebMD that the main reason IUDs have a lower failure rate is because of the removal of the “oops” factor.
“These methods are forgettable,” Peipert says. “You don’t have to remember to take a pill, get a shot, or put in a ring. They remove human factor in terms of human error.”
What to expect when getting an IUD
An IUD, also known as an intrauterine device, is a small generally T-shaped birth control device that is inserted into the uterus.
Skyla IUD is flexible and made of plastic. It contains levonorgestrel, a female hormone that can cause changes in your cervical mucus and uterine lining, making it harder for sperm to reach the uterus and harder for a fertilized egg to attach to the uterus.
IUD placement and timing of insertion is important. The device is usually inserted within a week of the start of a menstrual period.
In many cases, women feel pain or dizziness during IUD placement and experience minor bleeding after insertion.
If bleeding lasts longer than about 30 minutes after the insertion of a Skyla IUD, it’s best to see a doctor, as this is not normal.
Some women experience irregular periods in the first three to six months after insertion.
IUD pros and cons
- IUDs are said to be 99 per cent effective and work immediately
- Skyla IUD lasts for three years
- There is no pill to take daily. Simply get it and forget
- In some women, IUDs reduce or even eliminate bleeding during periods and the associated PMS symptoms
- It shouldn’t interfere with sex or using tampons
- It can be removed at any time, but must be done by a doctor. Don’t try to remove yourself
- IUDs do not prevent against STDs or infections
- Certain brands can cause breast tenderness and low libido in some women
- It can also cause weight gain
- Some women find their hormonal mood swings to be intense, though for some that side effect levels out after a few months or doesn’t arise at all
- Some medical insurance plans don’t cover Skyla IUD, while others may only cover certain brands. Check with your insurance provider to see what coverage is offered
Importance of IUD placement
IUDs can become dislodged and thus, ineffective. After each period, users must make sure they can still feel the removal strings.
Verywell.com advises to wash your hands then either sit or squat, and put your index or middle finger into your vagina until you touch the cervix.
“It should feel firm and somewhat rubbery, like the tip of your nose,” according to Verywell.com. “Feel for the IUD string ends that should be coming through your cervix.”
If you cannot feel the strings the IUD placement may be wrong. The device may have slipped too low in the uterus, or even out of it.
A sudden increase in menstrual flow can indicate the device has slipped out of place. See your doctor if this happens and immediately use a non-hormonal form of birth control, such as a condom, until the issue is resolved with a doctor.
Common side effects of Skyla IUD
- Like other hormonal forms of birth control, Skyla IUD can cause mood swings
- Breast tenderness or pain is common when using a Skyla IUD
- It has been known to cause vaginal itching or infection, irregular period and changes in bleeding
- Stomach pain, nausea, vomiting and bloating have been reported by Skyla IUD users
- Other common side effects include headache, depression, weight gain, acne, puffiness in face, hands, ankles or feet, as well as loss of interest in sex
Rare but serious side effects of Skyla IUD
- Tubal pregnancy is possible while on IUD. This is considered a medical emergency and symptoms include severe pain the lower stomach of side
- It’s possible for Skyla IUD to become embedded in the wall of the uterus, or to form a hole in it
- Other serious side effects include severe cramps, pain in the pelvic, pain during sex and extreme dizziness. See a doctor immediately if any of these side effects arise while using an IUD
- Heavy or continuous bleeding is another serious concern that requires immediate medical attention, as is watery vaginal discharge, foul-smelling discharge, pale skin, weakness, easy bruising or bleeding, fever, chills or other signs of infection
- Some IUDs can increase your risk of developing a serious pelvic infection, which may threaten your life or your future ability to have children
- You should not use an IUD if you have history of certain conditions, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, liver disease or past or present breast cancer. Click here to read more about conditions that may be reason to avoid using an IUD
While IUD removal can be done any time, it should only be done by a doctor.
An article on LiveStrong.com indicates that during the removal process an IUD can break and leave behind fragments in the uterus.
If this happens, it increases the risk of infection and could even cause infertility.
It can also cause pain, cramping or bleeding.
Make an appointment with your doctor to have IUD removal done.
It’s also important to remember that Skyla IUD must be removed after three years. A new device can be inserted in its place, but don’t leave an IUD in the uterus for longer than three years.