Most women have had to discuss birth control and the options they have at some point in their lives. Generally, the main ones people know about are the pill, condoms, sometimes the Nuvaring or the patch, and because of all the drama that has surrounded it, the Mirena IUD.
There are more options than those, but they’re not often well-known by a lot of people, and some people are literally shocked at the options there are available to them. But when it comes to IUDs, we think of Mirena, which is hormonal, and Paragard, which is copper-based.
Well, Mirena can move over, because there’s a new hormone-based intrauterine lady entering the market, and her name is Kyleena! Yes, there’s a new IUD, and many women may not have even heard of it yet. I didn’t even know there were hormonal IUD options aside from Mirena… have you heard of Liletta or Skyla? I hadn’t either.
There can never be too many options for women who do not want to get pregnant. Kyleena is the first of it’s kind, it's meant to offer 5 years of long-lasting protection to women who have never been pregnant.
Unlike Liletta and Skyla, Mirena is not for women who have not been pregnant. Kyleena is part of a surge of new IUD offerings in recent years: Skyla came to the market in 2013 and was the first FDA approved IUD in 12 years, and then Liletta was approved in 2015. The more options out there, the better, right?
But, what exactly is Kyleena? What risks are there? How good is it as birth control? Well, we hope to answer some of those questions right here.
15 What Is Kyleena?
To start out, let’s answer what’s been on many people’s minds. What exactly is it? Kyleena is an IUD, but that was something that can be gotten from the title. IUD, for those who do not know, stands for intrauterine device, and it is a flexible T-shaped device that rests inside the uterus after being placed by a doctor.
Placement is mildly uncomfortable, but it has a lot of benefits, such as making it so that the woman does not have to remember to take or insert birth control.
After insertion, about 4 to 6 weeks later, the patient must return to the doctor’s office to make sure that it is still in the right position, and has not shifted. Once that is verified, then the woman is good to go. A doctor is the only person who can tell if the device has shifted or moved, and can make sure that the patient is properly protected against unwanted pregnancy.
14 When Was It Approved?
Pretty recently, in fact! It was approved by the FDA on September 19, 2016. But that doesn’t mean anyone can just run out to the doctor and get one inserted right away. Bayer, the manufacturer of the IUD, announced on the 19th of September that the device had just been approved.
Until this point, there were only four IUDs on the market. The main two that everyone knows about are Paragard, a copper based IUD, and Mirena, a hormonal based IUD. Two lesser known IUDs that are out there are Liletta and Skyla, which are both hormonal based IUDs.
Liletta and Skyla last for 3 years each, while Mirena lasts for 5 years, and Paragard lasts for 10 years. Having another option out there is a great thing for women who are looking into their birth control options. There are so many options for the birth control pill, there are options for the shot, and there are even options for ring-shaped devices that sit in the vaginal cavity. It’s about time that more options for the IUD market became available.
13 Is It Hormonal Or Copper Based?
Kyleena is hormonal-based, just like the Mirena, Skyla, and Liletta IUDs. Unlike the other 3 IUDs though, Kyleena releases the smallest amount of hormones, which can be a big plus for those who could not use IUDs because the amount of hormones messed with their system negatively. Hormonal based IUDs work like the pill does, where the copper based IUDs instead make a toxic environment for sperm, since copper is toxic to sperm.
For many women, hormonal options are just not right for them, and that is ok. There are other options out there for them! (Note my previous comments on Paragard, if an IUD is what is what you are currently looking for, but hormone options are a no-go for you.)
But for other women, hormonal birth control does so much more than just prevent pregnancy. It can lessen period intensity, and help with other problems as well. Speak to a doctor to determine what your needs are when choosing a birth control.
12 How Many Hormones Are In The Device?
It’s a lot less than the other options, that’s for sure! When inserted, Kyleena has only 19.5 mg levonorgestrel. This about 37% of the levonorgestrel in the Mirena IUD, for comparison. After the first 24 days post insertion, Kyleena 17.5 mcg per day, then goes down to 9.5 mcg after a year, and after the 5 years, that drops dramatically to 7.5 mcg, which is why it’s so important to get Kyleena removed or replaced after 5 years.
If the device still releases hormones, why get it replaced? Simple. It does not release enough at that point to effectively do it’s job, so therefore, the only true way to prevent pregnancy is to have it replaced. While that slight drop in the hormone amount released doesn’t seem like a big deal, it actually is.
Just go to the doctor when the 5 years are up, or close to it, and get them to replace the device. It’s honestly that simple, and can be removed whenever it’s time to begin thinking about having kids.
11 How Does It Work Exactly?
Like other hormonal IUDs, this device blocks sperm from joining with an egg, thus preventing pregnancy. It does this in a plethora of ways, including:-The hormone in the IUD keeps the ovaries from releasing eggs-The IUD thickens mucus in the cervix, which keeps sperm from reaching the uterus and traveling to an ovary to reach the egg.-The IUD also affects the sperm’s ability to move towards the egg
Pretty simple, right? And if the woman has already been on hormonal birth control, than a couple of those should be familiar, because it’s the same things that the pill does as well. After insertion, the IUD takes around 7 days to begin working, so women who get it need to use back up birth control for that first week.
Some doctors recommend waiting until after the follow up to drop the back up birth control, simply because that way, the woman will know if the device has failed or not.
10 How Long Does It Last?
Unlike birth control pills, which you have to take daily, Kyleena is good for about 5 years, which is when the amount of hormones in the device drops to a level that makes pregnancy possible again. If pregnancy is not in the future plans, then Kyleena needs to be removed after the 5th year, and replaced, or another birth control method needs to be used after removal.
It can be replaced with a new Kyleena device if continued contraceptive protection is wanted.
Kyleena, due to how it needs to be inserted and all that jazz, does need a prescription and a doctor’s visit to get, so unfortunately, it’s not something like condoms where all it takes is a quick trip to the pharmacy.
However, once it’s in, it’s in for the 5 years, unless something happens and it comes loose, which most of the time will happen before that follow up visit and will be easily spotted by the doctor.
9 How Effective Is It?
Very effective. It’s over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy, and this was proven by clinical trials with over 1,450 women. 22% of the women quit the trial early due to adverse reactions, which is pretty normal because not every medication works for everyone, and that statistic is comparable to other IUD options as well.
That being said, fewer than 1% of the testers got pregnant, which is proof that the device does it’s job.
Where does that leave it compared to other methods? Well, it depends, because with perfect use, yes many birth control methods have efficiency rates in the 95% and up range, that’s not the typical use. With typical use, the hormonal patch has a 92% efficiency rate, as does the pill, and the Nuvaring. Diaphragms and spermicides are 84% effective with typical use, and the male condom is 85% effective.
In comparison, the Kyleena is up there with the other methods that have no real ‘typical’ use stat, because it’s error-proof (more on being error-proof later though): it stays in the 99% range.
8 Can People Who Have Not Had Kids Get It?
A long time ago, doctors would not let women who had not had children get an IUD, for various reasons. Thankfully, we’ve caught up with the times now. Yes, women with no children can get the Kyleena IUD, as well as other IUDs as well.
It’s a non-surgical method of preventing pregnancy long-term, so it’s a better option than, say, surgery or anything with a long recovery time for a busy woman who has to get back to their daily routine quickly.
There are some doctors who will still not write a prescription for a women who has not had children an IUD, but if that happens, keep searching, because for every doctor that won’t, there’s at least 1 that will. More and more doctors are recognizing that this is a woman’s choice as to if they want kids or not, so they aren’t interfering nearly as much as they used to.
Talk to the doctor, they’re usually more than willing to help.
7 Are There Risks?
With just about any medication or birth control, there are risks. The most common complaints of adverse reactions were increased bleeding, pelvic pain, device expulsion, acne, and painful periods. A smaller amount of participants experienced other more serious reactions, such as miscarriage, depression, uterine perforation, and ectopic pregnancy, which can result in maternal death.
There are other risks as well, which are available to be checked out on the Kyleena website, and other websites as well.
That being said, that’s actually on par with the other IUDs on the market, so that’s not as bad as it seems. And the risks of those things happening is actually pretty small, most women get these IUDs with no problems, whatsoever. It’s just something to discuss with the doctor when it comes to getting this IUD.
Keep in mind that doctors will ask about factors that will increase the risks associated with Kyleena. Be honest with them, because they’re asking so that these risks have a smaller chance of occurring.
6 It’s Error-Proof
Yes! It is, I promise! There’s no pill to remember, and no condom to remember to put on, so there is no chance of human error, thus making it error proof. Remember above where we were discussing the efficiency rate of birth control, and I mentioned typical and perfect use? The difference between perfect and typical use is human error.
Sometimes, we forget to take a pill, or the condom is put on wrong. That’s a normal human error, and yes it happens. But with Kyleena, there’s no risk of human error, because the device is inserted by a doctor, and as long as things go as planned, does not move.
Now, error proof does not mean that the device cannot slip out for whatever reason. This has happened with other IUDs and I’m sure it will happen with this one as well. Some women just can’t hold IUDs in their uterus, their bodies will expel it, or heck the thing may just fall out. It does happen.
5 Does It Protect Against Diseases?
Just like the pill, Nuvaring, patch, shot, and all other hormonal birth control methods, it does not protect against any STI’s. Hormonal birth control methods do not protect against STI’s because they do not prevent skin to skin contact.
To protect against STI’s, a barrier method of birth control has to be used, mainly the male or female condom, preferably the male condom because those are a bit more effective, at both protecting against STI’s and pregnancy.
Unfortunately, there is no 100% efficient way to protect against STI’s, but if the intercourse being had is not with someone who is clean, then it’s time to break out a barrier method, and insist they wear it, whether they like to or not. Sorry guys, we know that sometimes condoms lessen how good it feels, or so we’re told, but we prefer safety and less STI risk versus enhanced stimulation. Hope you understand!
4 Can Pregnancy Still Happen?
It’s rare, but it does happen. And it does come with risks. There’s the increased risk of miscarriage, for one, and even though you may end up with a beautiful rainbow baby, that is a sadness I would not wish on any woman. There is also the risk of ectopic pregnancy, which is where the egg implants into the fallopian tube. It can lead to loss of fertility, pregnancy loss, septic abortion, premature labor, and death.
If there’s even a shadow of a doubt that a pregnancy has occurred, then go to the doctor, and see if they can check!
Keep in mind, the pregnancy risk for the Kyleena is less than 1%, so that’s pretty good proof that most people who do get the Kyleena, will not end up having a pregnancy or a serious pregnancy problem. But there is always the risk it can happen, and the best way to keep a person safe is to keep them knowledgeable. It’s always best to know what’s going on and what can happen.
3 Does It Mess With Periods?
It can, and it likely will, at least for a short time. During the first 3-6 months after Kyleena is inserted, periods can end up being all over the place. Expect irregularity, longer periods (fun times, right), spotting, and even heavier bleeding. Yes, really. It can suck for a while.
But, once the body gets accustomed and used to the device, periods can actually get shorter, with less spotting! It’s just like the Mirena in that regard, which is awesome! Some people’s periods may even disappear altogether!
While it does mess with periods, this isn't news to most women. Most IUDs can and will mess with periods when they’re initially inserted, so like many of the other side effects, this is par for the course. Speak to the doctor to determine if Kyleena will have a higher chance of messing with periods and whatnot due to risk factors that are beyond their control (or yours).
2 Is It For Everyone?
No. Just like any other medication, Kyleena is not for everyone. Anyone who has had acute pelvic inflammatory disease or a history of it, unless they have had a successful pregnancy, should not get Kyleena. Anyone who had postpartum endometriosis or had an infected abortion in the last 3 months should not get Kyleena.
Anyone who has had breast cancer or has suspected breast cancer, or other progestin-sensitive cancer should not get Kyleena. Same thing with liver disease or liver tumor should not get Kyleena.
There is a whole list of people who should not get Kyleena, and it’s on the Kyleena website. And this is pretty normal, because there’s always people who cannot take or have certain medications. Always, and I always stress this for good reason, but always be sure to talk with the doctor to find out if there are any issues that would make Kyleena an unfit birth control choice.
1 When Will It Be Available?
This month!! That’s right, Kyleena is available this October 2016! That being said, some doctors may take longer to to get a hold of Kyleena for their patients, so make sure to ask. This also leaves more time to ask about Kyleena and find out if it’s the right choice. And sometimes, it gives us the chance to save up the money to get the IUD.
Pricing has yet to be released for Kyleena, but the medical exam and insertion alone can cost upwards of $500 to $900 according to Planned Parenthood. That having been said, insurance may cover it, so check with them to find out what they’ll cover.
Kyleena may be the right choice if lower hormone dosages are what’s needed. IUDs aren’t for everyone, but with this lower dose option, I can see the market growing even more and revolutionizing more so than it has thus far, and that’s saying something!