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Women have a new choice for birth control. Late last year the FDA approved
the intrauterine device (IUD) Mirena. Mirena is a T-shaped plastic device
placed in the uterus by a physician that releases small amounts of the
hormone levonorgesterel to block conception. Although not the first hormonal
IUD, Mirena only needs to be replaced once every five years. The others,
in contrast, must be changed yearly. The manufacturer, Berlex Laboratories,
reports less than 1% of women become pregnant while using Mirena.
Physicians can easily remove the IUD. And once its extracted, a
woman can again become pregnant. According to Berlex, eight out of ten
women who are trying to conceive will become pregnant within the first
year after Mirena is removed.
Mirena is not for everyone, however. Women with a history of pelvic inflammatory
disease or a previous ectopic pregnancy (when the embryo grows outside
the uterus) should not use IUDs. Furthermore, they dont protect
against sexually transmitted diseases. Possible side effects include
spotting or missed periods.
June 2001 Update
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