Since the 1960s, many forms of birth control have been developed. Today women use birth control pills and intrauterine devices (IUDs), and newer devices like the NuvaRing,1 made by Merck. Companies are constantly attempting to improve on the standard methods. The Mirena IUD2 and Yaz3 birth control pills are popular; however, with any drug or medical device, there are clear benefits and side effects.
Mirena IUD, Yaz birth control, and NuvaRing
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Bayer's Mirena IUD, a plastic T-shaped device with added hormones, as a birth control method4 in 2000. Inserted into the uterus, the Mirena device affects how sperm travel into the cervix and uterus, and blocks how eggs leave the ovaries.
Yaz birth control pills are possibly the most popular birth control method in the United States.5 Created by Berlex Labs and bought by Bayer in 2006, Yaz birth control pills stop a woman from producing eggs, affect how sperm can travel through the cervix to the womb, and change the lining of the womb.6 These changes make it less likely for a fertilized egg to grow.
The NuvaRing can be described as a merger of an IUD, a diaphragm, and the birth control pill. Approved by the FDA in late 2001, the NuvaRing is a plastic circular ring that contains two hormones.7 It prevents ovaries from producing eggs and blocks sperm migration.
Similarities between Mirena IUD, Yaz, and NuvaRing
Modern birth control methods have many similarities. The Mirena IUD, Yaz birth control pills, and NuvaRing:
- Use female hormones to help prevent pregnancy
- Prevent the creation of eggs by the ovaries
- Blocks sperm migration through the cervix
- Have been available to the American public for more than a decade
- Are reported to be 99 percent effective in preventing pregnancy
- Have side effects such as abnormal bleeding or spotting and headache
When comparing any birth control method, women can consider many factors, including convenience, benefits, and cost. Also, while birth control methods have positive benefits, there are also risks for side effects and serious medical complications.
Mirena IUD versus Yaz
When comparing the Mirena IUD with Yaz and other birth control pills, women may wonder whether an IUD is a better choice. While 99.9 percent effective, Yaz, like other birth control pills, must be taken daily and is generally effective when doses are not missed. The Mirena IUD, once implanted, remains effective as long as it is properly in place. The Mirena IUD can be used and remain effective for up to five years.
The Mirena IUD costs about $500 to $1,000 for a onetime implantation.8 In some cases, implantation can last up to 12 years. On the other hand, birth control pills range in price from $4 to $50 for a monthly prescription.9In the short term, the birth control pill is cheaper.
The health risks and side effects between the Mirena IUD and Yaz birth control pills differ slightly. Some women using the Mirena IUD have reported side effects of abdominal pain, headache, nausea, dizziness, abnormal bleeding, perforation, and weight increase.10 Women using Yaz and other types of birth control pills can experience nausea, dizziness, pain, cardiac and circulatory issues, swelling, and depression.11
Mirena IUD versus NuvaRIng
Many women may not see much of a difference between the T-shaped IUD and the circular vaginal ring, but there are distinctions. Women using the NuvaRing claim it's easy to insert, easier to remember to use than the pill, and less invasive than an IUD. One ring lasts for a one-month cycle. However, an IUD can be implanted and remain in place for years and requires only monitoring.
Depending on insurance, the NuvaRing may be available at a reduced cost. For those without insurance, the NuvaRing may cost up to $80 per month.12 The Mirena IUD's onetime cost makes it less costly when compared with the NuvaRing's annual costs.
The risks and side effects between the Mirena IUD and the NuvaRing are different. The NuvaRing has been linked to chest pain, skin changes, breast pain, vaginal discharge, depression, and headache.13 The Mirena IUD has some similar side effects, but it is not associated with cardiac conditions.
Women have used birth control methods for centuries. Choosing the right method depends on a woman’s lifestyle, general health, and long-term and short-term plans for pregnancy.