Kyleena is a hormonal intrauterine device (IUD), a tiny, flexible T-shaped device placed inside your uterus to prevent pregnancy for five years.
- Effectiveness. It’s one of the most effective birth control methods available.
- Long lasting. Once inserted, it lasts for 5 years before it needs to be replaced.
- Convenience. No pre-sex prep or reminders.
- Cost-effective. It can be a tad pricey upfront, but there are no other costs beyond that for 5 years.
- Reversible. You can remove it any time and your fertility will return as soon as it’s removed.
- Estrogen-free. It’s safe for people who can’t use birth control containing estrogen.
- Lighter periods. It can make periods lighter or stop them entirely for some.
- It doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
- Insertion requires a visit to a healthcare professional.
- Insertion can be painful.
- The upfront cost can be expensive if you don’t have insurance. (Check out our free- and lower-cost birth control guide to learn more about your options.)
- Though rare, there are some risks.
Very effective! Kyleena is over 99 percent effective at preventing pregnancy. That means less than 1 in every 100 people using Kyleena will become pregnant.
FYI, IUDs are the most effective birth control method outside of abstinence.
Believe it or not, it’s not entirely understood exactly how the hormone in Kyleena and other hormonal IUDs prevent pregnancy.
It appears to have a few effects that together make it nearly impossible for sperm to fertilize an egg. No fertilized egg = no pregnancy.
Kyleena releases the hormone levonorgestrel into your uterus and may work to prevent pregnancy in a few different ways.
- Thicken cervical mucus to block sperm from entering your uterus
- Inhibit sperm movement to make it harder for sperm to reach and fertilize an egg
- Thin the uterine lining so an egg is less likely to attach to the uterus
If you think an IUD is right for you, you have a few options. Let’s take a look at how Kyleena compares to other IUDs.
Kyleena vs. other hormonal IUDs
|Size||28 mm x 30 mm||28 mm x 30 mm||32 mm x 32 mm||32 mm x 32 mm|
|Type||progestin hormone||progestin hormone||progestin hormone||progestin hormone|
|Effective for up to||5 years||3 years||7 years||6 years|
|Notable side effect||may cause irregular periods and bleeding||may cause changes in your period||may cause changes in your period, FDA-approved to treat heavy periods||may cause painful or irregular periods|
Kyleena vs. the copper IUD
There are some key differences between the copper IUD (Paragard) vs Kyleena. The copper IUD:
- is hormone-free
- lasts up to 10 years, (or up to 12 years according to some experts)
- is larger than Kyleena at 32 mm x 36 mm
- starts working as soon as it’s placed, regardless of when it’s inserted
- can be used as emergency contraception (EC) and is
over 99 percenteffective at preventing pregnancy if inserted within 120 hours (5 days) after unprotected sex
Sort of! While all IUDs are inserted into your uterus using the same procedure, Kyleena is smaller and has a thinner insertion tube than Mirena and Paragard.
This could make insertion less uncomfortable, especially for people who’ve not had a full-term pregnancy.
Everyone’s experience is different and so is your pain threshold, so it’s hard to predict how much discomfort you’ll feel. If you’re worried about the pain, talk with your healthcare professional. They may recommend taking an over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever beforehand or prescribe something stronger.
Tips to prepare for your appointment widget
- Gather supplies to help make things easier the rest of the day, like OTC or prescribed pain relievers, a heating pad, and some pads or panty liners.
- Wear something loose, comfortable, and easy to get off and back into.
- Take any medications as prescribed by your clinician.
- Bring a bottle of water and a snack along to help perk you up afterward.
How quickly Kyleena starts working depends on a few factors, like when you have it inserted and whether or not you were using other hormonal birth control beforehand. Let’s break it down.
Kyleena begins working right away if it’s inserted:
- during the first 7 days of your period
- immediately after you give birth
- immediately after a first or second-trimester miscarriage
- immediately after an abortion
If inserted at any other time in your cycle you’ll need to use a backup birth control method for seven days.
After insertion, you might feel dizzy and have some cramping and bleeding. These side effects should begin to subside over the next few hours. Let a healthcare professional know if your symptoms are severe or not improving before you leave your appointment.
Most people don’t have problems with Kyleena, but some side effects are possible as your body gets used to the hormone. The most common side effect of Kyleena is bleeding changes in the first 3 to 6 months.
Your bleeding may be heavier than usual at first, but will eventually become lighter. Some people stop having periods after about one year of use.
Other possible side effects of Kyleena include:
- ovarian cysts
- headache or migraine
- pelvic or abdominal pain
- breast soreness
- acne or oily skin
- painful periods
- inflammation or infection of the vulva and vagina (vulvovaginitis)
Serious risks while using Kyleena are very rare but possible. These include:
- Ectopic pregnancy. If you do become pregnant while using Kyleena, there’s a slight risk of ectopic pregnancy.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). A small number of IUD users (less than 1 percent) develop PID. Your risk is higher if you have an STI or other genital infection at the time of insertion.
- Infection. There’s a risk of serious infection or sepsis following insertion.
- Expulsion. There’s a slight risk that the Kyleena IUD — any IUD for that matter — could shift out of place. Having the IUD inserted immediately after delivery or a second-trimester abortion increases the risk.
- Perforation. During insertion, there’s a very low risk of perforation of the uterine wall or cervix. We’re talking less than 0.1 percent, based on clinical trials.
- STIs. IUDs don’t protect against STIs. A 2017 study also found that people using long-acting reversible contraception (LARC), like IUDs, were half as likely to use condoms consistently and had double the incidence of STIs.
Kyleena can be used for up to 5 years, but you can remove it any time before then. Just make an appointment with a healthcare professional to have it removed.
Removing an IUD is usually easier (Read: Less painful!) than inserting one. That said, everyone’s different and some people experience pain or bleeding, or feel dizzy or faint when they have their IUD removed.
A couple of things to keep in mind about removal:
- You can become pregnant right away once you remove Kyleena, so if that’s your plan, there’s no need to wait; you can start trying.
- If you don’t want to get pregnant, discuss your options with a healthcare professional. You may need to start another method seven days before removal to stay protected against pregnancy.
You betcha! You can have your IUD replaced with Kyleena or another IUD during the same appointment. Check out our article IUD Replacement to learn how it works and what to expect.
Contact a healthcare professional if you have concerns about your Kyleena IUD or if you want to change or stop birth control.
Consult with a healthcare professional right away if you:
- think you might be pregnant
- think that your ID has shifted out of place or come out
- can’t feel your IUD strings
- have pelvic or abdominal pain
- have pain during penetrative sex
- have unusual vaginal discharge
- have severe vaginal bleeding
- suspect you’ve been exposed to an STI
- have signs or symptoms of an STI, like genital sores
- have signs of infection, like fever, chills, or flu-like symptoms
- develop severe headaches or migraine
- develop signs of liver problems, like yellowing of the skin or whites of the eyes
- have had a stroke or heart attack
Adrienne Santos-Longhurst is a Canada-based freelance writer and author who has written extensively on all things health and lifestyle for more than a decade. When she’s not holed-up in her writing shed researching an article or off interviewing health professionals, she can be found frolicking around her beach town with husband and dogs in tow or splashing about the lake trying to master the stand-up paddle board.
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