Everything You Need to Know About Kyleena IUD

Kyleena IUD
Kyleena IUD. Photo © Dawn Stacey

Kyleena is an intrauterine device (IUD). It is manufactured by Bayer, so is part of the same family of IUDs as Mirena and Skyla. The Kyleena IUD consists of a soft, flexible polyethylene (plastic) frame in the shape of a T. Kyleena must be inserted by a qualified health-care professional.

As a way to prevent pregnant, this IUD slowly releases the progestin, levonorgestrel, into the uterus over a period of 5 years.

The Kyleena IUD contains 19.5 mg of levonorgestrel. It releases 17.5 mcg of this hormone per day. After one year, this rate slowly declines to 9.8 mcg daily, and then to 7.4 mcg per day. It is FDA-approved for use in women who have or have not give birth.

If you're thinking about using Kyleena, understanding the facts may help you make a more confident decision. It's normal to wonder about some of the questions below.

How the Kyleena IUD Works

The Kyleena IUD helps to prevent pregnancy by getting in the way of sperm. This makes it hard for the sperm to fertilize an egg. So, basically, Kyleena hinders the movement of sperm. The Kyleena IUD also has progestin—this hormone causes your cervical mucus to thicken, thins the lining of your uterus, and lowers the survival of the sperm. Kyleena may work to prevent pregnancy in ways that the pill does, too.

When Should I Get Kyleena?

You should have your Kyleena IUD inserted some time during the first seven days of your menstrual cycle or immediately after a first-trimester abortion.

If Kyleena is inserted during this time frame, it is immediately effective, so you will not need to use any back-up contraception.

If you have your Kyleena IUD inserted at any other time during your monthly cycle, you will need to use another contraceptive method (such as spermicide or condoms) during the first week after having Kyleena inserted.

Pregnancy protection will begin after seven days (one week).

You should wait a minimum of six weeks to have Kyleena inserted after giving birth or undergoing a second-trimester abortion. This allows your uterus to fully heal before having Kyleena inserted.

Kyleena, Skyla, or Mirena?

The Kyleena IUD works the same way as both Mirena and Skyla. There are some differences between these three hormone-releasing IUDs. All three of these IUDs are highly effective birth control methods. They are inserted into your uterus and can be removed at any time. Your fertility should quickly return once any of these IUDs are removed. So, let's compare...

Kyleena

Mirena

Skyla

Contains 19.5 mg of the progestin, levonorgestrel; releases about 17.5 mcg per day.

Contains 52 mg of the progestin, levonorgestrel; releases around 20 mcg daily. 

Contains 13.5 mg of the progestin, levonorgestrel; releases about 14 mcg each day.

Measures 28 mm horizontally and 30 mm vertically.

Measures 32 mm horizontally and 32 mm vertically.

Measures 28 mm horizontally and 30 mm vertically.

Tube used to insert Kyleena is 3.8 mm in diameter.

Tube used to insert Mirena is 4.4 mm in diameter.

Tube used to insert Skyla is 3.8 mm in diameter.

Can be used for up to 5 years.

Can be used for up to 5 years.

Can be used for up to 3 years.

Over 99% effective.

99.8% effective.

99.1% effective.

Labeling states that: Kyleena can be used whether or not a woman has had a child.

Labeling states that: Mirena is recommended for women who have had at least one child.

Labeling states that: Skyla can be used whether or not a woman has had a child.

Twelve percent chance of being period-free after 1 year.

Twenty percent chance of being period-free after 1 year.

Six percent chance of being period-free after 1 year.

Can cause periods to be lighter and shorter.

Can cause periods to be lighter. Due to the higher progestin level, this IUD is also FDA-approved to help treat heavy and painful periods.

Can cause periods to be shorter and lighter.

Advantages of Kyleena IUD

  • Kyleena provides continuous pregnancy prevention for up to 5 years.
  • It is hassle-free—once inserted, you don’t really have anything else to do.
  • The Kyleena IUD is smaller in size and has a slimmer insertion tube than Mirena. This may make the insertion process less painful than a Mirena or ParaGard IUD insertion.
  • Kyleena can be removed anytime within its 5-year period.
  • It is completely reversible, and your fertility rapidly returns—you can become pregnant as soon as Kyleena is removed. About 7 out of 10 women (who want to become pregnant) will become pregnant sometime within 12 months after Kyleena is removed.
  • The Kyleena IUD is FDA-approved for women who have or who never have had children.
  • Kyleena is a good alternative if you cannot use estrogen-based birth control.
  • If you have a smaller uterus (such as young teens and perimenopausal women), Kyleena may be better tolerated than other IUDs.
  • Neither you nor your partner should be able to feel Kyleena during sex.
  • Kylenna is an eco-friendly birth control method.
  • It can be used if you are breastfeeding.
  • Kyleena may be a good IUD option if you have only had cesarean deliveries.

Disadvantages of Kyleena

Most women do not have any problems adjusting to an IUD. But you may experience some pain, bleeding, or dizziness during and/or after your Kyleena IUD has been inserted. If these symptoms do not stop within thirty minutes after insertion, there could be the possibility that your Kyleena IUD was not inserted correctly. Make sure to speak to your doctor about any side effects you're experiencing.

Some women have bad cramping or backache for several days or weeks after their Kyleena IUD is inserted.

Kyleena IUD Side Effects

You may experience side effects after having your Kyleena IUD inserted. Most of the time, these will go away after the first few weeks to months. The most commonly reported Kyleena IUD side effects include:

  • Inflammation or infection of the outer part of your vagina (vulvovaginitis)
  • Ovarian cysts have been diagnosed in about 22 percent of Kyleena users. In most cases, these disappear on their own within 1-2 months
  • Increased bleeding
  • Stomach and/or pelvic pain
  • Acne or seborrhea (greasy skin)
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Dysmenorrhea or uterine spasms
  • Breast pain or discomfort

Kyleena May Cause Changes to Your Period

  • During the first 3-6 months after insertion of your Kyleena IUD: you may have a higher chance of experiencing bleeding and spotting. Your period may become irregular, and/or your periods may be heavier or longer than usual.
  • Although breakthrough bleeding and spotting will most likely decrease within the first 3 months after insertion, your periods may continue to be irregular. 
  • Over time, your periods will likely become shorter and lighter. Because the progestin in Kyleena thins your uterine lining, bleeding may decrease the longer your Kyleena IUD has be in place. Your periods may stop altogether (about 12 percent of women stop having periods after using Kyleena for one year).

Risks and Complications of the Kyleena IUD

Serious complications with Kyleena are very rare. Make sure to tell your doctor right away if any problems occur. Some more serious side effects include:

  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Sepsis (severe, life-threatening infection)
  • Perforation or expulsion

Some side effects may be similar to other IUD as well.

Who Should Get Kyleena?

The Kyleena IUD has been specifically researched with nulliparous women (the fancy medical term for women who have never given birth)—so, the FDA has approved Kyleena to be used by women in this population. Kyleena's product labeling states that this IUD can be used whether or not you have given birth to a child. But IUDs are not recommended for all women, so make sure you meet the criteria of being a good candidate and talk to your doctor about any potential risks.

Removal of Your Kyleena IUD

  • You must have your Kyleena IUD removed after your 5 years are up (it won't disappear or dissolve into your body). You can choose to have another Kyleena IUD inserted during the same visit.
  • If you want to switch to a new birth control method (and have continuous pregnancy protection) after stopping Kyleena, schedule your IUD removal to take place during the first 7 days of your period and immediately start your new method. If you have your Kyleena removed at any other time during your menstrual cycle, begin your new contraceptive method at least 7 days prior to having your Kyleena removed.
  • KEEP IN MIND: if you have had sex (without using a male condom, female condom, spermicide, or the sponge) within 5 days before having your Kyleena removed, you may be at risk for getting pregnant after your IUD is removed.
  • You should NEVER try to remove Kyleena by yourself (after all, this is why we have doctors!). There is a small chance that your Kyleena IUD may come out on its own—but, more likely, you will need to schedule an appointment to have it taken out.
  • You can also have your Kyleena IUD removed at anytime before the 5-year period ends.
  • If your Kyleena IUD comes out on its own, there is a good possibility that you won't even notice. This is why it is important to feel for the strings—since this is the only way for you to know that your Kyleena is still in place. If your Kyleena has come out, call your doctor. Your doctor will most likely perform a pregnancy test (to make sure that you are not pregnant) before inserting a new Kyleena IUD.
  • If your Kyleena IUD has become partially expelled, contact your doctor right away (and use a back up method of contraception). Do not try to pull the rest of it out by yourself.

Kyleena IUD Costs

Kyleena has a higher upfront cost than other birth control methods. The cost of the exam, the Kyleena IUD, insertion, and follow up visits can cost around $500-$900. Medicaid may possibly cover these costs. You can also check with your health insurance policy since coverage for Kyleena should be covered with no out-of-pocket costs for all non-grandfathered insurance plans.

Kyleena Effectiveness

The Kyleena IUD is super effective. This reversible, long-acting contraceptive method is over 99 percent effective. This means that out of every 100 women who use the Kyleena IUD in one year, less than 1 will become pregnant with typical use as well as with perfect use.

Some Helpful Tips: When using the Kyleena IUD, most pregnancies happen because your Kyleena has come out, and you most likely did not realize that this has happened. Even though the chance of pregnancy while using Kyleena is very low, it could happen. If you become pregnant when your Kyleena IUD is still in place, try to contact your doctor as soon as you realize that you're pregnant—since there can be possible risks associated with this type of pregnancy.

STD Protection

The Kyleena IUD offers no protection against sexually transmitted infections. You may be more likely to get pelvic inflammatory disease after your Kyleena insertion if you have a STD during this time. You may be more at risk if you have multiple sexual partners or a sexual partner who has have multiple sexual partners.

A Word From Verywell

Kyleena and other IUDs can offer a safe birth control method if you're a good candidate. Remember that there are multiple birth control options available so you can choose one that's right for you. The options can undoubtedly be overwhelming, especially when the details about how each works are fuzzy. Once you do your research and speak with your doctor, you can more confidently choose one.

Sources:

Gemzell-Danielsson K, Apter D, Hauck B, et al. "The effect of age, parity and body mass index on the efficacy, safety, placement and user satisfaction associated with Two low-dose Levonorgestrel intrauterine contraceptive systems: Subgroup analyses of data from a phase III trial." PLOS ONE. 2015;10(9):e0135309.

Nanda K, Callahan R, Dorflinger L. "Addressing gaps in the contraceptive method mix: Methods in development." Women’s Health. 2015;11(6):729–735.

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