Bayer, the manufacturer of the Mirena IUD, has received approval from U.S. regulators to market Skyla, another intrauterine form of birth control.
Skyla differs from Mirena in a few ways. Unlike its forerunner, Skyla is smaller in size and is marketed toward young women who have not had kids. The new device is said to protect from pregnancy for up to three years, while Mirena does so for five. Skyla also releases a slightly lower dose of progestin when compared to Mirena. Progestin is a hormone that thickens the cervical mucus, making it more difficult for sperm to reach the egg.
Progestin-based IUDs have been shown to carry with them numerous side effects. Mirena users have reported ectopic pregnancy, pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and permanent fertility loss as a result of the device. Other side effects include the risk of uterine perforation and migration of the device into other parts of a woman’s body. These health risks often necessitate surgery and can result in a long list of painful and debilitating complications, including intestinal obstruction, abscesses, and the erosion of viscera near the uterus.
Consumers and healthcare professionals are keeping a watchful eye on the debut of Skyla. It is not yet known if the problems that accompany Mirena will also arise with Skyla.