Skyla vs Mirena: Birth Control Devices

Birth control is one of the necessities in the lives of sexually active women who want to avoid pregnancies for various reasons. There are numerous birth control methods that are used by both men and women. Some of these are long-lasting and some are not. One of the methods that is used by women is the intrauterine device. An IUD is a device that is placed in the uterus of a woman and works as an effective birth control method. IUDs are not widely used in comparison to the other birth control methods but they are for sure one of the most effective ones. There are numerous brands that produce IUDs, which are approved by the US Food and Drug Administration. Two of the most famous IUDs are Skyla and Mirena.

Most women can get confused easily while choosing the right IUD. In order to help you pick the birth control device that suits you, we have made an effective comparison of Mirena and Skyla.

What are Skyla and Mirena?

Skyla and Mirena are intrauterine devices that are one of the most efficient birth control options for women. The IUDs are T-shaped devices that are made of plastic and are placed in the uterus for the required period of time. These devices can be easily removed if the woman wants to get pregnant. Both Skyla and Mirena release a hormone called levonorgestrel that works in the following three ways:

  • It reduces the frequency of ovulation.
  • It does not allow the sperm to bind to the egg and attach itself to the uterus.
  • It thickens the cervical mucus which means that the sperms cannot pass into the uterus.

Side effects of Skyla and Mirena

Both Skyla and Mirena are effective in preventing pregnancies. However, they come with some side effects that are usually of low-risk nature, and all can be easily treated. There are a few precautions that have to be taken when using this device so that you do not experience any adverse effects. Here are some common adverse effects of Mirena and Skyla:

  • Acne;
  • Breast tenderness;
  • Headache;
  • Depression or mood swings;
  • Pain in the pelvic area;
  • Abnormal bleeding;
  • Missed periods;
  • Hair loss;
  • Itching or skin rashes;
  • Puffiness and water retention;
  • Vomiting;
  • Nervousness;
  • Ovarian cyst;
  • Dry skin;
  • Vaginal discharge;
  • Genital infection.

It is important to note that some of these side effects are completely normal and will go away as soon as your body adapts to the device. One thing that the user needs to make sure of is that the device is fixed in the uterus by a practiced and knowledgeable gynecologist. If they fall out or shift, they can increase the chance of pregnancy. Additionally, if they get shifted from their place, they might damage the uterus. Another thing that is important to note is that IUDs do not help to avoid sexually transmitted diseases. Hence, this is not the best birth control option for people with multiple sex partners.

Differences between Skyla and Mirena

Even though Skyla and Mirena are similar in their functioning they differ in many ways. Not all women find one or the other suitable for them and so we have made a list of comparisons that will help you in picking the right IUD for yourself.

  • Time period of effectiveness: Mirena is effective for five years from the time of implantation whereas Skyla can only be used for three years. They can be removed at any time from the body if the woman wants to get pregnant.
  • How they work: Mirena IUD contains 52mg of Levonorgestrel that is released at the dose of 20mcg every day initially and then the rate decreases to 10mcg per day. Skyla has of 13.5mg of the same hormone, and 14mcg of it are released at the beginning, but the dose goes down to 5mcg in the later stages.
  • Drug interaction: Since the dosage of Skyla is lower, it does not interact with any known drug. However, Mirena can interact with insulin, steroids and blood thinners, so these drugs should be taken with precautions.
  • Purpose: Skyla is only used as a birth control device whereas Mirena is also used to treat abnormal bleeding and other women-specific problems.
  • Cost: The cost of Mirena is higher than that of Skyla. The difference in price between the two devices can reach almost $200. However, taking into account Mirena's longer period of effectiveness, this price gap is acceptable.
  • Requirements: Mirena should only be used by the women who have had at least one child. However, this is not the case with Skyla, and you can take it at any time because of its smaller size.
  • Breastfeeding and pregnancy: Mirena is contraindicated to breastfeeding women, since it has a higher dosage of progestins, they get passed into the milk and might harm the baby. Skyla does not impose such a risk but taking permission from the doctor is still necessary. An IUD can be really harmful to a pregnant woman and should be removed immediately in case of pregnancy.


Both Skyla and Mirena are very effective birth control devices. However, as we can see, both of them have their own features. If you want an IUD that lasts longer and gives you more protection, Mirena is much more preferable since it lasts for five years. However, if you want a birth control device that can be used even if you have never gave birth before, Skyla is your choice. Additionally, for the women who take extra medications, Skyla is a better choice. Both of them do their work effectively, however it is important to consider all pros and cons to see which of the discussed devices will be good for you. Your gynecologist will do an examination of your health and will recommend you the correct device.