When it comes to birth control, there are a lot of different options on the market. While birth control pills and other traditional choices remain popular, intrauterine devices (IUDs) are quickly gaining a reputation for being a convenient and effective method of birth control.

As you might guess, these devices are placed inside of the uterus. Some are non-hormonal whereas others, like the Mirena IUD, release a low level of hormones into the uterus. These hormones help thin the lining of the uterus, preventing pregnancy from occurring.

The Mirena IUD lasts for five years, meaning that once it is placed in your uterus, you don’t have to worry about birth control for another five years. This is in sharp contrast to other birth control methods such as the pill where you have to take it every day in order for it to be effective. With an IUD, once it is in place, you can essentially forget about it. This not only makes these devices more convenient but also, in many cases, more effective since you don’t have to worry about forgetting a pill.

Like any other type of birth control, the Mirena IUD does have some side effects that you should be aware of. Here are four of the most common side effects that people experience when using this device:

1. Changes in menstruation

The Mirena typically causes periods to become much lighter. In some cases, it can even stop them altogether. In fact, it is so effective at lightening periods that it has even been improved for treating menorrhagia, a condition where patients experience excessive bleeding during their periods. For anyone with heavy periods, this device can truly be a lifesaver. By reducing the amount of blood that is lost each month, it can prevent problems with anemia and can also make it easier to go about your everyday life without having to worry about leaks.

During the first six months after the device is placed, bleeding can be extremely erratic. In fact, some people experience bleeding nearly every day until their bodies have a chance to adjust. Typically, however, this bleeding is relatively light. After the initial adjustment period, most people experience lighter periods or no bleeding at all.

2. Ovarian cysts

Approximately 12% of the people who use the Mirena device will develop ovarian cysts. Typically, these cysts are small and go away on their own. In some cases, however, they can grow larger and may require surgery in order to be removed.

3. Pain or dizziness during placement

The IUD is inserted into the uterus through the cervix. For some people, this can be painful. Pressure on the cervix can also cause dizziness. In some cases, it may even lead to fainting. People who have given birth are less likely to experience these side effects. If you are concerned about pain or discomfort during placement, you can talk to your healthcare provider about whether or not you can take painkillers before your appointment. Keep in mind, as well, that the pain and dizziness will usually only last for a few minutes.

4. Expulsion

Typically, the Mirena IUD stays firmly in place inside the uterus. In some cases, however, it can be expelled from the uterus. It is important to check regularly to make sure that the Mirena is still in place. If it comes out, you will no longer be protected against pregnancy. You can check by feeling for the strings that are attached to the device.

These are four of the most common side effects experienced by people who have the Mirena IUD device. This revolutionary form of birth control is a convenient way to prevent pregnancy and can help treat heavy periods.