The Skyla IUD is a flexible, hormone-releasing form of birth control that works to prevent pregnancies for up to three years. This intrauterine device, small and shaped like the letter “T,” is inserted into the uterus. Then it releases levonorgestrel into the body, changing the cervical mucus and uterine lining to make it more challenging for sperm to reach the uterus.
That makes it virtually impossible for sperm to make it to an egg to fertilize it. Even if that should happen, the change in the lining makes it more challenging for the egg to attach to the uterus to begin a pregnancy.
When the Skyla IUD is place is an essential part of the birth control process. It should be inserted within a week of your regular menstrual cycle.
If you’re thinking about an intrauterine device for your birth control needs, then here are the Skyla IUD pros and cons to review with your doctor.
List of the Pros of the Skyla IUD
1. The Skyla IUD is usable by almost any woman for effective birth control.
Any woman of childbearing age, including teens, can use an intrauterine device as their preferred method of birth control. It is intended for use by women who have not yet had children. This flexible product, made of plastic, removes the need to take a pill every day. Once inserted, you can go about your day without worrying about being in the correct schedule.
2. It is useful for women who are sensitive to other hormones.
Birth control pills usually provide women with progesterone or estrogen to help prevent unintended pregnancies. Some options offer a combination of the two. Some women are sensitive to these hormones, making them difficult to take. Levonorgestrel is the hormone used as an emergency contraceptive that is a progestin hormone, but its release point creates fewer side effects for most women.
3. The Skyla IUD is a long-term form of birth control.
When you choose the Skyla IUD, you’re receiving a long-term form of birth control. Most women experience up to 3 years of protection when selecting this option. Although that is 50% of the time that other IUD devices offer, and copper IUDs may provide up to 12 years of protection, the cost profile is better. Most women can have the device implanted for less than $900, with pricing as low as $650 before insurance coverages kick in.
4. Women experience fewer cramps with the Skyla IUD.
Like other IUDs, Skyla works to decrease period cramps and pain for most women. It comes with a smaller frame and a narrower placement tube, which makes it more comfortable when compared to the larger products available today. About 1 in 17 women report having a cessation of their menstrual cycle when taking this product. Most women say that their monthly period is shorter, lighter, and less painful after using the Skyla IUD compared to other birth control options.
5. The Skyla IUD is based on proven technologies.
About 40% of women who work in the healthcare industry choose an IUD as their primary birth control option. Skyla offers several benefits in addition to pregnancy prevention, including a faster recovery time when you’re ready to have a child. If you remove this option before the end of its 3-year life cycle, then the average time to conceive is between 4-6 months. About 85% of couples are successful after one year of trying to become pregnant after having an intrauterine device removed.
6. It is an affordable form of birth control for most women.
Because this intrauterine device is a covered birth control option on many healthcare insurance plans, some women may have no charge for the device beyond an office copay or deductible. Even with insurance coverage, some plans charge up to $500 per year (and sometimes more, depending on the product) or pills, patches, or other birth control options. There is a good chance that the Skyla IUD is a cheaper option than what you’re currently using, and it might be more reliable too.
7. The Skyla IUD is very safe to use.
The World Health Organization and the American Medical Association both rate intrauterine devices as one of the safest options for reversible birth control available to women today. As with any medical treatment option, there is always the potential for side effects when using the Skyla IUD. That includes pelvic inflammation, discomfort, and inflammation, but it comes with a low-risk profile. You won’t see the same pages of potential interactions or health concerns with an IUD like you do with birth control pills.
8. It does not interfere with sexual intercourse.
When the Skyla IUD is placed correctly, your intimate partner will not realize that the device is there. If there is an issue which counters this advantage, then you know that it is time to follow-up with your doctor to review its placement. An improperly placed intrauterine device could lead to uncomfortable complications.
9. The Skyla IUD eliminates the risks of a mistake.
When you have an intrauterine device like Skyla placed correctly, then you no longer need to worry about taking your pill every day. You don’t have the same worries about a condom breaking or having a diaphragm in the instructed position. Until the 36-month lifecycle of Skyla stops, you don’t need to worry about your birth control options whatsoever. It is 99% effective at what it does.
10. It eliminates any concern about copper toxicity.
The most effective intrauterine devices available right now are based on copper technologies. Some women are sensitive to them, which includes allergic reactions. The flexible plastic of the Skyla IUD is easy to insert and place, helping to achieve your birth control goals while allowing you to follow the lifestyle you prefer.
11. You can use Skyla again after the 3-year lifecycle completes.
If you’ve successfully used Skyla for three years and it is time to take out the intrauterine device, then you can have it replaced with another if you wish. The 13.5mg IUD works to provide consistent protection if you tolerate it well. Make sure you tell your doctor that you have Skyla placed if an MRI is necessary as safe scanning of the device requires specific conditions.
List of the Cons of the Skyla IUD
1. The Skyla IUD may not work well for women over a certain weight.
Although this intrauterine device works well for most women, there are specific weight considerations to look at since it contains levonorgestrel. This hormone offers less protection for women who weight more than 164 pounds (74 kilograms). There are issues with other medications when taken in the last month, such as an antibiotic, which may result in a higher chance for a pregnancy. That’s why a conversation with your doctor before having the Skyla IUD is necessary.
2. It does not work for some women.
The Skyla IUD was developed and tested for teens and women who have not yet had a child. If you already have children and are thinking about an intrauterine device as a birth control option, then you’ll need to look at other products. Mirena is a similar option to Skyla, but it also releases 6mcg more hormones per day.
Skyla is contraindicated for women who suspect pelvic inflammatory disease, have a history of it, or have a current diagnosis. There is an increased risk of PID when using an intrauterine device, so speak with your doctor about these risks. Some women have pelvic inflammatory disease without symptoms, but if Skyla is used, then tubal damage may still occur.
3. There may be some side effects experienced during the placement of the IUD.
A small percentage of women experience immediate side effects from the placement of an intrauterine device and Skyla is no exception. Headaches, additional pain during their monthly cycle, a decreased sex drive, and increased acne are the common complications noted. Some women experience hair loss when choosing this birth control option, while others say that hair begins growing in unwanted locations. There could also be bloating, tenderness of the breasts, and anxiety after placement too.
4. Some women may experience weight gain while using the Skyla IUD.
About 5% of women who decide to use an intrauterine device will experience an unwanted weight gain while it is in place. Even though Skyla doesn’t use estrogen as its hormone, the effect does still persist. Women who report weight gain with this IUD also tend to be mothers already, which is counter to the recommended use of the product. Other women report a loss of appetite and weight loss with the device in place, so keep note of your weight and report unusual changes to your doctor if you go ahead with Skyla.
5. The Skyla IUD could interact negatively with some medications.
Because the Skyla IUD uses levonorgestrel to prevent pregnancies, there are over 250 different drug interactions to review with your doctor before having the device inserted. There are 42 “major” drug interactions currently known. Grapefruit juice should be avoided when using Skyla too because it changes the utilization of the hormone by the body. Some supplements, such as St. John’s Wart, should be discussed with your doctor before implantation too. Some medications may increase the risk of pregnancy if they are taken with Skyla.
6. It does not prevent 100% of pregnancies.
The failure rate of the Skyla IUD in its first year of use is reported at 0.4%. When considering the three-year lifecycle of the intrauterine device, the failure rate climbs to 0.9%. The manufacturer notes that expulsion or perforation may lead to a reduction or loss of efficacy and result in pregnancy. If you’re concerned that Skyla isn’t placed correctly, then speak to your doctor about the issue and what outcomes are available for you at that time.
7. The Skyla IUD may cause an ectopic pregnancy.
Because Skyla changes the internal workings of the reproductive system, there is a greater chance of an ectopic pregnancy occurring with this intrauterine device compared to other birth control methods. This health issue occurs when an embryo attaches outside of the uterus, causing symptoms like vaginal bleeding and severe abdominal pain. The discomfort associated with this condition could be cramp-like, dull, or sharp. Most women will either require surgery or be prescribed methotrexate.
8. Incorrect placement of the Skyla IUD may perforate the uterus.
About 1% of all intrauterine device placement procedures result in the perforation of the uterus. Should this occur, women often experience pain and inflammation requiring several weeks to improve. You would require a follow-up visit to the doctor and need to use another form of birth control to prevent pregnancy should this incident occur. IUDs are known to slip after placement as well, with Skyla doing so increasingly often based on the number of children a woman has had previously.
Women who have already experienced a pregnancy should consider a different intrauterine device whenever possible. Lactation increases the risks of a perforation by more than six times when compared to women who are not lactating.
9. The Skyla IUD does not prevent sexually transmitted diseases of infections.
You must continue using safe-sex practices after having Skyla placed correctly as a birth control method. Like most forms of pregnancy prevention, this intrauterine device will not protect you against a sexually transmitted disease of infection. Condoms are often recommended when using a product like Skyla to prevent disease transmission. Blood tests are sometimes requested by medical providers before IUD placement to see if an STD or STI is present, as a chlamydia infection does increase the risks of an ectopic pregnancy forming.
10. You must go to your medical provider for Skyla.
Your doctor must place the Skyla IUD for you. If you do not have a reproductive care specialist locally, then speak with your local Department of Public Health (or similar office) to local care options near your home. Rural women experience this issue most often, since they may live more than an hour’s drive away from their closest provider. Over half of all the rural counties in the United States do not have a care provider capable of placing an intrauterine device for you.
11. Some women experience severe changes in their bleeding patterns.
After the Skyla IUD is installed successfully, many women experience minor changes to their bleeding patterns. Spotting or irregular bleeding frequently occurs in the first six months of using an intrauterine device. Some women experience heavy bleeding and longer or more frequent cycles than previous menstruation. Because of this issue, the manufacturer recommends all doctors exclude polyps or possible cancer before inserting the device.
These Skyla IUD pros and cons offer a birth control alternative for women wanting to get off the pill. It may not last as long as other intrauterine devices today, but it does provide three years of protection with a 99% success rate over its lifetime. Check with your insurance provider to see if Skyla is a covered option to reduce your costs, then speak with your doctor about these critical points to determine if this is the best choice to meet your needs.