Skyla is a type of intrauterine device, also known as an IUD. But what is that, exactly?
An IUD is a small, T-shaped device that's placed in your uterus by your healthcare professional during a routine visit.
Getting an IUD is nonsurgical can take place during a routine office visit. Once in place, it provides continuous, highly effective birth control.
You may experience pain, bleeding or dizziness during and after placement. If these symptoms do not go away within 30 minutes after placement, call your healthcare professional as Skyla may not have been placed correctly. Your healthcare professional will examine you to see if Skyla needs to be removed or replaced. Within 4 to 6 weeks, you should return for a follow-up visit to make sure that Skyla is in the right position. After that Skyla can be checked by your healthcare professional once a year as part of your routine exam.
Skyla is an IUD that releases a low dose of hormones and is over 99% effective at preventing pregnancy for up to 3 years.
- No daily pills, monthly refills, or trips to the pharmacy. You should make sure Skyla is in place with a monthly thread check. Your healthcare professional can show you how
- Made of soft, flexible plastic
- Reversible and can be removed by your healthcare professional at any time if you change your mind, so you can try to get pregnant right away. About 3 out of 4 women who want to become pregnant will become pregnant sometime in the first year after Skyla is removed.
- It may be smaller than you think (Actual size: 1.18”)
Skyla is FDA-approved and can be used whether or not you have given birth to a child. It is available by prescription only.
How does Skyla work?
Skyla releases a progestin hormone locally into your uterus at a slow and continuous rate. It is estrogen-free and works continuously for up to 3 years.
Skyla may work in several ways including thickening cervical mucus, inhibiting sperm movement, reducing sperm survival, and thinning the lining of your uterus. It is not known exactly how these actions work together to prevent pregnancy.
Because SKYLA is in your uterus, not your vagina:
- You can still use tampons or menstrual cups:
- Change tampons or menstrual cups with care to avoid pulling the threads of Skyla. If you think you may have pulled Skyla out of place, avoid intercourse or use a non-hormonal back-up birth control (such as condoms or spermicide), and contact your healthcare professional.
- You shouldn't be able to feel it
- If you feel more than just the threads or if you cannot feel the threads, Skyla may not be in the right position and may not prevent pregnancy. Avoid intercourse or use non-hormonal back-up birth control (such as condoms or spermicide) and ask your healthcare professional to check that Skyla is still in the right place.
- You and your partner should not feel it during sex. Sometimes your partner may feel the threads. If this occurs, or if you or your partner experience pain during sex, talk with your healthcare professional.
- You should make sure Skyla is in place with a monthly thread check. Your healthcare professional can show you how.
Some common side effects include:
- Pain, bleeding or dizziness during and after placement. If these symptoms do not stop 30 minutes after placement, Skyla may not have been placed correctly. Your healthcare professional will examine you to see if Skyla needs to be removed or replaced.
- Changes in bleeding. You may have bleeding and spotting between menstrual periods, especially during the first 3–6 months. Sometimes the bleeding is heavier than usual at first. However, the bleeding usually becomes lighter than usual and may be irregular. Call your healthcare professional if the bleeding remains heavier than usual or increases after it has been light for a while.
- Missed menstrual periods. About 1 out of 16 women stop having periods after 1 year of Skyla use. If you have any concerns that you may be pregnant while using Skyla, do a urine pregnancy test and call your healthcare professional. If you do not have a period for 6 weeks during Skyla use, call your healthcare professional. When Skyla is removed, your menstrual periods should return.
- Cysts on the ovary. About 14 out of 100 women using Skyla develop a cyst on the ovary. These cysts usually disappear on their own in two to three months. However, cysts can cause pain and sometimes cysts will need surgery.
Other common side effects include:
- abdominal or pelvic pain
- acne or greasy skin
- headache or migraine
- inflammation or infection of the outer part of your vagina (vulvovaginitis)
- painful periods
These are not all the possible side effects with Skyla. For more information, ask your healthcare professional.
How effective is SKYLA?
Skyla is one of the most effective birth control options. It's over 99% effective and works continuously for up to 3 years.
Generally the less you have to do, the more effective the birth control method tends to be.
Some serious risk considerations about Skyla:
- Ectopic pregnancy and intrauterine pregnancy risks. There are risks if you become pregnant while using Skyla. Call your healthcare provider right away if you think you may be pregnant. If possible, also do a urine pregnancy test. If you get pregnant while using Skyla, you may have an ectopic pregnancy. This means that the pregnancy is not in the uterus. Unusual vaginal bleeding or abdominal pain may be a sign of ectopic pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy is a medical emergency that often requires surgery. Ectopic pregnancy can cause internal bleeding, infertility, and even death. There are also risks if you get pregnant while using Skyla and the pregnancy is in the uterus. Severe infection, miscarriage, premature delivery, and even death can occur with pregnancies that continue with an intrauterine device (IUD). Because of this, your healthcare provider may try to remove Skyla, even though removing it may cause a miscarriage. If Skyla cannot be removed, talk with your healthcare provider about the benefits and risks of continuing the pregnancy and possible effects of the hormone on your unborn baby. If you continue your pregnancy, see your healthcare provider regularly. Call your healthcare provider right away if you get flu-like symptoms, fever, chills, cramping, pain, bleeding, vaginal discharge, or fluid leaking from your vagina. These may be signs of infection.
- Life-threatening infection. Life-threatening infection can occur within the first few days after Skyla is placed. Call your healthcare professional immediately if you develop severe pain or fever shortly after Skyla is placed.
- Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Some IUD users get a serious pelvic infection called pelvic inflammatory disease. PID is usually sexually transmitted. You have a higher chance of getting PID if you or your partner has sex with other partners. PID can cause serious problems such as infertility, ectopic pregnancy or pelvic pain that does not go away. PID is usually treated with antibiotics. More serious cases of PID may require surgery, including removal of the uterus (hysterectomy). In rare cases, infections that start as PID can even cause death. Tell your healthcare professional right away if you have any of these signs of PID: long-lasting or heavy bleeding, unusual vaginal discharge, low abdominal (stomach area) pain, painful sex, chills, fever, genital lesions or sores.
- Perforation. Skyla may go into the wall of the uterus (become embedded) or go through the wall of the uterus. This is called perforation. If this occurs, Skyla may no longer prevent pregnancy. If perforation occurs, Skyla may move outside the uterus and can cause internal scarring, infection, or damage to other organs, and you may need surgery to have Skyla removed. Excessive pain or vaginal bleeding during placement of Skyla, pain or bleeding that gets worse after placement, or not being able to feel the threads may happen with perforation. The risk of perforation is increased if Skyla is inserted while you are breastfeeding, or if you have recently given birth.
- Expulsion. Skyla may come out by itself. This is called expulsion. Expulsion occurs in about 3 out of 100 women. Excessive pain or vaginal bleeding during placement of Skyla, pain or bleeding that gets worse after placement, or not being able to feel the threads may happen with expulsion. You may become pregnant if Skyla comes out. If you think that Skyla has come out, avoid intercourse or use a non-hormonal backup birth control (such as condoms or spermicide) and call your healthcare provider. The risk of expulsion is increased with insertion right after delivery or second-trimester abortion.