What’s the lowdown?
- There are 5 types of hormonal coil (also known as LNG-IUD or IUS) available in the UK; the Mirena, Levosert, Benilexa, Kyleena and Jaydess coils, all of which are more than 99% effective at preventing pregnancy
- The largest hormonal coils include the Mirena, Levosert and Benilexa (also known as the 52mg coils) and these can be used for up to 6 years or for 10 years if inserted over the age of 45.
- The Kyleena works for 5 years and the Jaydess, for up to 3 years
- The Mirena, Benilexa and Levosert coils often help women with painful or heavy periods
- The majority of users report no change to their weight, sex drive or mood with any type of hormonal coil
Despite it not being the most popular choice for your first method of contraception, many professionals would probably recommend the hormonal coil due to its effectiveness. When inserted, it is more than 99% effective plus you won’t have to think about it until it is removed. It’s also our highest rated method at The Lowdown.
But which type of hormonal coil (aka intrauterine system or IUS) is best for you? In this blog, you’ll get the full lowdown on the Jaydess vs Mirena, the Kyleena vs Jaydess, the Levosert vs Mirena vs Benilexa and every other type of comparison possible.
So first up, what is the difference between the Mirena, Levosert, Benilexa, Kyleena and Jaydess coils?
The Jaydess, Kyleena, Mirena, Benilexa and Levosert coils all contain the hormone levonorgestrel (a form of progestogen). This is a synthetic form of the hormone progesterone, similar to the natural form produced by your ovaries. It helps to prevent pregnancy by thickening the cervical mucus – making it more difficult for sperm to move through the opening into the womb – and thinning the lining of the womb so a fertilised egg cannot implant and grow. The hormonal coil can also stop ovulation in some women.
For contraception the Jaydess is licensed for use for up to three years, the Kyleena coil for up to 5 years and Mirena, Levosert and Benilexa for up to 6 years. If you have a Mirena, Benilexa or Levosert coil inserted over the age of 45, this can stay in for contraceptive use, for an entire 10 years until you are 55.
Each coil is made from a small T-shaped frame. The Kyleena and Jaydess coils are slightly smaller than the Mirena, Benilexa and Levosert coils. The Kyleena and Jaydess both have a silver ring which means they can be identified more easily on ultrasound scans. If colour is your thing, whilst the Levosert, Benilexa and Kyleena have blue threads the Mirena and Jaydess have brown threads.
For our friends across the pond, you can also choose the Skyla coil which is only available in the USA. It is most similar to Kyleena and can stay in for up to 3 years.
|Size (W x H)||32 x 32 mm||32 x 32 mm||32 x 32 mm||28 x 30 mm||29 x 30 mm|
|Size of inserter tube||4.4 mm||4.8 mm||4.8 mm||3.8 mm||3.8 mm|
|Licensed length of use||6 years|
10 years if over 45
10 years if over 45
10 years if over 45
|5 years||3 years|
|Initial dose of levonorgestrel hormone per 24h||20mcg||20.1mcg||20.1mcg||17.5mcg||14mcg|
|Dose of levonorgestrel hormone per 24hr at end of coil’s license||9mcg||8.6mcg||8.6mcg||7.4mcg||5mcg|
|Helps with||Heavy menstrual bleeding|
|Heavy menstrual bleeding|
|Heavy menstrual bleeding|
|Heavy menstrual bleeding||Heavy menstrual bleeding|
|Expected number of users who will have spotting in the first 3 months||51%||51%||51%||57%||39-55%|
|Expected number of users who will have spotting after 3 months of use||10%||10%||10%||14%||14-19%|
|Expected number of users who will stop having periods by 1 year||20%||20%||20%||12%||6-9%|
What are the benefits of the different hormonal coils?
Contraception aside, the Mirena, Benilexa and Levosert coils are also used in the management of heavy periods as they tend to make periods lighter. These 3 coils can also be used as part of hormone replacement therapy (HRT), a treatment used to manage the symptoms of menopause. The Mirena, Benilexa and Levosert coils may help to reduce pain associated periods, endometriosis and adenomyosis.
There is some evidence that shows the Kyleena and Jaydess coils reduce menstrual bleeding but neither are currently licensed for the treatment of heavy periods. This may be because they have slightly lower levels of progestogen so the impact on heavy bleeding isn’t quite as substantial.
How are each of the hormonal coils fitted?
A hormonal coil can be fitted at any time in your menstrual cycle as long as you are not pregnant or at risk of pregnancy. If it’s fitted in the first five days of your cycle, you will be protected against pregnancy right away. If fitted at any other time you should use additional contraception such as condoms for 7 days after fitting.
Having an IUS fitted can be uncomfortable, and some people might find it painful, but you can have a local anaesthetic to help. Check out our full guide to coil fittings to find out more on what to expect and what pain relief options are available to you.
The hormonal coils all have the same insertion process:
- An appointment takes around 15 – 20 minutes and fitting the coil normally takes no longer than five
- The vagina is held open – like it is during a smear test – and the coil is inserted through the cervix (the neck of the womb) and then into the womb
- Your doctor or nurse will teach you how to feel for the threads that extend from the coil, through the cervix and into the vagina (only a couple of centimetres!)
Checking these threads regularly lets you know the coil is in place. If you can’t feel the threads the coil may not be in place and you may not be protected from pregnancy. In this case contact your nurse or doctor to see if you need emergency contraception and use an additional method such as condoms. Learn how to check for coil threads here.
After a coil is inserted, you should take it easy, invest in a hot water bottle and use painkillers if you feel any discomfort.
It is possible, but unlikely, to have an infection after getting the coil fitted. These occur most commonly around 3 weeks after the insertion. Symptoms include pain in your lower abdomen, a high temperature and a smelly discharge. In this case, contact your doctor urgently or return to the clinic where your coil was fitted for an assessment and antibiotic treatment.
Mirena vs Jaydess vs Kyleena vs Levosert vs Benilexa: side effects
Now you know the technical ins and outs of the hormonal coils, it’s time to talk side effects. Scientifically speaking, each of the five brands has the same listed side effects. But what do the people who’ve had them say?
Below we’ve included some stats from our 5,000+ Lowdown user reviews that share an insight into real people’s experiences of the hormonal coils. You can also check out our Hormonal IUS page to see our reviewer data in depth for yourself.
If you’re interested in a particular brand of contraception, take a look at the Kyleena, Levosert and Jaydess side effects.
The IUS coil and acne
For the Jaydess coil, 45% of reviewers at the time of writing had no impact on their skin and for the Mirena, 43% said the same. 56% of respondents said the Kyleena coil increased their acne.
The IUS coil and moods
47% of women said they felt no change in their moods when on the Jaydess, similar to 40% using the Kyleena and 44% with the Mirena. 33% of Levosert users also reported no change.
The IUS coil and periods
A third (33%) of women said their periods stopped with the Jaydess coil, with a further 27% experiencing lighter bleeds. A higher 53% said the Mirena coil stopped theirs, with a reduced 15% experiencing irregular periods.
With the Kyleena, 33% of women said their periods stopped completely. Whilst 40% of those with the Levosert reported lighter bleeds.
The IUS coil and sex drive
What about your sex drive people? Well luckily, the majority of respondents felt there was no change in their sex drive – aka horniness – on all the coils. For Jaydess, 61% said there was no change to their libido and 45% said the same for Mirena.
However, whilst two-fifths (45%) of Kyleena users said there was no change in their sex drive, a third (29%) said lost their sex drive. 29% said they felt a decrease in sex drive whilst using the Jaydess coil and again the same percentage (29%) agreed for the Mirena. It is however important to recognise the complex number of factors that can influence our libido – get the guide to contraception and sex drive here.
The IUS coil and weight gain
In terms of weight gain, over half (57%) of participants said there was no change on the Mirena, compared to 68% who said the same for the Jaydess. Likewise, the majority (61%) of reviewers said the same for the Kyleena coil. Good times.
We’ve recently added the Skyla and Benilexa coils to our list of birth control methods at The Lowdown. If you’re a Skyla or Benilexa user, please leave a review of your experiences to help other women across the globe.
What do the reviews say?
Below is a selection of our real-life user reviews for each brand of coil…
“My periods became very irregular- would stop for 3-4 months then be very light for 10 days or so which I found annoying. Other than that it was great! I asked for local anaesthetic when they put it in too which made it a lot less painful.”
“I had the Jaydess inserted after a good experience with the Mirena coil. it was a huge mistake for me. I didn’t stop bleeding for 3 months and just generally felt awful. My gyno recommended taking it out as it turned out I had an infection that wouldn’t clear up with antibiotics and my vagina has never been the same since. It gets really dry, sensitive and I suffer from dermatitis/eczema. It also caused me to have a cyst which then burst and bled into itself. Once I had the Jaydess removed the infection cleared up as well as the cyst but I still suffer from awful eczema.”
“Best contraception I’ve ever used. Minor side effects, lighter periods with very little pain, better skin, no weight gain, no worries – what’s not to love about it? Have mine in 2 years and will be getting a new one immediately after this one comes out.”
“Would have been great but pretty sure it’s the reason I have had chronic thrush!”
“It was painful to put in, and I had cramping occasionally (a few times a month) for quite a while afterwards. I had 9 months of irregular bleeding (light spotting), but now no bleeding at all, and that is wonderful. No side effects at all apart from the bleeding initially. Amazing alternative to remembering pills.”
“I got this when I was 25 y/o after 7 years of the implant on and off, which caused bleeding. I decided to get the Mirena because the other options were exhausted (I can’t take the pill for medical reasons). I can’t lie, getting it put in did hurt – a lot – but it hurt for about 20 seconds. Before anyone tells you how painful it is, it IS worth it. After having it put in, I was fine at first and then had mild bleeding and cramps for about a week. Since then, my periods have completely stopped. I occasionally have mild bleeding after sex but I think this is unrelated. I saw a doctor at the hospital recently and she saw my Mirena on a scan, she asked me about it and then said “The Mirena has changed my life” and I can’t disagree. I had it checked by a nurse about 3 months later because I was worried that it might have moved but all is good. I’m now 8 months in and it’s amazing – I get VERY occasional, VERY mild cramps but other than that, it’s changed my life.”
“I found fitting extremely painful, but the worst bit was very fast – so only intense pain for like 10 seconds. I had pretty heavy bleeding for a few days after fitting and then a more painful/heavy period the month after and then since that have basically not had a period. I didn’t notice any change in mood, but boobs have got bigger and I’ve put some weight on (although that could be due to lockdown!). I found I got cramping for about 6 weeks after fitting, not constant but they were very uncomfortable for the first few weeks. Overall really pleased with it, worth the discomfort at the start for what will hopefully be 5 years of not having to worry about contraception!”
“All I will say with this one is give it 6 months to settle down! I had quite sore breasts on and off for the first 3 months and after the first 3 months developed quite bad acne. With an adjustment to my skin routine and 3 months of patience, it’s virtually back to normal! Get the odd cramp every now and then but virtually never have periods (and if I do, they’re very light and last 1-2 days) but has settled down massively. My sex drive also returned from 5 years on the combined pill and reduced my mood swings – overall I would recommend it despite the hiccups!”
“The first month I got my coil fitted I experienced spotting every day. Three days before my period was due I had an ongoing headache that ended up me being sent home from work in tears So far I haven’t experienced any acne or mood changes but am still feeling sceptical.”
“Really painful during insertion but settled within 2 days. Some cramps now and again and spots on my face have increased, also experienced some on my back which I’ve never had before. Some spotting and first few weeks had a light bleed. Now periods are a lot lighter. However, it can be felt slightly during sex.”
“I’ve had the coil fitted for 2 months now. I had it fitted on my period which I think helped make the process relatively easy. Some cramping for a couple of days afterwards, but mostly no major symptoms. My first period was on time and very veryyyy light (pantiliner only). Second period came on time, but feels heavier this time – still considered light but need a pad now. Still adjusting to it all.”
“After years of different methods, I chose the IUS after my third child as I wanted something long term without me having to remember something every day. Aside from increased acne, which has been a fair amount, I am happy with the IUS and would get it again. After speaking with the nurse practitioner, she assures me the acne will calm down.”
So which IUS is best for you?
We’re all different – which means there’s no simple answer to which is the best brand of coil for you. But to make life easier, check out our Contraception Comparison Tool where you can compare any brand or type of birth control – just like the latest iPhone model. Pop in Kyleena vs Mirena and compare side effects, ratings and risks to your heart’s content.
The Lowdown’s team of women’s health GPs are available to talk through your options in detail, answer any questions you may have and listen to your concerns. Dr Becky and Dr Zaakira are trained coil fitters – so they really know their stuff! Book an appointment to discuss the differences between coils, or any questions you have about fitting.