In this blog post I wanted to talk about the Mirena, what it is, how it works, and the side effects. I am also going to be talking about my personal experience having the Mirena. If you want to skip all the information about the Mirena and just want to read about my personal experience than scroll to the bottom.
What is the Mirena?
The Mirena is a small, T-shaped intrauterine device (IUD). It releases little amounts of a progestin hormone called levonorgestrel into the uterus. This makes it 99% effective at preventing pregnancy, for up to 5 years before it needs to be replaced. The Mirena is used for contraception, heavy periods, and women that have or haven’t had children can use it.
How it works?
The Mirena releases the hormone levonorgestrel, a synthetic version of progesterone into the body. It works by thinning the lining of a woman’s uterus and thickening the cervical mucus. This prevents sperm from traveling to and inseminating the eggs. It can prevent more then pregnancy by alleviating chronic pelvic pain and heavy periods. Over time a woman’s period should become lighter, and may stop completely.
Placement of the Mirena?
The Mirena is placed into the uterus by a trained physician. The patient can decide to be put under general anaesthetic in theatre or be conscious in the doctors office. The person can have the IUD removed at any time. Within 4-6 weeks of placement a follow up with the doctor is required. The IUD can be left in for up to 5 years before needing to be replaced.
A women may try to conceive right after the IUD is removed.
If you have the Mirena inserted and are experiencing side effects that are causing you discomfort please contact your doctor immediately.
Less serious side effects may include:
- Irregular menstrual periods, changes in bleedings patterns or flow for up to 3-6 months of placement.
- Breakthrough bleeding, or heavier bleeding during the first few weeks after device insertion.
- Back pain.
- Headache, nervousness, mild dizziness.
- Nausea, vomiting, bloating.
- Breast tenderness or pain.
- Weight gain, acne, change in hair growth.
- Mood changes, low libido.
- Mild itching, skin rash.
- Puffiness in your face, hands, ankles, or feet.
- Ovarian cysts.
- Missed periods.
Serious side effects;
- Severe cramps or pelvic pain.
- Extreme dizziness, feeling like you might pass out.
- Heavy or ongoing vaginal bleeding, vaginal sores, vaginal discharge that is watery, foul-smelling discharge, or otherwise unusual.
- Severe pain in your side or stomach.
- Pale skin, weakness, easy bruising or bleeding.
- Fever chills or other signs of infection.
- Pain during sexual intercourse.
- Sudden numbness or weakness, especially on one side of the body.
- Sudden or severe headache, confusion, problems with vision, sensitivity to light.
- Yellowing of the skin or eyes.
- Signs of an allergic reactions: hives, difficulty breathing, swelling of your face, lips, tongue or throat.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORATION?
- If you have a pelvic infection, get infections easily, or have certain cancers don’t use the Mirena. Less than 1% of users get a serious pelvic infection called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
- If you have persistent pelvic or stomach pain or if Mirena comes out, tell your healthcare provider . If Mirena comes out, use back-up birth control.
- Mirena may attach or go through the uterus and cause other problems.
- Pregnancy while using Mirena is uncommon but can be life threating, and result in an ectopic pregnancy, loss of pregnancy or fertility.
- Ovarian cysts may occur but should hopefully disappear.
- Bleeding and spotting may increase in the first 3-6 months.
- Periods may stop completely.
- Mirena does not protect against HIV or STDS.
My personal experience with the Mirena?
When I was seventeen I was referred to my first gynaecologist. I talked to her about my assault (its in another blog post) and spoke to her about my pain and heavy periods. I asked her about Endometriosis and if I could potentially have it. She dismissed what I had asked, and told me I was too young to have it. Then she suggested getting the Mirena. She glamorised the IUD by saying it would take away all my pain, heavy periods, and it was great contraception, but left out potential side effects, and safety information. I naively agreed and booked a procedure date. Fortunately I had my partner there during the procedure and he proceeded to look after me throughout the experience. On the day of my procedure I arrived early in the morning, checked in and went into theatre. They put me to sleep under general anaesthetic. I woke up late in the afternoon feeling groggy, my stomach/pelvis area was quite sore, and they had placed a pad under me because I was heavily bleeding. Later that night at home I was bleeding more heavily, to the point blood was going down my legs and couldn’t be held in by pads, I had horrific stomach cramps and pelvic pain, and I was so dizzy I was almost passing out. That night I was in and out of sleep. The next day I had turned completely pale, my stomach was bloated, I was nauseated, refused to eat, had horrific stomach and pelvic cramps, could barely get out of bed. My bleeding had continued to get heavier and I was passing clots that were around 10cm long (which sounds completely ludacris but I swear it is true). I could only handle the Mirena being in for five days. On the fifth day I had no colour to my skin (I am usually olive/tan), my face had completely broken out with pimples (my face is usually clear), I was experiencing horrific pelvic pain and stomach cramps, I was sleep deprived, anxious/nervous, extremely dizzy, and I had lost weight. I mustered up enough strength to drive to my gynaecologists office to get her to remove it. She tried to convince me to keep it in, and I begged her to take it out. The gynaecologist got me to lay/sit down so she could remove it. She ripped it out, not gently took it out, she RIPPED it out, and blood came out afterwards. I screamed out in pain and cried. I left her office and never went back to see her again. It took a while for my skin to go back to normal, the acne to go away, and for me to put weight back on. However, I had to go on Provera (hormone drug therapy) tablets for three months afterwards to stop the bleeding, and the pain never fully went away. I was rushed into the ER by ambulance shortly after the removal of the IUD and it turns out I had gotten a pelvic infection from the Mirena. I also later on found out my iron was completely depleted due to this experience, and I went on to get Ferinject infusion in the hospital.
Personally, I would never recommend the Mirena to someone. I don’t think its good for women that haven’t had children or haven’t had sex, nor would I recommend it to someone that has endometriosis. I think it is better for contraception use or someone that just suffers heavy painful periods. What didn’t work for me may work for someone else though. Before getting the Mirena please do a lot of research, talk to your specialist/doctor about it seriously, and take it into serious consideration.
I found this article talking about a Mirena IUD Lawsuit, and I thought I would leave the link attached, so people could read it and gather information. https://www.seegerweiss.com/law-practices/personal-injury/medical-device-liability/mirena/
Thank you for taking the time to read this you beautiful souls.