My experience with the Mirena IUD

Hello, friends. I wanted to share something a little more personal today with you all. This post will be all about my experience with the Mirena IUD – a form of birth control that receives so many mixed reviews. I thought I’d add in my feelings about it, too. If this post doesn’t interest you, I apologize. It just seemed like something I could talk about with my female readers because it’s something so many of us have to learn about and live with.

I suppose I should start at the beginning – before I had even considered getting any form of birth control. I’ll discuss why I got it, getting it inserted, the benefits, the side effects, the removal, and why I got it removed. I’m hoping my story helps women with their decision, if you’re having a hard time.

The beginning

My pregnancy flew by and my beautiful Lily made her debut on September 6, 2015. It was a terrifying experience, but definitely one I would go through again to expand my family by two little feet. After delivery, I spent weeks recovering and allowing my body to get back to normal. Well, what normal would be after having a baby. The experience changes your body so much. Some weeks had passed, and it was time for me to head into my gynecologist’s office to get my stitches checked on and she wanted to discuss plans for birth control. Although it hadn’t really crossed my mind, I had no intention on having another baby soon, so birth control seemed like a good idea considering Lily was completely unexpected.

I discussed with my doctor the options – the pill, the shot, the arm implant, and the IUD. After some time, she had persuaded me to get the Mirena IUD. She said she had it, too. She had done the procedure with hundreds of women and it was the one she recommended the most. I trusted her and agreed to get the Mirena. It seemed like the ideal birth control – it lasts 5 years and could stop my periods. I mean, no periods for five years. That sounds like a dream. I could get it removed anytime I wanted, but she recommended keeping it in for at least a year or more. Something about my insurance paying for it and them getting their money’s worth for it. Oooookay, that’s cool…

We scheduled the appointment to get it inserted. She gave me brochures and more information on the IUD and what to expect at the next appointment. She told me to make sure I took a higher dose of ibuprofen before the appointment – it wasn’t gonna feel good going in. Great, can’t wait.

The insertion

Probably one of the worst things I’ve ever felt was the process of getting the Mirena inserted. It wasn’t easy for me. That’s not saying if you choose to get this IUD that it will be the same for you, I just wasn’t that lucky. It started like a normal gynecologist appointment – lay back, feet up, legs apart.

***This part of the post may make some of you uncomfortable, it includes details about how the Mirena was inserted, which as some of you might guess, includes details about the parts of a vagina. Just a warning – if you’d like to skip this part, now’s the time***

It wasn’t enough to just insert it and get it over with. She had to measure the lengths of my fallopian tubes before insertion. She used a metal rod to slide up into the tubes to measure. This was the worst part. It felt like I was getting electrocuted. What’s worse, after measuring the first one, she went to the other. But it was shorter. She didn’t know why. So after a couple moments, she decided to take me into the ultrasound room to get a look at my uterus and make sure everything was alright. I had to walk down the hallways wrapped in a paper gown from the waist down to the ultrasound room. I was nervous at this point – I’m already a hypochondriac and diagnose myself with new diseases on WebMD all the time. What could be wrong with my uterus? What’s wrong with my fallopian tubes? The object she used to ultrasound my uterus looked a lot like a… *ahem* dildo… and it was extremely uncomfortable when she inserted it. Turns out, I just had a small uterus and she was surprised considering I just had a baby. Nothing wrong, so we head back to the exam room – me still wearing my paper gown and fairly sure I was bleeding a little.

Then came the Mirena. After sliding in through my cervix, she had to snap the two little wings of the IUD open – this felt horrible. I could feel it being opened. I was so ready for it to be over with. What’s weird, I think I was so uncomfortable at this point, she had asked me how I was doing – all I could do was laugh and tell her I was fine. I couldn’t stop laughing. It was the weirdest thing considering how much I hated this experience. Many women will tell you the insertion is probably the worst part; the removal is so quick and relatively painless.  After that, she removed all the tools keeping my canal and cervix open, and finally the insertion was complete. I had such an uncomfortable feeling down there. My tubes were still in shock, I was lightly bleeding, and I didn’t want to move off the table.

The side effects

Honestly, I didn’t notice the side effects the Mirena was giving me until I discussed it with a friend who was experiencing the same issues as I was. After getting it inserted, I bled for a while – this is expected and is what usually happens afterward, it’s not a period. Probably a week or so. But after that, I did not have any bleeding until I got it removed. No periods at all. It was amazing. With no periods, of course, was no chances for pregnancy. The Mirena IUD is over 99% effective and lasts for 5 years. Women who aren’t wanting to conceive anytime soon are drawn to its magic. But these were the only benefits I got from the Mirena – it did its job, that’s what mattered.

But the negatives weren’t noticed for a little while, not until it all started making sense. The only change my body had experienced was the insertion of the IUD, so I attached that to the symptoms I was having. Keep in mind I had also just delivered my daughter just a few months before getting it inserted – so I also had no idea what post-pregnancy body could be like. But I experienced hair loss like you would not believe. It was falling out much more than what I considered normal. It felt like my hair was thinning, which made me sad considering how thick and full my hair was before – especially when I was pregnant! I started having chest discomfort, which scared me so much, but I chalked it up to the heartburn and acid reflux I had every single day I was pregnant. I was dealing with acne – this wasn’t something I was a stranger to, I had issues with acne for years, but it seemed more prevalent after getting the IUD inserted. Mood swings and anxiety were through the roof. This could have been linked to postpartum anxiety/depression, since it was right after having Lily. But I was stressing over every single thing in my life, I wasn’t happy, I didn’t feel like the same Rikki I was before. Could it have been the hormones the IUD was pumping into my body? I can’t say for sure. I was gaining weight, more than I expected to considering I had just had a baby and thought I’d be losing it! My sex drive was practically non-existent. I had no desire for it, no want for it, no need for it. Thinking of being intimate made me gag.

The negatives started outweighing the positives. I felt like I had completely changed since the Mirena was inserted. I hated myself and how I felt. I wanted it out, but I felt like I couldn’t get it removed until I had passed a year since insertion. So I waited it out. I hated every second of it because now I was scared. What else could the IUD cause? What if something else is going on now?

A list of side effects I experienced; a clearer view, for my readers:

  • Hair loss
  • Chest discomfort
  • Acne
  • Mood swings
  • Anxiety
  • No sex drive
  • No periods

Deciding to get it removed & the removal

The removal was sort-of unplanned. Of course, I wanted to get it removed! But the appointment I went to wasn’t for the IUD – it was for antibiotics to treat an infection I had gotten. While I was there, I mentioned I wanted the Mirena taken out because Matt and I were planning on trying for another baby. I had definitely already reached my year since getting it inserted and I didn’t want to wait any longer. Why not kill two birds with one stone and get it taken care of while I was there? They agreed and said it would be quick.

Truthfully, I was nervous to tell them why I truly wanted it removed. I didn’t want to tell them the side effects I was experiencing and that I wanted it out so they would go away. I had read so many stories online from women where their doctors were certain the Mirena wasn’t causing them and practically fought them on getting it removed. I wanted to avoid that conversation, so I told them I wanted to try for another baby. There was no argument or opposition. They agreed and we went in the exam room to remove the IUD during my appointment.

The removal was practically painless. I felt just a small twinge, but it was over so quickly. She just had to pull the strings at the end of the IUD, the ones that hung outside of my cervix. I really didn’t even know she had pulled it out, honestly. I’m glad it was nothing like the insertion. I was worried it would be. It took just seconds to remove. I bled for a few days after removal. I was so happy it was finally out – I was ready to get my body back to normal. I was ready to feel normal again.

The aftermath

I would suggest searching “Mirena crash,” because it was real for me. Just weeks after removal, I had experienced surging levels of anxiety and mood swings. I hated myself and everything going on in my life. I felt horrible and didn’t even want to get out of bed in the morning. Unfortunately, this happens to a lot of women after getting the Mirena removed. I wasn’t alone in my journey. This period of time didn’t last long, but it was a rough experience.

Fast forward to now, months later. My periods are still pretty irregular. They were normal for the first couple months after removal and seemed to come around the same time each month. But the past couple months have been weird. The week would roll around when I should’ve had my period, but I experienced mostly spotting and light bleeding, if any at all. This month it’s back to normal, but I’m not expecting it to stay this way. I’m sure my body is still adjusting after not having periods for over a year, and I’m trying to stay positive about it. Luckily, I have an appointment scheduled this month and plan to ask questions about post-Mirena IUD periods and what I should be expecting. Matt and I have been trying to conceive but have obviously had no luck so far.

I’m still dealing with some chest discomfort periodically, not sure what it could be from. My hair seems to be back to normal – I did just recently do a buzz cut so it’s hard to tell how much hair I’m losing on a regular basis now. Acne seems to have subsided, besides the few little ones that like to show up when I’m due for a period. My mood swings have also diminished, which I’m sure Matt is happy about! Anxiety still seems to be a lingering issue, although it’s not as extreme as it was when I had the IUD. Sex drive seems to be getting back on track, as well.

Final thoughts

If you’re considering getting the Mirena IUD, don’t let my experience scare you. Every woman’s body is different and experiences things differently. The Mirena IUD just wasn’t meant for my body. I don’t plan on using any other forms of birth control besides condoms from now on. I don’t think I could put any implants in my body ever again. I suggest you do your research and discuss your options with your doctor. I am just here to share my experience with you and hope that it helps you in your decision making process. There are so many positive reviews out there! Women who have had the IUD for years and have only good things to say about it! Other women hated it and never want another one inserted.

Just please, do your research and know your options. If you decide to get it and experience side effects that are worrying you, get it removed. Don’t be scared of what the doctor might tell you. It’s your body, and YOU MAKE THE DECISIONS. Not the doctor. I wish I would’ve gotten mine out sooner, but I live and I learn. You may have a great experience with the IUD and not get any of the side effects I experienced. Or maybe you’ll get some of them. Or all of them. You just don’t know. The best thing is: it can be removed.

I hope my story has given you some insight on the IUD. There are so many out there across the internet that women have shared about their experiences. Take the time to read them! What are your experiences with the Mirena IUD? Positive or negative comments you’d like to share? Questions you’d like to ask? Leave all your thoughts in the comments below!

Take good care of yourself, Rikki

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