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So about that Mirena…

So about that Mirena... Sophistishe.com

I had it removed. If I had the stamina to do back flips, I would. I have never been so happy to have a body beginning to function as it is intended to (hello menstrual cycle). But to back up a little bit… in this post I mentioned my suspicion of the Mirena (inserted 3 1/2 years ago) causing my mental health plummet. Never did I imagine that at age 24, I’d find myself feeling trapped at the bottom of the barrel. I won’t get into details or dramatics, but for over a year I felt pretty crappy on most days. And my symptoms started to escalate last Spring. I thought I was losing my mind.

Some common side effects of the Mirena IUD are:
Decreased Focus and Concentration
Substantial Weight Gain
Heart Palpitations
Elevated Anxiety
Decreased Libido
Depression
Irritability
Migraines
Hair Loss
Fatigue
Acne

As if those side effects weren’t enough, the possible Mirena removal side effects  can be even more detrimental to a woman’s health. Drugnews.net offers a variety of information on what can be done if you’ve had severe complications.

I experienced all of the symptoms that have been underlined… so much so that I decided to see a Psychiatrist. It was a very hard thing for me to do. The Psychiatrist prescribed meds pretty quickly, which I appreciated because seeing her was uncomfortable enough. But what bothers me is, what if I really didn’t have a problem and I wanted to abuse the meds? How would she have known? Anyway, I took the “happy pills” out of desperation for all of a week and ditched them because they had me trembling in my own home and made me feel like a sad zombie. I did not want to become dependent on them especially if I didn’t NEED them. I didn’t want to dig myself into a hole that I would not be able to escape from.

Before my whole experience seeing a shrink, I had read Mirena Horror stories as I did with Depo Provera, and I finally decided that the contraption had to go. All of the stories were hitting home. My *new* Ob/Gyn didn’t believe that the Mirena was causing these problems, but she accepted my other reason for wanting to have it removed… I wanted more children. She seemed super nice, but I see she’s the stubborn type. Thousands of women are not struggling from absolutely nothing! After she removed the IUD (it didn’t hurt), she told me that the Mirena contains the same medication as Depo. Seriously? Depo? Had I had that little nugget of info, I wouldn’t have had the Mirena inserted in the first place (by another Gyn). I’ve had such luck with contraceptives, I swear. At this point, I.am.done.

Done.

In a few days, I will be starting a detox to flush away any remnants of hormones. I’m also researching fertility charting. It sounds a little scary, but I have absolutely nothing to lose. I need to be more present with my bodily functions. I’m ready to roll with it, miscalculations and all ;-).

Edited to add:

We’re expecting a baby boy Thanksgiving 2012!


Linking to When Birth Control May Do More Than Just That.

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So about that Mirena... Sophistishe.com

Sheena Tatum

is the founder of Sophistishe. She's a free spirit, wife, boy mom, rental rebel, curator of pretty things, lover of vintage pyrex, and the tropics. Sheena can be found in NW Indiana with her husband and two scrumptious boys, clutching kraft paper, chalkboard paint, sriracha and chipotle pepper. In the midst of motherhood, wifedom, and managing a growing collection of digital projects, she somehow manages to find zen in being a quirky, introverted, lil’ lady.
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76 Responses to “So about that Mirena…”

  1. Holly says:

    Omg! I literally had just about every symptom on that list! I thought I was.about to lose my mind! I couldn’t take it anymore! No joke, I went into the bathroom and washed my hands with antibacterial soap and I pulled that lil sucker out of there myself! And let me tell you. Its only been a couple hours and I already feel 10x better! Its like a weight has been lifted off of my shoulders! Im on my way to becoming myself again. Although I didn’t have mine in as long as you, it was long overdue.

  2. Karla Archer says:

    I finally wrote about my experience. Mine has many been chronic pain. I didn’t put it all together until the last couple of months, but I’ve been experiencing chronic pain in my arms, hands, fingers, shoulders and neck for the last 2.5 years.

    I’m having mine removed asap.

    http://www.karlaarcher.com/when-birth-control-may-do-more-than-just-that/

  3. Melanie350 says:

    Hi
    I got the Mirena inserted in January this year. At first I thought it was fabulous – my body responded well to it in the fact that I didn’t spot at all and I wasn’t worrying about becoming pregnant as I didn’t have to think about taking a pill anymore. However, unfortunately I hadn’t escaped the down sides of this little device…

    About three months into it, I developed terribly painful breasts. And I’m not talking the kind of sore you might get throughout your cycle when they become tender. I’m talking the actual nipples feeling like they had bee stings on them and a strange sensation which was highly uncomfortable and came and went throughout the day and night. I had this for a month straight and it got so painful that I dreaded the thought of having a shower as the pain became unbearable. I asked my gyne what she thought and she said that breast pain could happen and to take Evening Primrose to settle it or breast feeding pills. Well, considering I’ve never had children I thought that insane to take medication for something I wasn’t even doing!!! So, I tried to perservere and was taking EPO like 5x a day.
    The breast pain improved a bit, however then another side effect – limp, greasy hair. I have always had fine hair, but not greasy. I would wash it and blow dry it and it would look like it was still slightly wet or VERY greasy. It was awful and had lost it’s normal shine and healthy feel. I also noticed my hair seemed thinner and a couple of chunks had fallen out, particularly on the side. I went to get my hair done and when my hair dresser saw it, who is fantastic, she couldn’t believe the different poor condition it was in, so we flagged it altogether! I changed shampoo numerous times and spent a lot on effective products, but nothing worked.

    Then came the next side effect – acne. I felt very insecure about this as my skin has always been relatively clear and then I was faced with these big, extremely painful spots under the skin. They felt like ulcers and they wouldn’t clear – they were like wee volcanoes just waiting and once one cleared, the next would rear its head. I started feeling very shitty and just generally horrible as had not had problems with skin or hair before. It was like each time my body wanted to bleed and couldn’t, it would try to release in other ways.

    The other things I experienced was excessive anxiety and moods – my partner and I were really challenged with this and it almost all ended because of the paranoia I developed and the crazy moods that went with this. My bf wanted me to get the thing removed as it was taking its toll on us. I also did feel very tired a lot.

    The final straw was when I thought I’d developed cystitis. This seemed a bit unusual as I never get bladder infections. After a couple of days of constant peeing and weird feeling and some bladder ache/pain, I went to the doctor. I took antibiotics but nothing improved. This weird tingly feeling remained for two weeks and it was like every time there was a drop of pee in me it bothered me so much that I had to pee all the time very regularly. In the end I realised it was a strange feeling similar to that of my breasts so finally I turned up at my gyne’s practice and said it had to be removed. They were very good and removed it a few minutes later. I felt relieved as soon as it was removed. I am now back on the combined pill and had no problem having my first menstral bleed this year.

    I feel better within myself, my anxiety has calmed dramatically, my relationship is a world better, I have more energy, that awful, painful, very strange tingly breast and bladder pain has gone, my hair is so much better and my skin is amazing. I also stopped getting bad tension headaches which I noticed I developed much more when I had the Mirena.

    I do not want to post on here to be really negative about this form of contraception. However, if you are deciding to use this form, I would just read up on it first before you just make a decision like I did. My mum had it and it worked fine for her so I thought it would be okay for me too. Turns out it wasn’t. However, I am 26 and have not had children and some people do say that it does not suit people who have not had children. I also had it put in under some local anesthetic as I have a sensitive cervix and have not given birth. This was very expensive, however I wasn’t to know it would not be suitable for me personally. I do know of a few other girls my age who love it so I am not going to completely bag this at all.

    I would say just read up on it and think hard about it before you make a decision. I don’t think any contraception method is without some side effects or perfect, although the Mirena did sound a bit too good to be true with no periods etc!

    Anyway I wish you the very best of luck if you do decide to go for this

    Mel :)

  4. Szilvia says:

    Hi Sheena,
    I am so happy to find your blog, especially discussing mirena side effects.

    I have had it for 3,5 years now, and will go in the evening to get it removed.
    I was looking for some stuff on the net to convince my doctor too that maybe my suspicion was more than just a bad feeling about mirena. I am from Hungary, and I think the experiences of using mirena cannot be compared to the experiences in the USA, as we dont have had it here for so long, and the price is rather expensive for an average salary so there are not so many “users” of mirena, I guess.

    With your post and the comments together I am more convinced than ever that I have to do it!
    I just hope that all those problems that I have now will stop or at least fade and will be forgotten soon.

    Thanks for your post, I know now that I am not crazy.:-)
    (sorry for the mistakes, my English is not the best)

  5. stephanie says:

    I can’t believe this thing.
    I had my mirena in 4 years exactly. That whole time I did not notice much as far as side effects though. Not at the time, anyhow. Looking back on it now, especially since ive had it removed, it did make my libido go to zilch. It did up my irritabiliity, zap my motivation, make me feel generally like crap and not like myself. I know this now, because since having it removed i’ve gone back to “normal”. I forgot what normal felt like, that messed up state became my new normal..

    The thing that caught my attention was the panic attacks. The day after my 26th birthday, at 11pm I went upstairs to go to bed, wasnt tired but shouldve been at that time, you know? I get up there, lay down, and my heart starts pounding and racing in my chest. it got worse and worse very quickly and i went downstairs to talk to by fiance, thinking itd calm me down but to no avail. of course since this was my first panic attack ever it was my worst, because it totally freaked me out which added to the problem im sure but.. i called 911 they got to my house after 20 minutes.. longest 20 minutes of my life!! and treated me like i was having a heart attack, made me eat aspirin my BP was 185/115.. after a few hours in the ER it seemed to just fade away. They did nothing for me there but give me some Pepcid thinking it was Acid or something? and sent me home w/no explanation.

    Well long story short this started occuring more and more frequently. It got to the point where it happened nearly daily. I had maybe one good week a month.. it got its worst about a week before my period were to come, should i have had periods anyhow. i usually didnt with the iud.. but yeah they were absolutely HORRIBLE!! no one knows how scary a full blown panic attack is until you experience it. I got used to it after a while, found ways to cope.. I would lay in bed for hours and play mario on a gameboy to take my mind off of it , stuff like that.. i often woke up from sleep with panic attacks.. every time i got in the car.. the ones while driving were the worst!! i got some xanax from a few various people, they helped temporarily but as soon as they wore off the prob. came back. this was the most miserable I had ever been in my whole entire life, and let me tell you I have been through worse stuff, situation wise. I had no real life “problems” going on, this felt purely physical. I suggested it to my family doctor and obgyn, they basically told me i was silly, it doesnt even reach the bloodstream. I went to a cardiologist because I thought I had some underlying heart problem. The palpitations and pounding and irregularity were insane. And I am only 26! My heart checked out structurally fine after ultrasounds, got no answers from the cardio doc either. It wasnt until I researched this myself online and found that hundreds, if not thousands of other ladies had the SAME EXACT thing happen to them!! i almost cried when i found out. I immediately scheduled an appt. to have that beast removed, though my obgyn is so booked always, I had to wait THREE months. the ER / hospital would not do it for me, i was tempted to just yank the thing myself but refrained. haha well I got it removed Aug. 13th, just over two months ago and the difference is AMAZING!! I feel absolutely back to normal. My libido is veryvery slowly creeping back.. the panic attacks kind of waned down, occuring less frequently and then stopping completely perhaps a month ago or more.. all the badness just went away slowly and gradually, I can only suppose with the slow and gradual removal of the hormones from my system. I still get a random heart palp. here and there, especially when im ovulating i believe, but oh my god. it is so much better. and the breast pain, yea i also read this thing knowingly causes breast cancer?? I am so thankful to god or whomever that I educated myself and got that thing out!! no one helped me in the medical profession, I am now weary of all of them!! we know our bodies best!! I do not know any other explanation as to why this would have happened to me. I do not think there are any other factors in my case. it is amazing. amazingly creepy!! a few weeks ago I told my Family doc about how i removed it and hes like vhaaat? why? i told him i just wanted to.. I said I had some Pills I was going to take. which i did get from my obgyn but screw those!! I do not want to take hormonal BC ever after all of this!! haha but after that he tried to tell me about the Depo shot, and “Implanon”.. a tiny thing they put IN YOUR ARM that releases hormones. sounds like an iud on crack to me, i could only laugh about that one. I dont know if my situation applies to everyone, I think every woman is different and that is the precise problem with this thing. I do not believe it has been studied enough or something. And maybe not everyone will feel relief as fast as i did after removal, but my goodness if youre having the symptoms i had, its worth a try. I read alot of people saying itd get worse before it got better.. i had none of that. I had two bad panic attacks afterwards then it was done, i was better.

  6. Brandy says:

    It’s good to know I’m not losing my mind. I’ve had my Mirena for about 2 months, and so far, I absolutely HATE it. My libido has gone from a little on the low side to non-existent. I am either a zombie or extremely cranky. I can’t concentrate. And now in the past week, a new symptom: visual migraines. 5 in 8 days to be exact. With so many women saying the same thing, why do doctors continue to discount it being the IUD? It reminds me of the way doctors keep saying teething doesn’t cause runny noses and diarrhea in babies. Because apparently this “coincidence” just occurs in countless cases?

  7. Sharon says:

    OMG, I’ve had my Mirena in since February 2012. Since March, my body has betrayed me every way possible! My head aches EVERY single day, my neck hurts, my armpits hurt, anxiety, heart palpitations, body aches in the most bizarre places, and worst of all depression. Ive gone to a psychiatrist, but decided against going back. I’ve gone to see the dentist because of the pain in my neck, thinking my gums were infected, they even pulled my molar, and when I got home, i thought I was gonna die from the pain. It took 1 month to recuperate from all my dental work. I’ve set appt after appt for my Primary Care Doctor asking for tests, I feel like I’m gonna die from some type of illness that seems to progress rapidly, but all my tests are normal. I’ve streamed the web till 2 or 3 in the morning most nights trying to diagnose myself. I got my old Mirena taken out in January after having it in for 10 years. I DID NOT have these symptoms with the other Mirena at all! I’m making an appt first thing in the morning with my doc to get this evil thing taken out! This time around was NO BUENO…..

  8. Now, how do I convince my doctor to remove this thing??? I’m 38 years old plus I do not want more children. I’m sure the first thing she is going to say if I tell her I want more children is going to be something about my age. My anxiety is through the roof, I feel like I just want to die…I have body pains in places I didn’t know could hurt. My breast, underarms, neck, back and head hurt everyday. My boys suffer because mama never feels like doing anything…that’s not fair to them!

    • Sheena says:

      How long have you had it in? Ultimately it is your choice and none of your doctor’s business, yanno? It’s your right to not want to use birth control whether you’re planning for another baby or not. Make something up and get it removed, mama! Tell doc that hubby got snipped ;-). LOL

      • I have had it about 3 1/2 years. I was sick as a dog when I got it, also had serious cramps and back pain. I went to my doctor and he assured me that it would pass and it did but for a while after I had and still sometimes now I can feel a pinching feeling. I have tried to narrow my bipolar symptoms and body pains and issues down to something…even the fillings in my teeth. lol I literally don’t have a life at this point, well…at least not much of a quality of life. My boys are 3 years old and 8 years old and need me. I’m a stay at home mom and I also teach my son at home and it’s becoming harder and harder every day to accomplish his school work.
        How long after you had yours removed did it take for you to start feeling like yourself again? What were your worst “withdrawals” from having it removed? I have always had heavy painful periods and that was one of the reasons I wanted the Mirena…I haven’t had a period at all after about 2-3 months of constant bleeding in the beginning. I spot a little every once in a while now. I’m sorry to overwhelm you with all my questions but I have been looking for someone for a long time who had a similar experience with the Mirena and that it wasn’t all just in my head. Someone I could actually communicate with and not just read their experiences online. Thank you so very much for responding to me!

        • Rosemarie says:

          I have had my mirena for 2 and a bit years and have put up with symptoms because I have not missed the heavy periods. But lately if I do some heavy excerise or even sex (which I never feel like) I get some bleeding. My husband even says he can feel it which the obgyn said is impossible….. Do others think it is worth removing to see if I feel better without it. I am tired and unexcitable at present….

          • Sheena says:

            It is definitely worth removing! Impossible? It is VERY possible for for hubby to feel the string in certain positions. Some women have to come back in to have the string cut a bit more. My husband could feel the string. Definitely a mood killer!

          • My husband can feel the string too. I have had it cut once already. I have also had a pinching feeling where the Mirena is at off and on since I got it, but like you…I love not having the heavy painful periods so I have dealt with the side effects and the side effects that the doctor would not admit to actually being a side effect. After having it for over 3 years I have the bleeding after sex sometimes too. I have an appointment on October 30th to have this thing removed! Not sure what form of birth control we will use…will just have to see what happens after the removal. Hopefully I will get my life back…I have so many of the side effects/issues listed on this page…all but 1 or 2.

  9. Nat Marie says:

    It’s a good thing my clinic ran out of the Mirena the day I was supposed to get it.

    My sister suggested an IUD because of the set-it-and-forget-it factor. I spoke to my doc about it, and told me there were two version, the 5-year and the 10-year. Now I knew for a fact that at 26 (when I had my daughter), I wanted another baby, but not for at least 3 years but DEFINITELY not when I’m 36, so I picked the 5-year IUD. When it was time to get it in, they ran out. Yes, WTF, I know. Anyways, we opted for the implant, which was 3 years (perfect, my daughter would be about 3 and it would give us enough time to decide if we want another baby in 3 years).

    Implanon it’s called–it has no estrogen, but it has another hormone in it; forget which one it is. Now, I’ve always been anemic, so having no periods (except for one 2-week period since having it in–it’s been almost a year) is a blessing in disguise. However, I’m suspecting that my depression, which I used to be medicated for, is worsening, and my libido is suffering, and this may be the cause. I’ve heard horror stories about BC, which is why I didn’t have any other than condoms (non-latex, yay for allergies!) until after my daughter was born. But now I know that I dodged a bullet when the clinic ran out. I can deal with the libido loss to an extent. Having all those other symptoms…no thanks.

  10. Katie says:

    Congrats on the baby news. I feel like I just read my life story…that is for the past year atleast. I was just wondering how long it took you to feel back to “normal”, if there is such a thing, after having it removed. I am trying to find the light at the end of this long, nightmarish tunnel.

    • Sheena says:

      Thanks!! You know, results may vary. I can’t exactly pinpoint it, but I began to cheer up within a month after having it removed.

  11. Leilani says:

    Thank you SO much for posting this. I know it’s an old post, but I’ve had Mirena for 2 years and have many of the symptoms you listed above. I never imagined it could be a result of my IUD. To be honest, I didn’t do much research on it after I had Isabel. I simply chose it because it was something I didn’t have to worry about daily or monthly. Now I plan to schedule an appointment with my doc and have it removed.

    • Sheena says:

      Yea, I didn’t research it much either. I just knew that I’d forget to take pills, I didn’t think patches were effective, and there was no way I was going back to depo. My Gyn set me up telling me I’d get the IUD with no hormones (paraguard), but when it came to having it done (I had to go to another office), they gave me the Mirena…

      I’m happy you are having it removed, you are in for GREAT relief!!!

  12. Tonya Williams says:

    I first want to say Thank you so much for posting this and informing everyone of these side effects! I have had my Mirena in for about 8 months. I just started putting this all together and researching today. Not long after I got my IUD put in, my mental state has gone down hill. So far down hill, that I too have had to start seeing a therapist. It started Easter morning, with heart palpitations that I still have to this day. Sometimes they are so severe it causes me to have a panic attack. I had an EKG done and then an echocardiogram done. They found nothing wrong and blamed it on anxiety. I have anxiety so severe that I cant sleep, feel overwhelmed, cant remember anything anymore. I dont even recognize myself anymore. My mind is completely messed up and I was afraid I had “lost it” and was going to have to be put on medication. This new information gives me hope that maybe I can get back to normal if I just remove this. I go tomorrow to therapy and I will talk to her about it. I dont think any birth control medicine can be good for you, its just not natural. I was hoping for something that would help keep me from worrying about becoming pregnant, but had I known this all would have happened to me….I would have never gotten it! I can say the only thing good that came from this is the heart palpitations and other problems helped me quit smoking. I smoked for 15 years, and I put them down cold turkey in one day. That was almost 4 months ago and Im thankful for that! Again, thank you for opening my eyes to this potential cause for my issues :)

    • stephanie says:

      this is me exactly holy smokes!! I too quit smoking cigarettes due to this too (panic attacks and heart palps), after smoking for 9 years. So At least we got something good out of this right!! I had my mirena removed 2 months ago and feel awesomely amazing :)

  13. Katie says:

    I found this through I Rock So What. I am going to the gynecologist this week to complain about my Mirena. I was so excited to have worry-free BC for 5 years, and for months I ignored the obvious symptoms/side effects. Everything you underlined (horrible acne, back on anti-depressants, but add a 30 lb weight gain) applies to me. I really hope my doctor is understanding, but it is my experience that they never want to blame the medicine. Thanks for sharing!

  14. Emilie says:

    This post is making me feel a bit better about getting paragard instead. It was hard to think about having a heavier menstrual cycle but I was really against the potential side effects of using hormones so I decided to suck it up and deal with it. Glad you have it out and of course are expecting your next child. Congrats girl! :)

    • terri says:

      Omg thank you so much for posting this I too have had the marena for 2.5 years and in the last say 3 months my emotional state has gone down I take what ever people say to heart I find myself crying over the smallest things I have started to get all of the above side effects and Migraines Hair Loss Acne and irregular bleeding being the worst. I am booked in tuesday to have it taken out as I can no long live with my moods being all over the place and stuggling to control it. I t makes me feel so much better reading the above.

    • Sheena says:

      Thanks Emilie! Paragard seems like the way to go, but since it lasts so long, I won’t be using it until I know I am done having children… the thought scares me though, I’m really not too thrilled with having anything else inserted up my girly bits, lol!

  15. Stacy says:

    I had issues with Depo years ago. The only solution that works for me is abstinence. I’m not too sure what to do when I decide to get in a relationship. Four kids is enough for me.

  16. What about paragaurd?

    • Sheena says:

      I hear that is an option, but you bleed heavily during your monthly cycles. I was supposed to be getting that, but the docs flipped the script and gave me Mirena, probably because it was cheaper. After Mirena, I’m not too fond of having anything lodged up in my loins though, lol.

  17. michelle says:

    Hi ive only had my mirena for a little over a week. so far ive gotten a bacterial infection (went to the dr yesterday to confirm. and i havent had sex) the dr did say i could get them every month or every now an then.. . and now im just sitting around like a zombi. I keep daydreaming. i was talking to my daughter and just staring into space. she said mommy your in lala land. i havent wanted to get out of the bed this week. i even kept my children home from school for two days!!! i just didnt want to get up. I had my tubes tied so im using it for heave periods. My dr started me on the pill and i was sick for about 5 days do i stopped it, i researched the mirena and almost didnt get it. Dr keeps saying just give it 6 months. but if this just gets worse and im going to have a smelly area every month or so i just want to take it out. but i dont think she will…

  18. I am so glad you did this!!!! IUD was horrible for me, horrible… But pills were worse, I dot blood clots. Why does birth control have to be such a pain?

  19. Kay says:

    You just opened my eyes to a lot of things. Especially birth control. I have tried several. Especially THAT depo shot. It was a catastrophe. Girl…I’m just going to stick with condoms. Safer! These days every medications comes with side effects. You cure one thing and end up with ANOTHER illness. I’m done!!! lol

    • Sheena says:

      So true! No matter what medication you take, you’ll probably end up having to treat its side effect. pfft

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