I had my appointment to have my Mirena IUD removed yesterday and, after a little discomfort and being aware that it had shifted slightly into my cervix, I did a little internet searching about the Mirena and how other women had found it.
I decided that I should share my experience with this little device because the majority of people who post on the forums have negative things to say. It’s always the way, if something goes right, you don’t notice it, but when it goes wrong is when people complain.
As mentioned previously, nearly twelve years ago I had some health issues that required I stop taking the combined oestrogen/ progesterone pill and find an alternate form of contraception. The ‘mini-pill’ was not an option, I am diabolical at time keeping for medications and I would have fallen pregnant a long time ago if I had relied on that method, so I tried the Depo Provera jab. The first time I had it, it was fine. However, the second jab caused heavier bleeding around my period, but I’d always had heavy periods, I just upped my tampon choice to super plus. Then the third jab caused major problems, I bled solidly for nearly 3 months (that’s how long it took to get an appointment at the gynaecologist) by which point it was almost out of my system.
I have no children yet so an IUD was never really a consideration for me, but my GYN suggested the Mirena to help with my heavy periods and wouldn’t require large doses of hormones into my system. I said I would think about it and was given some information to read.
It was very different eleven years ago, the internet was not the vast font of knowledge, added to by the general public, minute by minute, that it is today. My parents were still using a dial-up connection.
I asked my mother for her opinion, but she was still twittering about the problems my ‘aunt’ (her best mate and my quasi aunt) had suffered nearly twenty years earlier with a ‘Copper 7’. Not much help there. I went to my doctor, a fabulous lady who had looked after me since I was tiny but still kept up to date, and she was very helpful. She answered all of my questions and even made me aware that it could be slightly more uncomfortable for me because I had not yet given birth. She gave me all of the pros and cons to think about.
Given my history of heavy periods, my poor reaction to Depo and inability to take the combined pill, I decided to go for it.
I had it placed at my GP clinic, I’d already been advised to take an ibuprofen 30 minutes prior to my appointment and yes, it was uncomfortable. The closest approximation would be the feeling of having my cervix cleaned out with a pipe cleaner, or the feeling of going too deep with your dental floss.
Happy times! I went for my six month check-up and had no problems. My periods almost completely gave up; a bit of spotting every couple of months is nothing to complain about. I made sure I checked my strings every month or so and after two years I met my husband and he kept track of them for me, they weren’t too short, or too long and curled around my cervix quite perfectly. No problems for five years, and no periods either. Can a woman be happier?
Well, yes. Within 2 years I had ballooned from 70kg to 110kg, I’d gained over half of my body weight. I had acquired a regular migraine problem (two or three a month) that I controlled with Migraleve. I had horrible acne that wouldn’t respond to anything, antibiotics included. However, I’d never linked any of these things to the Mirena IUD and neither had my doctor (it didn’t help that by this point I had changed doctors when I moved in with J).
When the five years were up, the hubby and I were planning our wedding for the following year; I weighed the benefits and drawbacks. I listed the drawbacks above, but at the time, I never considered them Mirena induced. However the benefits guaranteed that I would not be accidentally pregnant and not fit in my dress, I would still be blissfully period free and I wouldn’t be a nasty hormonal wreck (me with PMT was a b***h) and J and I didn’t need to abstain (for a year? You must be joking) or return to latex intervention. I have no problems with condoms, but when you’ve been in a long-term relationship and don’t need them, it really changes the game. It also meant that I wouldn’t have to face the stress of having to think about contraception while planning a wedding, and I could guarantee a period free honeymoon (you have to appreciate that).
Therefore, I opted for another 5-year stint with the Mirena. Still no problems (that I actually considered to be a Mirena issue) and still protected from pregnancy.
Until six months ago, when J and decided that this was the time for me to have it removed and we would try for a family. I’m over 30 so we figured it was time. A few months ago I began to get some discomfort in certain “positions” (I’m not going into too much detail here, but you know what I mean) and J was also feeling it.
I found a female GYN here in Cyprus, I do prefer a female gynaecologist because they actually from a personal perspective and because I feel somewhat uncomfortable with a strange man shining a light into my ‘lady-garden’. For some reason female GYNs are thin on the ground.
I made an appointment specifically to have my coil removed. I had a vaginal ultrasound to determine where the Mirena was and its relative position. It had slipped, which was why I (and J) had been feeling some discomfort. It took four attempts before it came free, and once again felt like a pipe cleaner (same sort of texture as twisted wire, and it still makes me twitch). However, because it had been stuck I had a second V. ultrasound to check if it had done any obvious damage. There was no obvious damage done and no discomfort at all, after about 30 minutes. In addition, she checked both ovaries and checked on my Gartner’s Duct cyst.
NB While reading about other women who found their Mirena was “stuck” in their uterus or cervix, I surprised that none were offered an ultrasound at the time. Did I just have a very good and positive experience with my new GYN?
Overall, despite the possibility that my weight gain, migraines and acne related to my having a Mirena IUD, I would say that it has been the best option I could have ever taken.
Admittedly, having a coil when the cervix has never stretched during childbirth is uncomfortable. However, given that the possible side effects that I suffered occur in less than 5% of the women who choose the Mirena IUD, I would recommend it for anyone considering an intrauterine device. I would just recommend that women do their research first.
A Mirena coil can be the answer to prayers when a woman suffers from heavy bleeding, cramps, bad reactions to other hormone-based contraceptives. It is an easy, effective and helpful way of controlling both conception and unpleasant periods.
Obviously, it’s not for everyone, but I wanted to give my opinion and experiences, to further expand the information pool.