My Mirena Story

I hesitate to tell my story about my experiences with Mirena.  I hear so much vitriol hurled in their direction that I don’t want to serve as further ammunition.  I genuinely feel that while I had a negative experience, that my story is a rare one, and that Mirena is one of the better contraceptive options available today.

I chose to use Mirena after the birth of my daughter in 2008.  My obstetrician at the time advised a 10 week wait time before insertion to give the uterus time to return to normal as well as the cervix.  I found the insertion process to be painful, but within a day or two I was fine.  I had the occasional break-through bleed for 1-2 days at various points throughout the two years that I used it.

I did find it odd that I had a long (5-7) day bleed in November, but didn’t really think anything of it.

In early December, having arrived at the decision that my partner and I were ready to move forward and have a second child, I chose to have the Mirena removed.

Two days after removal, I had began to bleed.  The first day was a light to moderate bleed, and nothing that seemed out of the norm for me.  Day two was a heavier flow with some clots, but again…nothing out of the realm of “normal.”  It wasn’t until day three when things began to worsen, rather than improve or stay stable that I began to feel concern.  By day five, I was soaking through a pad about every two hours and each time I sat down, large clots (alarmingly large…easily the length and width of my index and middle finger held together) were passing.

I had called my gyn (not the same doctor that inserted it…I was living in the US during insertion and now live in Singapore) to report my bleeding and express concern.  I was metaphorically patted on the head and told that I was imagining/exaggerating the extent of my bleeding.  This just isn’t how Mirena works, or what women experience after removal, I was told.  I fired him.

I searched for, and found another gyn, and was able to get an emergency appointment.  She too, at first, thought I was exaggerating, but did a pelvic exam and seemed quite concerned about the clots she had to clear just to visualize my cervix.  I was sent for an ultrasound, which showed I had grown a very thick endometrial layer within my uterus and had several large potential polyps present (in the analysis done later, it was shown that they were merely large clots).  An emergency D&C (dilation and curettage) was scheduled for the morning.  This was reassuring, as I was officially hemorraghing by this point…I was soaking through a pad an hour, passing large clots, and was beginning to feel the strain from all the bleeding.

I’d had a D&C in 2007, related to a miscarriage, so I knew what to expect (which is good because no one felt the need to review the procedure with me, unlike in the US where they went over it at least 3 times).  I did not expect to have to beg and scream and cry for painkillers, which led to more than an hour wait before the pain was treated such that I didn’t want to pass out.  This is the opposite of the vicodin I had poured down my throat once I regained consciousness in the US.

Within two or three days I felt fine, and my uterus has returned to normal.

What I find disturbing is the lack of information that Mirena provides on this as a potential reaction.  I do not doubt that it’s rare..rare enough that the gyn here said she wouldn’t hesitate to put me back on it after a second child’s birth, which I was surprised by.  But I do think that even if it’s a 1 in 10,000 reaction, that there should be some admission by Mirena to that effect.  I’ve certainly found enough anectdotes online to indicate that it’s hardly as rare as 1 in 10,000 (a number I’m just making up.).

I have had some truly frightening experiences in my life, so I would not rate this as “the scariest,” but my partner and I were genuinely frightened by the hemorraghe.

In the service of educating others about contraception and their pluses and minuses, I feel it only right to share my story.

One Response

  1. Thank you for sharing your story. It is true that studies focused on understanding the side effects of Mirena often have trouble putting precise figures on how many complications there are and how many women have been affected by them. Many of these studies point out that the most serious and severe side effects associated with Mirena use often occur to about 1% of women and yet, there are thousands of stories from women who have experiences as traumatic as yours or even moreso. Whether the manufacturer Bayer knew about these side effects and did not say anything or did not know and thus, implies that they were inadequate during safety tests is equally frightening and forms the basis for many of the personal injury suits against them at this time. I also liked that you tried to remain objective when sharing your story instead of claiming that “since your story was true for you, it must also be true for others”. Too many fall into that trap, despite numerous anecdotal evidence supporting their own opinions. There may be many cases where the majority of women do not in fact experience the same severe side effects you did and simply chose not share their stories since, if everything goes according to plan or normally, there usually isn’t much reason to share or take notice.

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