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.