I use the word “decided” very loosely here. I didn’t want something permanent even though I knew we were done. I didn’t do any research, I just thought this option sounded great when my doctor explained it. It was a little rough to put in, I had horrible cramps and basically couldn’t get out of bed that day. It was definitely enough pain for me to think that I never wanted to do that again. But after a few days I felt OK.
What is the mirena IUD?
According to its manufacturer: Mirena® (levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system) is a hormone-releasing IUD that prevents pregnancy for up to 6 years. Mirena can also treat heavy periods for up to 5 years in women who choose an IUD contraception.
The hormone released into your uterus by the IUD prevents pregnancy most likely by:
- Preventing sperm from entering the uterus, by thickening cervical mucus
- Sperm movement is inhibited so it’s more difficult to reach and fertilize an egg
- Thins the lining of your uterus, making it unlikely for an egg to attach to the uterus
It’s unknown exactly how these actions work together to prevent pregnancy.
Planned Parenthood observed a 900 percent increase in intrauterine devices since 2016. The IUD is 99 percent effective and almost fool-proof. Once inserted, it works prevent pregnancy from 3 to 12 years. You don’t have to remember to take a pill every day. Periods become lighter or even obsolete when using the IUD contraception. (7)
It’s basically a dream come true. Right??! Well that’s what I was lead to believe. That couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Here are the most common Mirena IUD side effects:
- headache (√)
- depression (√)
- low libido
- nervousness (√)
- acne (√)
- skin disorders
- weight gain (√)
- pain (√)
Fast forward a few months. My husband kept telling me my moods had changed, that I was snappy and grumpy. I didn’t really feel it myself but I believed him. I had a newborn, I was tired and well, we all know how important sleep is. Of course I was moody! But then things got worse. I kept having bad thoughts and feelings. Like really bad thoughts and feelings. I couldn’t sleep anymore, I was having panic attacks all the time. It was hard for me to carry my baby without having visions of me dropping her or worse. I finally went to the Dr. and got diagnosed with postpartum anxiety when my baby was 9 months old.
I also got super emotional all the time. You know that kind of emotional you get when you’re about to start or when you’re pregnant? That kind of emotional, you know…commercial crying. Not to mention I’ve been so fatigued that all I think about is a nap. I always thought it was because I had a newborn and a 2 year old but that’s just not the case anymore. They both sleep fine and I get enough sleep to where I should function normally. I get up and do bootcamp in the morning so I should be fully energized and ready to go.
Sherry Ross, M.D., an ob-gyn, women’s health expert and author of says, “If you mess with your hormones, and you have the potential to mess with your mood. How exactly the Mirena changes your mood, and how intensely you feel the change, depends on your unique body chemistry.”
“Some women report feeling more even and stable while others report an increase in depression and anxiety, she says. It might be worth it to keep careful notes after the insertion, tracking any changes in your mood. Talk to your doctor if you feel like it’s affecting your mental health.” (5)
Around the same time I noticed I started breaking out. Yea, I’ve had the occasional zit, but nothing like what I was experiencing now. Deep cystic acne that left scars. It was painful and embarrassing. I hated it! I couldn’t keep it under control. I went to my dermatologist and the first question she asked was If I had an IUD. All hormone IUDs are progesterone based, and that’s linked to androgens and can indeed cause acne. I’m having the worst acne of my life now that I am on Mirena. I was put on an antibiotic and prescribed some lotion to help get it under control.
All hormone IUDs are progesterone based, and that’s linked to androgens and can indeed cause acne.
“Hormonal IUDs can actually cause acne,” says cosmetic dermatologist Dr. Michele Green.
Acne is a well known side effect of IUDs like Mirena, Skyla and Liletta.
If you’re already prone to hormonal breakouts, you may be more affected. In particular, if you already experience breakouts before your period.
Cystic acne around the jawline and on the chin is also a common report. (6)
One of the other side effects I suffered was severe bloating, to the point where my hands and feet felt tingly and my stomach looked like I was 6 months pregnant. Very very uncomfortable.
According to Singlecare, hormonal IUD’s are associated with an increase in water retention. The hormone progestin may increase water retention that causes bloating, typically adding about five pounds. The amount of weight gained will vary from patient to patient, but any water retention will likely go down three months post-insertion.
Hormonal IUD’s are associated with an increase in water retention.
Dr. Ross often hears complaints about lower belly bloating. This recurring side effect isn’t on the official list, although it’s something a lot women experience. This may be because of progesterone’s natural muscle-relaxing properties, making your gut a bit slower. On its own, this isn’t much to worry about. But if you experience a lot of pain with it or severe constipation, call your doctor, she adds. (4)
Cramps and break through bleeding
I also had very bad cramping and bleeding and even clotting on and off most of the time. I had no idea when or what my period was. I basically destroyed all my underwear because I’d bleed so unexpectedly. It kinda made me miss the predictability of my period, even though one of the “benefits” of Mirena is supposed to be light or no periods.
It may take the body several months to get used to an IUD. During this time, you’re more likely to experience breakthrough bleeding, also known as spotting.
Women who use hormonal birth control often experience breakthrough bleeding, particularly if they have recently switched contraceptive methods.
While copper IUDs prevent pregnancy without the use of hormones, hormonal IUDs release a contraceptive medication called progestin, . Both types cause changes to the menstrual cycle, and any such disruption may lead to breakthrough bleeding. (1)[ps2id id=” target=”” rel=”noopener” data-ps2id-offset=””>(1)
If you have a hormonal IUD such as Mirena, the first three to six months you might experience heavier and irregular bleeding. (10)
Since January I’ve been on a strict diet. I was doing wonderful at first. I lost about 15 pounds and was happy. I finally got down to my pre-pregnancy weight but my body still looked totally different. Remember how I mentioned that major belly bloat? Yep, I still looked pregnant. No one even noticed that I lost a little weight. I honestly don’t understand that part. Was it ALL in my stomach? I thought you lost weight from all around your body, not just one spot. My stomach definitely went down but not even close to my pre-pregnancy belly.
Then I just stopped losing weight. No matter what I did I could not get under a certain weight. I was working out at home (BeachBody) and still sticking to my strict diets. I even did an entire 6 week Isagenix challenge. Scale didn’t budge. I figured something had to change. I need to become even more strict. I signed up for a 6 week trial period of Fit Body Bootcamp. I got even more strict with my diet. I lost 2 pounds and was motivated enough to sign up for Bootcamp year round. Good for me, right? I’ve been doing Boot Camp for almost 4 months now and still no weight loss. I know I’ve probably gained muscle and I know I’m stronger but that’s another post for another day.
Everything I’ve read about Mirena and weight gain made me believe that was happening to me. Even if I wasn’t truly gaining weight, I certainly wasn’t losing it.
Since Mirena and other hormonal IUDs use the progestin hormone instead of estrogen, some patients may experience weight gain or hair loss due to lower estrogen levels.
Any IUD weight gain is likely not an increase in body fat, but instead an increase in water retention, according to experts. The hormone progestin may increase water retention that causes bloating, usually adding about 5 pounds. The amount of weight gained will vary from patient to patient, but any water retention will likely go down three months post-insertion. This weight gain is mainly due to the hormone progestin that causes water retention and bloating. (4)
UPDATE: Weight loss after IUD removal is possible! I went on to lose about 20 more pounds and feel much better about everything in my life!
Mirena IUD removal
I tried to get it out 3 and a half weeks ago but guess what…they couldn’t find it. Yep, you heard me right. They could not find it! I don’t know what happened when they tried to find it but I feel like they jolted some hormones right out of it and they released into me. I’ve been cramping, bloated, feeling really emotional, extremely fatigued, breaking out…pretty much the same as I’ve always felt from it but on a different level. Soooo…because they couldn’t find it, I had to have some sort of procedure where they numb me. Not too excited about that but I just wanted it out. Today was a success but now to wait and see if I experience the dreaded Mirena crash.
What’s the Mirena crash? Mirena removal side effects…
Of course, any time you stop taking any hormonal birth control (not just IUDs), there’s the possibility of experiencing symptoms similar to those associated with the crash. There’s a sudden change in the amount of hormones in your system. The Mirena releases a small amount of synthetic progesterone, which will thicken your cervical mucus to prevent sperm from meeting up with one of your eggs. (8)
Symptoms of the Mirena Crash
It’s not uncommon to have one or more symptoms or side effects after the removal of an intrauterine device. These are especially prevalent after the removal of hormonal IUDs. Among the most mentioned in women after the removal of the IUD are:
- Soreness of the breasts
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- A reduced sexual drive
- Runaway emotions
- Disinterest in many normal activities, and
How Long Does the Mirena Crash Last?
It’s hard to say how long the Mirena crash will last. It really all depends on how long your hormones to return to a normal balance. The sooner the better obviously. For some women the crash only lasts a few days, while others report weeks or months. Medically speaking, there is no way to tell. (8) A sudden change in the amount of hormones in your system can cause a crash.
Mirena may sound like the perfect birth control solution and for some mamas it may well be… BUT please know what to expect after removing your IUD. Do some research, ask around and make sure that this is the birth control method that really is for you. Think about every step from the insertion, the side effects you might experience, the IUD removal and the crash. Is it worth it? I don’t think so, but it’s up to you to decide.
(1)https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321394 (2)https://omr.bayer.ca/omr/online/mirena-pm-en.pdf (3)https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/27928678 (4)https://www.singlecare.com/blog/iud-weight-gain/ (5)https://www.womenshealthmag.com/health/g19674342/mirena-side-effects/ (6)https://www.michelegreenmd.com/ (7)https://www.mirena-us.com/ (8)https://www.dolmanlaw.com/mirena-crash-lawyers/ (9)https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/mirena-iud-removal-side-effects (10)https://www.healthline.com/health/birth-control/cramping-after-iud