/ / Why I Decided to Get My Mirena IUD Removed

Why I Decided to Get My Mirena IUD Removed

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)

Break outs

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)

Severe bloating

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)

And finally…

Weight Gain

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:

  • Nausea
  • Soreness of the breasts
  • Pain during sexual intercourse
  • A reduced sexual drive
  • Irritability
  • Depression
  • Runaway emotions
  • Fatigue
  • Anxiety
  • Disinterest in many normal activities, and
  • Insomnia

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.

Wrapping up

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.  

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Sources:

(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

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15 Comments

  1. Oh my gosh, this sounds like you have had a horrible experience! I am glad that I read this because I have thought about getting an IUD instead of continuing to use hormonal birth control pills. I read a lot of mixed reviews about IUDS. I am so sorry that you had to endure such a horrible experience with it. I don’t think any form of birth control should ever give you horrible side effects, but apparently our bodies just don’t like the foreign invaders. I hope your procedure goes well, and that you find a better method.

  2. Great post about all the side effects that birth control can have. Not just Mirena. I got Mirena right after my youngest was born (he’s 9 now). The first year or so was great for me. Then I started getting stomach pains like I had never felt. Went into the dr and they told me I had an ovarian cyst. But it wasn’t very big and they weren’t worried about it. I’d just have to deal with it. I a few cysts here and there through the following years and one night I all the sudden felt a pop and then followed by excruciating pain. Felt like I was in labor. With cramping and everything. I went to the emergency room and they discovered that I had an ovarian cyst that burst. By that time, nothing they could do, just gave me some pain meds to deal with it. All through this process, they never said anything about the cysts being caused by the IUD, they said it was more than likely due to stress, which I was going through a separation and divorce at the time – so yeah, super stressful. Fast forward to when it was time for me to remove it. I decided to get another one, because it was awesome not having my period, no cramping and no other side effects besides the sporratic cysts. Got the 2nd IUD inserted. Everything was great for a few months. Then multiple cysts. So I decided to get it removed because I couldn’t do the cysts anymroe. The dr went to remove it and just like you, couldn’t find it. So I had to be put under to have it removed.

    I have found that not only has Mirena caused issues, every other form of birth control I’ve had issues with. It causes a serious hormonal imbalance that just isn’t natural and I’m now of the belief that birth control does far more harm than good. My hubby recently got snipped so I am so close to being birth control free and I seriously cannot wait.

    1. Kirsten, I am so sorry to hear that! Thank you so much for sharing your experience. I agree with you on the hormonal imbalance. After my ordeal, my husband got clipped too and I’ve been feeling sooooo much better these last few months! Take care <3

  3. Thank you for sharing your experience. I’m thinking about getting it removed this week. I’ve had my IUD for a year now and almost like clock work my mental health has gone crazy. Anxiety, depression, mood swings, loss of interest and weight gain 🙁 I’m going to see what she says but I think being off birth control for a little bit might help to just make my body normal again. My husband and I aren’t ready to have kids though so I’m a little worried about having a child.

  4. Hi Ladies, I have a question about this horrible device. Since I just got mine in, not even a month. I have already started to undergo some stupid experiences from this. I was put on this to control my fibroids and heavy bleeding because the gynaecologist refused to listen to me, that half my mother and grandmother suffered with this and had hysterectomies by age 40. I am 37. Anyway today is the last straw I went to the washroom I had a huge bowel moment ( I know TMI) and went pee but was wiping a way little tiny pieces of metal. Know I know the Marina doesn’t used metal in the actual b
    Part inserted in the vagina but is there any on the string? Where would this metal becoming from? Does any one know is this normal the gynaecologist is removing it as soon as I see them on my follow up appointment for all different reasons but this reason especially I don’t know what to make of this? Any advice did you ladies come across this?

  5. Thank you for this article! I experienced the exact same things. In addition, I was breastfeeding when I had mine put in. I asked if it would hurt my milk supply and I was told no. Guess what? Yep, my milk dried up completely over the next several months despite taking all the natural supplements that are supposed to increase milk supply. I had BF my two previous children without any supply problems. My daughter BF for over two years! But with my last one i couldn’t even make it to 9 months. I’ve had it in for almost 2 years and I’ve gained so much weight! I’m going to try to have it taken out ASAP.

  6. Hi, I was just wondering how you’re doing since you got out your IUD? Did your skin clear and belly bloat go away!? I got horrible cystic acne from mine and noticed a few months ago that I’m always bloated, no matter what I eat, so wondering if that’s caused by the IUD too. I got mine out 3 days ago and not much difference but I guess these things take time, I’m just very impatient!

  7. I got mine removed 2 days ago (after 4 years) and I already feel different. I had some normal pre-mirena light bleeding today, like my body is shouting “thank you for releasing me back to the normal wild!” I too had extreme difficult losing weight-usually something very easy for me, but it just wouldn’t budge on Mirena. I too, had horrendous pustular acne. Never 100% ceasing, constantly waxing and waning, awful. I am still so grateful we have this option. Is it safe? Definitely. Is it the best option woman-kind will ever know? God, I hope not. Praying for the day we find a better solution but still I’d get it again in a heartbeat if needed. Ah…it’s beautiful being a woman, but honestly, it also sucks.

  8. I got my IUD in March 2020 and gained about 30-40lbs in about 3 months. I got it removed in September 2020 due to painful, recurrent ovarian cysts. I also experienced back, chest, and face acne that won’t go away. And weight loss… yeah, I have tried dieting, exercising 5-6 days a walk with walks, and I can’t seem to lose anything. I am around 125 at a healthy weight, but I am 160 and I can’t seem to lose a single pound no matter what I do. I don’t believe in the diet industry anymore (as I realized it is not only unhealthy but extremely detrimental to my mental health and my relationship with food) and rather I practice intuitive eating. I don’t think starving yourself is the answer to weight loss. I just feel hopeless and want to feel healthy, strong, and comfortable in my body again. Today I’m experiencing ovarian pain, nausea and bloating. I had the IUD for less than a year, but even months after getting it removed I’m experiencing symptoms. I never had ovarian cysts before the IUD but now they won’t go away. Also, when I had the IUD my emotions were a train wreck. Overall, the Mirena was absolutely awful for me. I haven’t been able to have sex without extreme pain since I got the IUD inserted, which is the whole reason I got it in the first place! 10/10 do NOT recommend.

  9. Thank you! Had mine for 3 yrs, 1st yr was completely fine. Then slowly started gaining about 12lbs no matter what I ate (raw vegan) and hard workouts. Started developing cystic and skin acne after clear skin my whole life. Told my gyno and she swore it’s impossible, as iud should help with acne & doesn’t cause weight gain. It’s BS.

  10. I had the mirena in and it cleared up my acne, and eventually my periods stopped completely!! But I found out I had cancer so they had to remove it and now I have the paraguard, my periods are heavy but regular, I have had a few ovarian cyst but nothing major, but I’m looking into getting it took out, because they recalled it, scary thought to know what I have in me was recalled… But thanks for your experience sharing..

  11. I have had two Mirena IUD’s. The first was placed when my daughter was 8 weeks old. That was in place for five years. The second was placed immediately after the first was removed. In thinking back, I’m pretty sure the first one contributed to my postpartum anxiety (panic attacks, insomnia, etc.). I just had the second removed: I was on my third year. I felt the need to be off hormonal birth control (almost 42: done having children).

    The last one was taken out just over a month ago. Frankly, I feel 💯 better. I’m no longer bloated and shedding hair! Interestingly, my new doctor had a very progressive opinion: he felt the IUD was leading to some hormonal imbalance. Every doctor I had worked with, before, said this was impossible: the device is works “locally”. Sorry, not convinced. It’s in your body – the hormones clearly get absorbed.

    I was fortunate enough to not experience a Mirena crash (or, if I did it wasn’t horrible). All I can vouch for is how much better I feel – week by week.

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