After 16 years of birth control, 7 of them being an IUD, I had my Mirena removed and I’m off the “junk” (not THAT junk, the hormonal junk). I’m not quite sure what to expect over the coming days, weeks and months but I’m so thankful to be done with this. I didn’t want to believe that everything I had been feeling was due to the Mirena but it was all too coincidental.
After I had my daughter 7 years ago, we were pretty sure that we weren’t going to have anymore kids but, but not 100% so after talking to my OBGYN we decided that the best option for birth control was going to be the Mirena. It was the best choice because had a boy and a girl yet, we were only 24 years old and who needs to be making major life decisions before 25 right?
I had my first Mirena inserted at my 6-week post-partum appointment after having my daughter. I didn’t have any serious discomfort or pain afterwards, which I thought was great because I had done research and heard horror stories about how painful it was to go in. What I didn’t expect was the 3 months of daily heavy bleeding and the 3 months after that of daily regular bleeding. Once the bleeding subsided around 6 months, I said goodbye to all tampons. #PraiseJesus.
Five years came and went without any major problems (I had some weight issues, but I’ll talk more about that below). I didn’t have a period, I didn’t have to remember to take a pill every day, and I was feeling pretty good. I called like a good little patient when I was getting close to my 5-year mark to have my IUD removed and IUD number 2 inserted. From that day it all changed.
I have no idea what caused me so much pain that day, whether it was the removal of the 1st IUD, the insertion of the 2nd, or a combination of them together in one day, but I’ll never forget it. I hopped in my car and drove maybe a mile and a half before I couldn’t breathe from the pain. I should’ve known that day that this IUD was not going to go as smoothly as the first. I didn’t really notice any major changes at first (and of course I was nervous about bleeding again with fresh hormones pumping through me). But it didn’t take long for symptoms to start.
Stomach Pains & Nausea*
Nausea sucks, and I started noticing that I wasn’t just feeling “off”. This nausea felt like morning sickness. This was the beginning of many wasted dollars on pregnancy tests. I was convinced every time that I was that 1% that got pregnant with the Mirena. The nausea would kick in and last about two weeks. I wasn’t having cramps, I was having stomach pains that were sharp and felt like I was being stabbed in the side. I had 2 different ultrasounds to check to see if there was something more serious going on (family history of fibroids and endometriosis) and each time, nothing was found. I left with no answers other than maybe I was having cysts and the pains I was feeling were the cysts bursting.
Breast Tenderness & Soreness*
This isn’t just your typical “oh it must be time for my period that doesn’t actually happen” breast soreness. This would be so uncomfortable for up to 2 weeks that I would only feel comfortable wearing a sports bra (and I’m not blessed with a chest that “bounces” much) or holding my chest because they hurt so badly they could bring me to tears.
*these symptoms could definitely be attributed to my body having a “period” or PMS, but the symptoms would last anywhere from 2-3 weeks and begin again 2-3 weeks later.
Oh the night sweats. I woke up multiple times freezing my ass off, but drenched through my sheer tank top, pillowcase, sheets, and comforter.
Lack of Libido
Lets just say – nonexistent. No need for detail there.
Thankfully I am blessed with a head full of thick wavy hair. But when I can take actual clumps and handfuls out of my head with every wash, then comb out enough hair on my floor to cover a small child there’s something not right. Thanks to my Shakeology it grows back pretty quickly, but it’s still disconcerting to lose that much at one time.
Moodiness, Anxiety, Depression
I will start by saying I’ve never been clinically diagnosed with any sort of mental illness (mainly because I haven’t come forward asking for help). But the change in mood swings from sad all of the time to a down right bitch have been much too common. There would be nights that I would distance myself from my family and lock myself in the bedroom because I couldn’t be around anyone. I felt like an awful mother, like I was failing them, & not living up to what I should be as a mom.
If I could have slept all day, I would have. This wasn’t just “oh I’m tired I didn’t’ get enough sleep last night” tired, it was zero energy and exhaustion. There were too many days to count that I would get the kids to school and go immediately back to bed until noon. The exhaustion coupled with feelings of depression made me feel even worse as mom.
Difficulty Losing Weight / Weight Gain
When I had my first Mirena I didn’t expect to drop my baby weight very quickly because I was breastfeeding for the entire first year and I wasn’t one of those moms with either child that just magically lost all of the weight while breastfeeding. However, after I weaned my daughter I was actively working out and eating fairly healthy with zero change in weight. It wasn’t for lack of trying either because this was the time that I began my business as a Beachbody Coach and laser focused on my fitness. Slowly, I would lose a few pounds here and there but it wasn’t anything drastic until 3 months to the end of my 5 years when I joined the PiYo test group. Thinking back, I really feel that the hormones were slowing down at the end of that 5 years of Mirena and allowed my body to make changes during the test group. After getting the second IUD inserted, I gained everything and more back within 3 months. I felt like a failure. I let myself go off of my fitness for a while after that because I had “failed”. For the last 2 years I’ve definitely been on a roller coaster, but I can tell that I’m more bloated now than ever before and it doesn’t go away. For the last 90 days I’ve been extremely focused on my workouts and taking my nutrition seriously (also cutting out 90% of the alcohol I had been drinking) and I haven’t lost a single pound. I understand that my body is in a transition phase building muscle, but it’s a hard pill to swallow when I’m working so hard and not reaping the benefits.
There are a lot of other little things but these are the biggest symptoms and feelings that I’ve had over the last 2 years with my 2nd Mirena IUD. Doctors and research will tell you that these things are not associated with the Mirena, my doctor even tried to say maybe there was something else going on with my body that’s not attributed to the IUD before I had it removed yesterday. But, ladies, lets be honest. We are the only ones that can truly judge how we feel and what is going on within our bodies. I have talked to many mommies over the last 2 years about their feelings on the Mirena as well and I’m not alone. Everyone is different, hell the first one I did nothing but sang praises for this form of birth control. However, if you feel like something is off don’t hesitate to bring it up and if you’re questioned or told that’s not possible, don’t let it go trust your gut and do what you feel is best for YOU.
Today is only day 1 post-removal. Surprisingly I didn’t have any spotting yesterday or this morning. I did have an afternoon / evening of heavy cramping, but the pain reliever that I took cut back on that quite a bit as it was nothing like the first time that I had the removal. I’ve done my research over the last 6 months and I’m aware that a lot could happen to me over the next few months as my body adjusts back to its own hormone levels (praying that I skip over the dreaded “Mirena Crash” that I’ve been reading about). But, all in all I’m ready to move on and to be myself again, after 15 years of birth control do I really know what or who that is? Nope, and it’ll probably be a long road, but I’m prepared to take it. I’ll be sure to do an update sometime in the next 6 months when I can really gauge how everything is going without the Mirena.
Do you have the Mirena IUD? What do you think? Have you had any of these symptoms?
If you are struggling with your birth control or are having any second thoughts, contact a doctor. These are simply my thoughts and what I have been going through. This post should not be taken in context from a medical standpoint, I am not a medical professional. These are only my opinions.