My Experience with the Mirena IUD (and Why I Removed It)

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The Mirena IUD sounded like the perfect birth control – one that you don’t have to worry about for the next 5 years after insertion. Little did I know that the side effects of the Mirena IUD would drive me crazy.

Mirena IUD Side Effects

After my daughter was born, we knew we were done having kids. Physically, we were too exhausted from a lack of sleep and towing the kids around. Mentally, we just could not fathom how we could split our attention more than we already were with two kids.

Therefore, I did plenty of research on birth control before going into my 6 weeks postpartum appointment with the mindset that we did not want more kids. Here are some reasons why I decided on the Mirena IUD:

  1. The mini pill needs to be taken at the SAME TIME every day. Hello? As a mom of a baby and an active toddler, there is no way I would be able to make this commitment. Some days I don’t even know what time it is until my stomach is begging me for food and I realize it’s past 10 PM and I haven’t eaten since lunch.
  2. Female sterilization is just too invasive. There is no time for me to recover with a toddler and an infant, forget what happens if there are any complications.
  3. Copper IUD was tempting, but the potential side effect of a heavier, more painful period just seemed like a horrible idea.
  4. Combination pills (estrogen + progesterone) and Depo Provera shots were out of the question because they may cause a decrease in breast milk supply. Nope, can’t take that risk.

Hence, the Mirena IUD appeared to be the way to go. I talked to some relatives and friends and they all seemed to have a great experience with the Mirena IUD. Therefore, I was excited to go with a birth control method that seems like you can basically get it inserted and forget about it for 5 years (except the occasional checking to make sure the string is still there).

The Insertion.

While waiting for the OBGYN to arrive, a nurse took my vitals and ask the routine questions. When she realized I was getting the Mirena IUD put in, she warned me that the initial spotting may take a while to disappear. Wait what? Initial spotting? ARGH fine I guess for 5 years of trouble-free birth control, I will take a couple of months of spotting. 

But wait …the nurse proceeded to tell me how she got her Mirena IUD a year ago and it took her 6 MONTHS to stop spotting. Holy cow. That’s a very long time. But ok most women only experience spotting for 2-3 months so hopefully, I am like most women. 

Then the OBGYN finally arrived and inserted the Mirena IUD. It was a pretty quick procedure, and luckily, I did not experience an excessive amount of bleeding, dizziness, or pain during and after placement. I did feel some cramping for a few days, but nothing even compared to a regular period cramp. Ok done. Woohoo. That was easy … perhaps too easy? I should have known,I am not that lucky of a gal. 

The Following … Bloody … 5 Months.

Oh gosh. The nurse was not kidding about the spotting. I spotted on and off for the next 5 months, which was super annoying because I had to basically wear pads all the time. Some days were heavier than others, to the point where I got confused when I actually had my period.

Do you know how irritating it is to change pads all the time when you are with a baby and a toddler who need to cramp into the bathroom with you whenever you go?

But one thing I knew … I wasn’t getting pregnant! I am going to argue that the Mirena IUD’s statistics are a bit skewed because it’s not like people are having intercourse anyway during the initial bloody months. You go Mirena IUD, you have achieved 100% effective rate for birth control.

The Happy Days.

For a few months, I thought my period had regulated and I was done with the spotting. My period was pretty normal, no heavier or lighter than usual, and came every month in a timely manner. I thought I was in the clear and done thinking about birth control for the next 4.5 years.

The Spotting Resumed … and Never Stopped.

About 9 months after I got the Mirena IUD, I started spotting again. At first it was very light, so I thought it would go away quickly. However, as time passed, the spotting got heavier and heavier. There may have been a couple of days when the spotting stopped, giving me false hope, but then it came back again with a vengeance.

I ruined so many underwears thinking that the spotting had stopped. I used up so many boxes of pantyliners and pads that I lost count. And the blood just kept coming….

The Mood Swings.

As much as the spotting bothered me, nothing could compare to the mood swings I experienced. Now, most people would describe me as a very calm and patient person. Most of my friends couldn’t even picture me yelling at my kids (oh believe me, as much as I don’t want to, I do). Before I got pregnant, I always knew my period was coming because the day before I would have a migraine and I would feel more short-tempered for that one day. All that’s to say, I am not a very hormonal or emotional person. 

However, on the Mirena IUD, I felt like the Hulk. One moment I would be my normal self, and the next I felt like putting my fist through the wall. The only things I was missing were the bulging muscles and green skin tone. In fact, one time, I was so frustrated that I pounded my hand really hard on the bathtub … and ended up not being able to use my ring and pinky fingers on that hand for a week without extreme pain. And I couldn’t even remember what I was so mad about. 

The biggest concern, of course, was my behavior in front of the kids. When my kids are not being the most obedient humans (and seriously, what kids are?), I struggled to hold back the anger that was waiting to burst out of every fiber of my body. I remember once, my son spilled some water on the floor by accident, and I just snapped at him and lectured him forever. And it was just a little bit of water. That night, after my hormones calmed down, I felt so guilty that I had trouble sleeping.  

After realizing that my hormones were causing my emotions to be unstable, I tried to run away as much as possible from my children when I was being irrationally infuriated. I would either run to an empty bedroom to calm down before returning to the kids, or if my husband was available, throw the kids at him and just go somewhere … anywhere … so that I didn’t show my rage in front of my children. The extreme mood swings, not the spotting, was what led me to make an appointment with my OBGYN to check on the IUD. 

The Disappointing Doctor Appointment.

The biggest concern when my OBGYN heard about all my symptoms was that the IUD had been displaced. However, after checking on the string as well as conducting an ultrasound, the doctor confirmed that the IUD was in the correct position. So the answer to all these side effects was … we DON’T KNOW. Therefore, I was sent home with the hope that my body was still adjusting to the IUD and that I just need to wait it out. 

The Skin Issues.

Remember how I was saying that my periods are pretty predictable because my hormones go out of whack the day before I start bleeding? Well, before the IUD, about once a month I got one or two pimples around the time I had my period. Other than that, my skin was usually zit-free.

However, while on the IUD, I started getting these persistent cysts that were extremely huge and painful. They were not the type of pimple you can pop (you are not supposed to but come on, they are hard to resist). Instead, these cysts form deep under the skin, and for me, they love to form around my jawline. When I got them, I felt like Jay Leno because my chin felt gigantic with these cysts. 

So with the anger management issues and the acne, I was like the Hulk meets Jay Leno. Big, green, livid Jay Leno. Wait … am I describing Shrek before he fell in love and became a nice guy?

The Faux-Pregnancy Symptoms.

At one point, I could have sworn that I was pregnant. I even went out to get pregnancy tests to make sure, though it would have been a miracle baby because there was definitely no action in the bedroom with all the spotting and mood swings going on.

On random days, I would be nauseous and feeling very lightheaded. Although I never got to the point of vomiting, I was dry heaving and even ran to the toilet a few times as precaution. I was also soooooo tired, but it’s difficult to tell what’s the normal level of fatigue for a mom with two toddlers. Some days I felt like the Wile E. Coyote and had chased the Roadrunner for miles, just to have a gigantic anvil on my head. 

I was also experiencing physical symptoms. I LOOKED pregnant. Sure, I was still working on losing the baby weight, but I shouldn’t be looking like I was 5 months pregnant. I was so bloated and uncomfortable the whole day. Therefore, with the way I felt plus the bloating, it was just getting way too difficult to be a happy mom. 

The Ultimate Decision.

After discussing with my husband, I realized … what’s the point of having the Mirena IUD? The whole purpose of it was birth control, and with all the side effects it wasn’t like sex was an option. The way to prevent having more children is interfering with me being a good parent to the children we have, and that just didn’t make sense when there are other choices.

Therefore, I made the appointment and removed the Mirena IUD. The OBGYN concluded that my body and hormones were just not compatible with the Mirena IUD and there was nothing to do about it.

What now?

I have stopped birth control all together for a couple months, then tried the mini pill. Even though I achieved taking the mini pill at the same time everyday (eh … or close enough), about a few months later I started spotting again. My OBGYN said that the mini pill works similarly to the Mirena IUD, so it’s not surprising that I was experiencing similar side effects. Great. Bye bye mini pills.

In the end, my husband and I decided to go the male sterilization route. Instead of messing with my hormones by trying different birth control methods, the physical route of blocking the sperm seems to be much simpler. We are in the process of setting up the appointments to get the procedure done … wish us luck!!!

What are your experiences with the Mirena IUD? Let me know in the comments below!

I thought getting the Mirena IUD meant that I didn't have to worry about birth control for the next 5 years. Little did I know that the side effects of the Mirena IUD will send my life into a tailspin for the next 12 months. #mombrite #mirenaiud #birthcontrol

10 thoughts on “My Experience with the Mirena IUD (and Why I Removed It)”

  1. Your entire article completely explains my literal experience from the insertion, the disappointing doctors appt., mood swings, acne and bloating!

    At first I had to take a second and really think if I wrote this article in the past, and maybe forgotten with my symptomatic short-term memory loss.

    After the insertion, I went back to the doctor due to insane cramping and the IUD poking my partner during intercourse. The doctor checked and concluded everything “seemed fine”, so I decided to give it a couple more weeks.

    More than a couple weeks have passed and I am 10 pounds heavier, spent a fortune on a dermatologist and face medicine fo help diminish my cystic acne, and my bf have never fought this much…. EVER. I think it’s safe to say that I need to get this birth control removed ASAP.

    1. I am sorry to hear that you had to go through all that! Isn’t it crazy what a little IUD can do to your body? When it comes down to it, there are a lot of options when it comes to birth control. If the IUD is making you suffer, then there is no need to continue with it. I hope that things get better for you soon!

      1. Just curious your results after removing your IUD. I’m having similar side effects and end to remove it. My doctor assures me that is not the cause of anything. But my body is telling me differently!

        1. I would advise listening to your body. There are a lot more options for birth control out there and there is no reason to stick with the IUD if you are having doubts. After removing the IUD, the bad symptoms are gone. I stopped having the mood swings and headaches and also no more spotting! My periods returned to normal, thank goodness. Good luck!

  2. I have had mine in for 5years now trouble free and want to go in to have it replaced before the end of the year. However my mood swings are horrible and lately I’m feeling pregnant so I took a test which was negative but this new development have me worried.

    1. That sounded like me! I don’t know how many times I took a pregnancy test even though I knew it was impossible that I was pregnant. It was so weird!
      You may want to talk to your doctor about this. People’s hormones do change depending on your age maybe it was compatible with your body then but no longer? Either way, get it checked out and don’t suffer as long as I did!

  3. I just turned 40 last week. I’m a mom of a 6yr old and an almost 4yr old. I work shift work and have irregular sleep patterns. I commute over 2 hours a day. I always chalked up my chronic fatigue to those things I just listed. And then I’d blame my mood swings and irritability and emotional break downs on the chronic fatigue. My hair has been coming out way more than it ever has. I figured that was just stress from everything else I was dealing with. It wasn’t until within the last couple of weeks that I came across some podcasts about women’s hormones and realized that everything I’m experiencing is hormone-related. Reading stories like these from other women and mom’s makes me feel like I’m not some crazy woman losing her mind. I have a Mirena IUD, going into my 4th year. I’m planning on getting it removed ASAP. My husband had a vasectomy almost 2 years ago so there’s really no point in me being on birth control. I’m really hoping I’ll notice some positive changes after having it removed and my hormones start to balance out more. I’m wanting to go see a Naturopath as well if the removal of the IUD doesn’t help.

    I’m writing to say THANK YOU for sharing your own story. I think so many of us will be able to relate, and it gives me hope that I don’t have to live like this anymore (I’m tired of the guilt and heartbreak of having my children console me and wipe my tears away).

    If anyone has any recommendations on anything I should be doing PRIOR to having the IUD removed, I’d love some insight — I’ve heard that women should consider taking supplements weeks prior to removal or ending birth control, just so your body has a chance to be ‘prepped’ for coming off the hormones from the IUD.

    Trust your instincts and listen to your body, ladies.
    Thank you.

    xox
    Danica

    1. Hi Danica,

      Thank you for sharing your story! I am really hoping that taking out the Mirena IUD will help with your hormone issues. I have to say that after my second child, my hormones really got thrown for a loop. While it never got back to the normal levels prior to pregnancy, taking out the IUD made a HUGE difference. I too plan to see a naturopath when COVID is over to discuss other things that could help with hormone balance. But I no longer experience hair loss, insane mood swings (I still have about 2 days out of the month where I feel more out of control, but not crazy at all), and some fatigue (again, depends on the time of the month).

      You are definitely not alone! I really thought I was losing my mind when I was on the Mirena IUD and can’t believe that I endured it for so long. I feel your heartbreak and sending you a virtual hug!

      I have not taken any supplements prior to removal, would love it if anyone can comment on that. I have gone on and off pills and obviously on and off IUD and ending birth control only made things better for me.

      Good luck with the IUD removal! <3 Keep in touch and let me know if the naturopath helps with your hormone balance. I will keep you updated too once I see one! <3

  4. I have just read your article and I can 100% relate! (Especially with the Hulk part!)

    My side effects started 1 year after insertion. I have never in my life experienced depression, and one morning I woke up feeling the weight of the world on me. A few days later I started my period and it lasted for 30 days straight.

    I went to the doctor and he put me on antidepressants, anti-anxiety tablets and sleeping tablets, all at once. He also prescribed the mini pill to balance out the bleeding. My doctor refused to remove the IUD and felt it would be better to rather “treat the symptoms.”

    Another year passed and I was diagnosed with RA (rheumatoid arthritis). I was 25 years old at the time and my body ached like that of a 70 year old. Whenever I was supposed to have “that time of the month” I would experience so much joint pain that I couldn’t move properly for at least 2 to 5 days.

    My eyesight got bad, I have pimples on my jawline (the watery kind that you can try and pick until it’s raw and nothing seems to come out) I developed skin discoloration patches all over my chest and stomach due to a hormone imbalance, but by far the worst part is most definitely the mood swings! I am always tired, always irritable and always angry, and whenever I’m supposed to have my period, I experience the worst kind of depression any person can imagine. And that for someone who didn’t even know what depression felt like, at all, pre-IUD.

    Living in South Africa, without medical insurance(or medical aid, as we call it) is very problematic. My IUD needs to be removed in theatre, as my doctor had cut the cords too short when he inserted it. That will cost a lot of money (R 9 000.00), just to get it removed. Then hubby and I will have to save up (AGAIN) to have him snipped, because having my tubes tied will cost double the price of him just being snipped. Also, birth control doesn’t seem to work with my body.

    Getting the Mirena IUD inserted was the worst decision I have ever made and I regret it every single day.

    1. Oh my gosh I am so sorry you went through all that! Wow you are so young and went through so much from hormone imbalance. Thanks for sharing your story, I hope it will help women out there experiencing similar symptoms and know to seek second opinions when their doctors refuse to take their IUDs out. My heart goes out to you <3

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