A Whirlwind Romance: My Year with a Mirena IUD

About a year ago, I got a Mirena IUD.  Last week, I had it removed, and good lord, it was none too soon.  Here's my possibly-TMI story about my year with an IUD.  (Uhhh, seriously, stop reading if you don't want to hear a lot about my no-no.)

First, about the IUD.  From the Mirena website:

Mirena (levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system) is an intrauterine contraceptive that delivers small amounts of hormone directly to the uterus. Made of soft, flexible plastic, it is put in place by your healthcare provider during an office visit. Mirena is birth control that lasts as long as you want, for up to 5 years, and is also approved to treat heavy periods in women who choose intrauterine contraception. Mirena works continuously, without having to take a pill, without a daily hassle. Once Mirena is properly placed, all you have to do is check the threads once a month. Your healthcare provider can show you how. If you have trouble finding the threads, be sure to use a backup form of birth control and call your healthcare provider.

My choice to go with an IUD had a lot to do with the fact that a) I always forgot to use other birth control consistently and b) it was 5 years of birth control for a one-time, $30 co-pay.  Awesome, I thought, sign me up.

(In some ways, I was a fortunate patient to have a doctor who didn't give me too much grief about getting an IUD.  Most younger women who are single/unmarried will get a whole lot of opposition from their doctors for one reason or another..."You need to be in a monogamous relationship,"  "You need to have had a child."  And while doctors do have their reasons for voicing these concerns (there is a small risk of uterine infection for women with multiple partners, the IUD goes in easier for women who have had children), it is important to note that any adult woman can get an IUD.  So, if you do your research and decide that an IUD would be in your best interest, find a doctor who will help you.  Heck, even Planned Parenthood will set you up with an IUD, so you have options if your doctor is initially resistant.)

My doctor explained the above risks, gave me a brochure, and we set a date for insertion.

And holy balls...she forgot to tell me that I'd be in the worst pain of my life for a full thirty seconds.  Well, honestly, that was my mistake.  Had I bothered to really do my research, I would have found that most women find insertion to be incredibly painful.  In fact, for most women, it induces a full-on contraction.  And there you are...it's just you, your paper gown, your tears, and your awkward (but sweet) gynecologist who likes to say things like, "Oop!  And here's a little pinch!" 

Pinch, my ass.  A-hem, you know what I mean.

Afterwards, I got all teary and then went home and laid on the couch and was crampy and achey.  But honestly, I was actually pretty good for about the next two months.  I stopped having a period (bonus!), and I didn't have to remember to take stupid pills or refill a prescription.  And then, boom, I fell off the emotional edge.  I was sadder than I'd ever been, I could barely get out of bed, and everything felt off.  I traced the way I was feeling back to getting the IUD.  I hadn't felt super depressed before I got it, but if I really thought about it, I could see how I went into a steady decline after I got it. 

I went back to my lady doctor to let her know I thought the IUD was messing with my mind.  She said she didn't think that could be the case and that I should see my regular doctor.  I saw my regular doctor and explained about the IUD.  She immediately said, "I just had a patient last week who said the same thing!"

Errr, whaa...?  Hm...coincidence?  Probably not, but in my altered state, I decided to keep the IUD, because hey, at least I wasn't having a period, right?  So I went on meds for my depression.  (I don't regret that decision, BTW.  I wasn't myself, and the meds helped me get back on track.)

As the months went by, I found that even with my depression medication, I was still having one week a month where I PMS-ed.  The cravings, the mood swings, bloating, even stabbing cramps, I had 'em all, but still I persisted with the IUD.  I also started having issues with my vaginal pH (holla!)...I never felt (or--sorry, TMI--smelled) right down there.  Then in July, I started breaking horribly out like a moody, Justin Bieber-loving, Team Jacob teenager.  My skin has always been pretty nice, but no, in my thirties, I looked like I should be doodling on my notebook while worrying if I had something in my braces.  And still, yes, I kept the IUD.

The last straw came this August, when one morning I woke up with a severe pain that steadily radiated from my uterus up into my abdomen.  I could only curl into a fetal position and moan as the pain continued to come in waves.  And then I puked my guts out because it hurt so bad.  And then I laid in bed all day, weak and pukey and crampy and pissed off.

I finally started doing the research about the Mirena IUD that I should have done in the first place.  When I say that THOUSANDS of women have similar, if not worse, complaints about Mirena, I am not exaggerating.  Holy balls, that sealed the deal for me.  I called up my gynecologist and made an appointment to get the sucker out.

As if I needed any more evidence that I had done the right thing, I felt almost an immediate improvement in my body and mood once it was out ("out" was much less painful than "in").  I began sleeping better, my poor brain felt like it was walkin' on sunshine, and even though my body began immediately regulating itself back to its normal cycle, I still noticed a marked improvement over the last year.

Well, there ya go.  That's my whirlwind romance and subsequent break-up with the IUD.  I'm actually laying off the old contraceptives until I do more research.  And heck, after a year of bleh with synthetic hormones, maybe I'll stay off birth control for the forseeable future. 

(NO, I don't want a baby.)

I guess all that to say, I should have done more research, and I shouldn't have excused symptoms because I was happy to not be taking a daily pill. 

Do any of you have an IUD.  Have you considered getting one?  (Pssst...sorry for all the, er, details.)