Friday, 8 January 2016

My Experience With The Mirena Coil

Today's post is quite a raw one but it's something I wanted to share. These are only my experiences with the Mirena coil, I know many have had no problems at all but I hope this might help someone. Herein follows a lot of talk about menstruation and it might be upsetting to some.



In May I changed my birth control from the Depo injection to the Mirena Coil. I'd been on the Depo for 2 years and it worked great for me, except I had osteoporosis and it makes bones denser,but we'll come back to that. When changing contraceptives, I consulted my GP and she recommended the Mirena coil. To be honest I didn't have many options left, because of my illnesses I can only take certain contraceptives- the mini pill did nothing to control my cramps and bleeding and I'd tried Depo, so onto the next one.

The Mirena Coil is a little T shaped device that is inserted directly into the uterus and releases small amounts of hormones into your uterus. Trust me, any Doctor that tells you women feel "mild discomfort" on insertion is feeding you bullshit. To get the coil into your uterus, you're given an injection directly into your cervix, this dilates it and can make it contract (On the website this is described as "an antiseptic solution", its needle). They then have to get the inserter 5 cm into your cervix, as mine would only allow it to go 2 cm's I had to referred to a GP- DO NOT allow your Dr to keep pushing as this can perforate the uterus. I've heard stories of easy insertion and good for you if you had one, but mine was not easy, it was possibly one of the most painful experiences I've ever had and I bled heavily with cramps for a week after. 

For the first few months, I thought it was great and any problems and changes in my body I put down to other illnesses (god knows I've got enough!), I thought I'd found the perfect contraceptive. but looking back now it all makes so much sense. The cramps disappeared for a couple of weeks but they came back every few weeks and were as bad as ever, I was treated for water infections a few times but nobody ever even thought about taking my coil out.  In August I was even admitted to hospital; I was dizzy and had a temperature, my uterus was in constant cramping state, it was treated as a pelvic infection caused by the coil but it wasn't took out, the scans at hospital found a cyst on my right ovary but I was told there was nothing to be done.


Over the next few months my body went through major changes, I don't know why I didn't associate the two but every single one of these is a side effect of Mirena:
-I completely lost my menstrual cycle then now its came back I get it every 8 weeks for 10 days, 
-I have very heavy cramps so much so that I take codeine nearly every day
-My moods have changed dramatically- I've been sucicidal, I cry pretty much every day and my anxiety is through the roof.
-I get headaches and migraines every day and my vision is blurred sometimes.
-My boobs constantly ache, so much so that I barely wear bras anymore
-I'm nauseous a lot, particlarly after eating, leading me to lose 2 stone. And even when I can't eat I feel bloated.
-Vaginal discharge, inflammation of cervix, vulva or vagina.
-Pain during and after intercourse- again I got this before but it was increased and my sex drive was very inconsistent. 
-Anemia- I was even given pills for this by my GP and they never connected it with my coil.
-Hair loss, skin irritations and back pain- I put these down to my other illnesses but all tests showed these were under control.

In November it all finally snapped it place and it was only because of seeing Elle tweet about the constant boob pain she was in and how this was related to the coil, I hadn't even thought about it before. As someone who is on a lot of medication and reads everything before starting new treatment, I couldn't believe that I'd allowed myself to just take my GP's word for it. And that's the thing I'm seeing in a lot of Mirena cases, most women are sold the Mirena coil as a wonder contraceptive and never fully told of the risks. I raised my concerns next time I needed to go to the Dr, again with another UTI, and was brushed off yet again. So next time I went to see my Lupus consultant I brought it up with her. Her main point of confusion was to why I was taken off the Depo in the first place, I told her that it was the bone density risks with my osteoporosis, to which she explained that my last bone density scans were taken 7 years ago. So there may've been no reason for me to be taken off it in the first place. I had new scans and was supposed to discuss different contraceptive plans in the new year, and that takes us to this week.

By this point, aches and pains, in my lower abdomen are a pretty standard thing, but on Sunday it got worse than it had been since the aforementioned August hospital trip. I could barely walk and even had to use my cane in the house. The best way to describe it is that it felt like something was crawling around on my uterus. I knew I needed that thing out of me. Sick of being fobbed off by my GP surgery I went over their heads and went to my local sexual health clinic, they did my second insertion as my GP couldn't do it safely, And honestly I wish I'd gone there in the first place. I had a quick consultation, got up on the bed and plop it was out of me. I'm still in quite a bit of pain as the removal is a bit painful but I hope it'll get better. 

Looking back at it now, I feel stupid when I think of all the warning signs I had and didn't connect the dots. The thing with Mirena is that it's billed as the perfect contraceptive and  for some reason GP's seem to believe this. I'd greatly recommend doing your research before decding if Mirena is right for you and if you are on it and notice any bodily changes keep a log and persist with your doctor. You know your body better than anyone. 

I really hope mine goes back to normal for me 


If you've also been affected by the Mirena coil or this post has resonated with you, please consider signing this petition for more research into the effects of the contraceptive 

22 comments :

  1. Such a horrible story, I feel so awful for you! Hopefully it'll get better soon! The only person I know is ok with their coil is my mother but every other story I've heard of it is horrific! I'm on the pill and I don't think I'd ever go off of it unless it was needed of me to. I know no matter what though I don't think I could ever try the coil! Hope you start feeling better soon!
    Shona x

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  2. Oh god :( I feel pain just reading this. My Dr constantly tries to get me to switch from the pill but after research / talking to others, I decided that staying with the pill is best for me. Your story mirrors one of my close friends; she has many health problems due to a thyroid disease & her Dr advised to switch from the pill to the coil. When she got it fitted, she was rolling around in bed in agony for well over a week. I wish doctors were up front about how painful this contraceptive is & give people info on side affects. I hope your body settles down soon xo

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    1. Oh gosh I hope your friend is ok now. I agree its ridiculous that they don't give you all the facts up front.

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  3. Oh my goodness - I feel so bad for you reading this. What a horrendous experience and I feel like you've been let down :-(

    My GP is really all for the coil as well. I was having horrendously heavy periods for around a year with no break and they said this was the solution. In the end they got better themselves so I didn't have to go down that route - really pleased I didn't after reading this!

    I hope things are a little easier for you now it's out lovely and take care of yourself xxx

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    1. Like I say, some people have great success with it but I'd seriously recommend doing a lot of research before getting it

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  4. Any time that a doctor says "you're going to experience mild cramping," I know to expect the worse. I'm sorry you had such a terrible experience with Mirena. Thanks for sharing your story.

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    1. It's like "sharp scratch" when they take blood, liars!

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  5. This is TERRIBLE! I could go off on a rant about how it's SO unfair to be a woman at times... but suffice to say, the treatment you received was absolutely despicable. Nobody should be in that much mental and physical pain as a result of others' mistakes. I am so glad that you were brave enough to get this out there, I really hope it helps other ladies who are suffering and reminds others to think past the 'wow yay contraceptives are always awesome!' view that we're often given.

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    1. Unfortunately this is quite a common treatment of women with the coil. Thank you so much for your kind words

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  6. Wow I really can't believe your GP ignored the signs!! I had the Mirena coil fitted years ago and still remember the intense pain from when it was inserted - something they really didn't warn me about! I couldn't walk for at least a week due to the pain but after it subsided, I had no further complaints. Removal of the first coil was pretty much pain free, although it took me 6 months to find someone willing to remove it!! I now have my 2nd Mirena fitted but had to go under anaesthetic for the insertion due to the positioning of my womb. A few weeks later, I was sent to see my local nurse just to check all was well when she announced that she couldn't find the damn thing. A scan showed that the coil is still fitted but it's not visible to my GP etc which worries me no end as it obviously means I'll be back under anaesthetic to have it removed *sob*. Apart from that, I haven't had any problems with mine. I guess everyone is different but personally, once this one is removed, I certainly won't be having it again! I really hope you manage to find some contraception which is more suited to you and thanks for sharing on a subject few dare to broach :)

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    1. They lost it?! Jesus I hope they can remove it!

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    2. That's my worry but I just keep thinking that if they managed to get it there in the first place, they should manage to get it back out again ....here's hoping anyway! :O

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  7. I had the coil, it was fine for about 2 years, then I started getting awful stomach pains, I thought my appendix had burst. The GPs thought it was IBS, then my friend noticed the pain happened every month. I had the coil out and about 4 months later,the pain had completely gone.
    An ultrasound scan showed a massive pocket of blood but by the time I had my laparoscopy, it had gone. I'm convinced it was due to the coil.

    Holly ∣ Closingwinter

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    1. That sounds terrifying! Im so sorry it happened to you. I shall report back in 4 months then

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  8. My friend just got the coil and she said she was in so much pain when they put it in and she's not dealing too well with it atm. I have the implant because I don't have to deal with it for three years or so and it comes out this year for a replacement. I don't think I could deal with having the coil in to be honest, I'm no good at dealing with having things inserted into places, I cried when I had the implant in my arm!x

    Mollie Victoria Beauty | Blog

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    1. My friend Laura did a similar post on the implant that you might want to read, but I'm glad it works for you. http://www.lookatmyclothes.co.uk/2016/01/getting-personal-contraceptive-implant.html

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  9. Hi Rachel, you poor love! I have Fibro and had similar probs. First 3 months were okay, then on the debilitating cramping pains and feeling so ill, plus swollen and bruised boobs. I was told my body was having a bad reaction to the Mirena and it had to be removed at hospital. The pain was excruciating but my body settled a bit. The trouble with us spoonies is, we are so sensitive and reactive, the sooner the med profession take not of this, the better understood we may be.
    Sending you hugs and sorry you have Lupus lovely. Will be adding you to follow.
    Heidi x

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    1. Thank you so much for your kind words, because of my illness I can only take certain contraceptives but that was literally all they took into consideration. I hope you're ok now

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  10. Ah this sounds horrible!! I have considered the coil but have heard that it hurts a lot in insertion like you say which has put me off. Luckily, I have hopefully now found a pill which agrees with me. I hope you find something better and you can get back to normal! x

    Jasmin Charlotte

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  11. That sounds fucking horrible! I know the Mirena has been lauded recently as "the wonder contraceptive" or "the contraceptive gynaecologists use themselves", which is pretty harmful IMO. No one's body is the same & to try to claim there is a one-size-fits-all-uteruses (uterii?) isn't just wrong.

    I was on the Pill for 2 years and couldn't hack it. I don't like bandying the word around but it made me crazy. Irrational fear of pretty much everything, depression, anxiety, you name it. And also I put on about 2 stone. And lost all sex drive. So yes, it was effective as contraception because I had zero desire to fuck anybody! I decided to change to the Mirena because I'd heard that it helped with particularly vicious periods, and because quite frankly if I stayed on the Pill I would have probably killed someone (quite likely my GP).

    I found the actual insertion of the implant painful but not unbearable, and for the first few months all was fine and dandy. I started getting pretty bad cramps but nothing I hadn't experienced before with my sometimes hellish periods. So I thought to be safe I would go to get checked out - turns out the damned thing had moved! Is my uterus that inhospitable that even my contraception is making a bid for freedom?

    This year was my 5 year switchover, but because I'm a dozy cow, I was a couple of months late for it (we don't get reminder cards). Well, silly me, I'd had sex with someone during that window, and the absolute ABUSE I got from my GP was horrible. She refused to check it or take it out and replace it, but she DID make me feel like a useless human being because I'd had sex with someone who wasn't a long term partner. To be clear, she didn't give a toss whether it was protected sex or not. I left the doctor's surgery in tears.

    I ended up phoning my boss to take the rest of the afternoon off, and when I explained why, he was so outraged he arranged for the company to pay for private medical care to remove the damned thing. I spent the next 2 weeks waiting for my outpatient appointment, with the freaking thing still inside me, mocking me. Luckily it turned out I had somehow just lost the wee strings attached the Mirena sometime in the last 5 years and they took it out without a problem. I did have to get a general anaesthetic for the procedure, and my boss did have to shell out mucho cash for the surgery. But all is well in wonderland now thankfully! Thus ends my long winded response to your great post. xxx Lucie

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