tardistime2 (tardistime2) wrote in iud_divas,

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Mirena 4-Year Experience

Oh hey there, Divas! I've been actively reading the awesome posts in this community since my Mirena insertion in 2009, and have finally decided to contribute my experience/story before I say goodbye to my little contraceptive pal here. My experience has been fairly positive, thanks in part to reading the helpful posts here, but overall uneventful, so my story might be useful for someone looking for a good middle-of-the-road experience.

[Why I Chose Mirena] I'm 25, NP, and in a LTR (dating for 7 years, and tying the knot this October!). I began using the pill at 18 largely to manage my super heavy painful periods, and used it effectively as BC from 19-21 without any major issues (except when I tried Yasmin for a few months - crazy mood swings!). After graduating college, I researched long-term BC methods and finally settled on Mirena after reading several posts on this community. I was used to hormonal BC, wanted to avoid pregnancy for several years, and wanted to reduce or eliminate my periods, so it seemed like the best bet.

[Insertion] My Ob/Gyn scheduled an appointment during my period week and prescribed me two pills: one to soften my cervix (ahem, NP), and one to calm my nerves. I took the cervix one the night before the appointment, and the only effect I felt was a slight feeling of dizziness/faintness that hit all of a sudden about 45 minutes later. I sat down and the feeling passed. The next morning I took the anti-anxiety pill an hour before my appointment, which my doctor instructed me to do, along with some ibuprofen. I explained to her that I tend to psych myself out when I have blood drawn and end up feeling faint/squemish, so she said an anti-anxiety pill for the procedure should help keep me from tensing up or freaking out during the insertion. The whole office visit took about 20 minutes tops, and the procedure itself was just a few minutes. She explained the whole procedure and we talked for a bit, then she got to work. She prepped my cervix with some iodine, then there was a pretty terrible pinch/sting feeling, which only lasted a second. The most uncomfortable part for me was the sounding, which only lasted maybe 15-20 seconds tops. There was an uncomfortable clamp-y feeling for a little bit, then I felt a 'ka-ching', she quickly snipped some strings, and removed the tools. Done! My doctor told me during the consult that she had done dozens of IUD insertions, and I could tell by how calm and confident she was during the procedure, which made me feel good about the overall experience. (if anyone in the Cleveland area wants to know who I went to, let me know) She let me hang out for a few minutes before getting dressed and leaving. When I walked back out into the waiting room to my boyfriend for a ride home, he asked if they had rescheduled it, since it was so quick!

[Getting Used to My Mirena] For the first two to three days after insertion I was incredibly bloaty and full-feeling. I felt the Mirena's presence at any sort of jostle, such as my car going over bumps or if I sat down too hard. The discomfort went away after about two weeks (ibuprofen and a heating pad helped a TON), but the bloaty feeling was the worst. It lasted almost two months, and kind of just went away slowly. During this time I was hella scared that my IUD would expel or perforate my uterus, but then again I'm a worrier. I attempted sex about 6-7 weeks after insertion, but we were both too nervous to really enjoy it, and the string feeling creeped him out. I went back in twice to get my strings shortened, so now they're barely noticeable for him. After about three months I felt back to normal, or better!

[Pros] For some reason my mood improved a ton, in that I feel more even-keeled and less mood-swingy than I did on the pill. My periods changed a lot, mostly for the better. In the first year I used a regular pad for a day and then only panty liners, but years 2-4 I have only needed panty liners. I have very little actual bleeding now, mostly (TMI) just dark maroon little clots and a tiny bit of blood. This spotting lasts like 10 days (bummer) but it's just a minor nuisance now. Menstrual cramps went away after 6 months. The absolute best thing about this Mirena is peace of mind, in terms of efficacy. And even though I used to take the pill religiously at the same time every day, I still love not having to thing about my BC. Cost-wise, my insurance covered most costs. I only paid $200, much better than $30-$50 every month for pills.

[Cons] My cramps have been getting worse in the past few months, so much so that I feared perforation one time. I realized that I hadn't checked my strings in over 6 months, but after a very nervous afternoon of feeling around I finally found them and all was well. I've gained weight since my insertion (about 10 lbs), but that is mostly because I was more active in college and now have a desk job. I had acne as a teenager but managed it using Proactiv so that it got down to maybe one flare-up a month. After the Mirena insertion, my acne came back with a vengeance, and my skin now alternates between super oily and super flaky/dry. Both my Gyno and dermatologist agree that it's from leaving behind the BC pills, and I've been able to get it down to a dull roar with lots of exfoliation and getting back on the Proactiv-wagon. I consider the acne to be the #2 downside to my experience, because it affects my everyday routine. The biggest problem, and the reason I'm saying goodbye to Mirena, is my diminished libido. I used to have a much higher sex drive before Mirena, but it's now pretty nonexistent. In addition, I can't have (TMI?) rougher/more vigorous sex because any good bump against my cervix makes me cramp up. The Mirena isn't noticeable during sex until then, and unfortunately that situation tends to happen right when I'm really starting to enjoy myself. These side effects are all relatively minor though in the grand scheme of things to me, so I'd say that Mirena has been a 90% positive experience.

[Saying Goodbye] I've decided to get my Mirena removed a few months before my 4-year mark mainly because of the diminished libido. I'd like to start our marriage off on a good, frisky foot, so this seems like the best choice for me. I'm going to go back to using oral contraceptives. I'm not glad that I'm switching to a less effective BC method, but I've had a good run with my IUD and feel like it's the right time. My SO and I have no desire to have children at any point really, so I'm going to revisit the IUD option in a few years probably.

I hope my ramblings were helpful to someone out there! I'll post a follow-up after my removal next month.
Tags: insertion, iud lifespan, mirena, no kids (nulliparous), periods, sex drive, updates long term

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