Mirena is an intrauterine device (IUD) that releases a low dose of hormones to prevent pregnancy. Many women are drawn to the IUD because it is costs far less than most other forms of birth control. Furthermore, An IUD can prevent pregnancy for up to five years, far longer than other choices.
As with other intrauterine devices, the use of Mirena may result in an ectopic pregnancy (a pregnancy outside of the uterus). An ectopic pregnancy will become very painful as the embryo begins to grow in cramped quarters like a fallopian tube or ovary. The FDA warns that, in any given year, one ectopic pregnancy occurs for every 1,000 Mirena users. For this reason, women with a history of ectopic pregnancies are advised to choose a different form of birth control.
While Mirena’s failure rate is low, less than 1 percent, you still run a small risk of becoming pregnant while using the IUD. Women who do become pregnant during use run a higher-than-normal risk of developing the blood infection sepsis. This is the leading cause of death for pregnant women around the world. If you have a compromised immune system, you should not use Mirena.
An IUD must be inserted by a physician to ensure proper placement. Occasionally during insertion the device may cut the cervix or uterus or even go through the uterine wall. This type of perforation may not be noticed immediately but can cause problems like pain and infection later on, as well as limited effectiveness. Similarly, the device may attach to the uterus, causing complications during removal.
It is estimated that as many as 10 percent of all Mirena users will develop ovarian cysts. While these cysts can cause some pain or discomfort, most often the cysts clear with time and rarely require surgical removal.
Women using this IUD may develop respiratory infections and even sinus infections. Also, before an IUD is placed, your physician will likely ask if you are married or in a committed relationship. This is due to the fact that one of the more common side effects of an IUD is the infection called pelvic-inflammatory disease. Women are at a greater risk of developing this symptom when they take on multiple partners.
In addition to these more serious side effects of Mirena, common side effects include headaches, nausea, abdominal pain, mood changes, hypertension and a decreased libido. Some women also experience migraines, vomiting, hair loss and eczema. If you are looking to get any of these conditions under control, you may want to further discuss your risks with your doctor.