Let’s get real for a moment. This is something I want to share with others who are looking for their information on the Mirena. I want to share my story in detail so I will be explicitly talking about my vagina. Lest this serve as your warning.
I got my Mirena inserted on January 31st of this year. I chose the Mirena, out of all possibilities, because of the praise and recognition I’ve seen it receive in various different places. My Mirena is my first IUD. I’m not one of those who has “tried them all” and couldn’t find something I liked.
I was 14/15 when I was put on Ortho Tricyclin Lo for no other reason than to curb my ovarian cysts. It was just a happy benefit (to my mother) that it was also helpful in preventing pregnancy as I was “sexually active” at this point (I had had sex once, I wouldn’t call it sexually active at all). Nonetheless, my mom worried, of course.
I was AWFUL about remembering to take it. I’d go weeks without taking it and then take one and repeat the cycle. My mom would make me set an alarm or remind me and I’d say, “yeah, okay.” and forget about it. The pill was not for me.
When I was 17, I received the Depo shot as I headed off to school hundreds of miles away from my mom and boyfriend. As my CMA teacher said, “That’s the thing about the Depo, you either love it or hate it.” At first I hated it. I received my first dose the week of October 4th (2008). I was due for my next dose at the end of December/Early January. I was home on vacation and received my shot in my doctor’s office. I went back to school and I started bleeding.
Now, I had always had a heavy flow. There’s no way to describe my first few days as anything other than a murder scene. I’ve ruined sheets, underwear, clothes, towels. First thing in the morning was the WORST. After staying horizontal all night, my vagina would fill up and there was no way to get out of the bed without the dam giving way. I’ve had to hold/push my overnight pad against myself to try and retain as much as I possibly could so I could get to the toilet. This always left me having to shower to clean up. There were always plenty of clots, not big ones, just many. It was disgusting and sometimes worrying.
After my second dose of the Depo shot, I bled continuously for 3 months. There was no stopping. At times it was super heavy as was usual for me but the majority was slightly less than that. Non-stop bleeding. Now, I’m living in a dorm, that thank god had rubber sheets to protect the mattress but I was ruining clothes left and right. My bi-weekly allowance was spent buying pads and tampons. Not to mention, my mother was sending me them and money. As if that wasn’t bad enough, there was this awful odor that I can not describe as anything other than this rotten, putrid smell. You know how you can smell your period every once in a while and fear someone else can and you always run into a dog that confirms that suspicion? Yeah, well, that fear turned to confirmation and humiliation when my roommate complained to an RA about the odor coming from my closet, which was my hamper. I was told I wasn’t washing my clothes. But I was, almost daily at this point.
I spoke to the nurse at the wellness center who couldn’t have been less helpful. There was nothing she could do. I had this nagging feeling that as soon as I received my next dose, it would all stop. I just knew it. I just had to wait it out.
After 3 months of non-stop bleeding, (I’m not exaggerating, it didn’t stop even once which you would think would be dangerous but I never felt tired or not normal and more so than I would any other time on my period) my time came for my next shot. I will spare you the excess details about her not having any in stock, and returning EVERY. SINGLE. DAY for 2 weeks hoping she would that day. I received my 3rd dose and the next day, my period was gone. I never received it again during my 4 and half years on the shot.
I couldn’t tell you if I gained weight or not. I mean, I did but I wasn’t actively trying to keep it off so I don’t know if that was my fault or the shot. It also happened slowly over 4 years.
I went off the shot in December of 2012 for lack of insurance. My period returned in either June or July of 2013.
End of January of 2014, I got the Mirena inserted.
I was scared. I won’t lie. The first thing the doctor asked me was whether I wanted her to attempt it or if I wanted to wait until my period started and came back since I had not had children and she didn’t think she could insert it easily. I hear a lot of people say that some doctors won’t insert an IUD on a woman who hasn’t had a baby yet. My doctor never said anything about that. From what I’ve found, these doctors’ decisions is based on false information. It was rumored that women who used an IUD had an increased risk of pelvic infection or infertility. This is not true and if you find a health card provider who refuses to give you one, get a second opinion. In this day and age, information is so easy to come by, just make sure it’s correct and you have legitimate and factual sources. Do your own research and be confident in your decisions. That is not to say that your doctor is always wrong, either.
She had no problem putting it in. I, however, experienced the WORST cramps I’ve ever had in my life during the procedure. I wasn’t brought to tears but I was damn close. I had light cramping for 2-3 days after, very light. I couldn’t even complain because they were minuscule in comparison to the ones I had in the doctor’s office. The passed and around day 7, what I was told to wait until, I had my first orgasm since the procedure. This brought the cramps back, but when I called my doctor, she said it was normal. It happened a few more times but it did stop.
I went back to have it checked to make sure it wasn’t expelling or had been expelled because this can happen. Andrew and I had used condoms in the meantime as a back up. Everything was fine, luckily, and at this point, I was happy with my decision.
My period is almost non-existent. If I get it, it’s so light, in volume and color, that I barely need a liner (but I wear anyway to protect my undies). You have no idea what a relief it is to go from a flowing river to a rain drop.
I don’t remember if it was Mirena or Skyla that has 3, 5, or 7 year protections but my Mirena is good for 5 years.
There is a downside, of course, and it would be a waste of a post to not mention them here.
Number one, which I knew going in, was that your partner may be able to feel the strings. This was the biggest complaint I’ve seen and it was something that I mentioned to my doctor. She preemptively cut them for me. I wish I could say that worked. There are times where I’ve stabbed Andrew, luckily IT’S ANDREW, so it doesn’t kill the moment. We’ve found different positions that avoid it, usually, but the only thing I can do is wait until they “curl up” against my cervix.
Number two seems to be only happening to a small number of people based on my own research. That odor came back. It’s not nearly as strong smelling and it only happens during my 3-5 day periods and goes away as soon as the blood does. It sucks but I *can* stand it. He has never made a mention of it (which could either be the truth or he’s just being polite) so I can’t tell if it’s just seems worse to me. I’m expecting my period to get lighter and lighter until it’s gone completely but that may not be the case. I’m just hopeful. If it stops, the odor will too. I can only wait and see.
I’ve spoken to my doctor who tried to tell me it was old blood. The nurse at the Wellness center had told me the same thing. That doesn’t make sense. I don’t find that to be a suitable reason. What would make sense was if I had not had my period for a while and suddenly did. Old blood? What old blood? I’m still having periods monthly.
Regardless, I’m happy with my Mirena, overall. It was the best choice for me. I’m baby-free for 5 years and I don’t have to worry about missing appointments or filling prescriptions. It was inserted and I can forget it until it’s time to take it out.
One thing that is advised but I have yet to do, mostly because, we also use the pull-out method, is to take monthly pregnancy tests. I do advise that for people using the Mirena do this, for obvious reasons.
If you have any questions about my experience with Mirena, don’t hesitate to ask. However, I’m not a doctor and I can not help you with any side effects or inquiries you have about your own body, please see your doctor.