As outlined in the video, women have several birth control options. One of the methods highlighted was an IUD commonly called a Mirena. As you can see from the hand-drawn picture, the Mirena device easily fits in the palm of your hand. It is small and flexible.
A doctor or nurse practitioner will insert this IUD into your uterine lining. For a period of up to five years, it is very effective as a birth control method. Should a woman decide she wishes to have children, she simply visits the doctor who will pull on the string (somewhat similar to a tampon string – only thinner) to remove the Mirena. Then, the woman reverts to her former fertile status.
That is definitely a pro as a woman would not have to be concerned about birth control. According to the Mirena website (link included below), the Mirena is “Highly Effective—One of the most effective birth control methods—over 99%—and does not rely on you to be effective.”
Obviously, it would not protect against sexually-transmitted diseases. If a woman is partnering with someone with a questionable sexual history, she should certainly also utilize a condom for extra protection.
Another pro is for those women who have extra heavy and long-lasting periods. A Mirena helps a woman have shorter, lighter menstrual flows. With some women, it will serve to keep the woman from having periods altogether.
The cons are rather sobering. Perhaps you hear of women seeking lawyers to litigate the negative effects they have experienced with the Mirena. According to Drugwatch.com:
“In some women, Mirena can cause serious complications, including life-threatening ectopic pregnancy – pregnancy that occurs outside the uterus — perforation of the uterine wall, and a serious condition known as pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). Women who have suffered after using Mirena are pursuing legal action against Bayer Pharmaceuticals, claiming the device is defective and seeking compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering.”
Here is one woman’s experience with the Mirena – namely, the author.
For years, I had very heavy periods lasting eight or nine days. In 1996, I had a five-week period that accelerated to the point that I started gushing blood and had to have an emergency D&C (Dilation and Curettage). As they scraped the uterine lining, they discovered multiple pea-size fibroid tumors that were surgically removed.
Finally, in the summer of 2005, I decided to have a Mirena IUD inserted in the hopes that I would stop having periods altogether for up to a five-year period. Sure enough, after about six months of significantly lighter periods, I stopped having periods. Not only did it work as an effective birth control method, I did not have to deal with menstrual periods at all. I was thrilled! I was going to be able to enjoy this status until the summer of 2010.
On January 7, 2010, I was diagnosed with stage 3A breast cancer. When I found out from my oncologist that estrogen feeds cancer, I made an appointment with an OB/GYN to find out whether the Mirena might prevent the chemo sessions from being fully effective to shrink my 3” x 5” inch tumor.
Long story short, the doctor was directed by the Mirena company to remove the Mirena as soon as possible. I believe they feared a lawsuit. That is when I discovered that one of the least advertised potential side effects of using the Mirena is breast cancer.
CT Scans and ultrasounds revealed that my uterus was up to my belly button. I had a grapefruit size fibroid tumor that was benign. The Mirena could not be removed as it was absorbed inside the huge mass and could only be surgically removed. Given that the fibroid tumor was not life-threatening and the breast cancer was, we had to postpone surgery to remove this tumor so that I could proceed with going through eight chemotherapy sessions prior to getting a double mastectomy on August 11, 2010.
So, the big question is: Did the Mirena cause my breast cancer?
The answer ranges from possibly to a big question mark. In other words, we will never know for sure.
I elected to get a full hysterectomy along with the double mastectomy on the same day. The doctors were not thrilled with this decision; however, it worked out totally for the best.
I am thrilled to say that since that surgery, I am totally cancer-free aka ‘in remission’. I also have not had any other complications due to my five-year period of using a Mirena IUD.
So, should you decide to use a Mirena IUD for either birth control or controlling heavy periods, please read this, do your own research, and make an informed decision based on your gut feelings and your doctor’s recommendations.
- Mirena home page
- Drugs & Medications – Mirena IU
- Mirena Lawsuits
- D and C (Dilation and Curettage)
To see the author’s other articles pertaining to breast cancer, please visit the following page:
- Healing Seeker’s aka Debbie’s journey through Breast Cancer
See Debbie Dunn’s articles on | Women’s Health | School Conflict Resolution | K-8 Classroom Activities | Storytelling Website
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