I’ve been on Microgestin Fe for the last 6 months. While it never really made me sick to my stomach, it did manage to make me gain weight (always pleasant, since I also have PCOS), have daily headaches since Day 1, feel puffy and put me through a few days of severe depression every few weeks. Also, my cycle never once synchronized with my placebo week, despite taking the edge off my daily pelvic pain. I wanted to give it a good chance, and I did, but about 2 weeks ago I decided enough was enough.
I finally went to my PCOS doctor, and as I sat in his waiting room, I thought to myself in a chipper way, “OK, this one didn’t work, but I bet the next one will be more helpful.” Then SMACK — I realized there are no more choices, except the ones I don’t want: IUD, Botox and surgery/hysterectomy. After he rattled off a list of new BC to try and I knocked them all back since I’d already tried it — from LoEstrin and Yasmin to Depo Provera and the dreaded Depo Lupron. I was fairly distraught.
So now, finally, my date with the Mirena IUD is approaching — this Friday, August 21 to be exact.
When I was a clinic practitioner, I so believed in my patients’ success stories that I had an IUD lapel pin the exact size of an IUD (which is remarkably small) and was happy to give out tons of info on the different options for women seeking long-term birth control. The Mirena is a flexible IUD that is non-surgically placed into the uterus in an outpatient visit and remains effective for up to 5 years. The difference between Paragard and Mirena is that Mirena also holds a progestogen that gets delivered right to your reproductive system — basically like a perpetual mini-pill for your uterus, so less or none of the yucko side effects that come from an orally-ingested pill.
So what’s my freaking problem?
Short answer: I don’t know.
Despite the rave reviews from former patients as well as friends who have similar conditions, I am having the same panicky feeling that I did before starting Depo Lupron, which was one of the most miserable medical experiences I’ve had. I discussed this with my OB/GYN’s nurse, who also has endo AND Mirena and feels great, and she made me feel pretty good at the time. Now I’m back to — let’s face it — scared.
The rare side effects and possible complications that are freaking me out, in no particular order:
* BLEEDING. You can spot or bleed daily for 3 months or so while adjusting to the hormones and IUD. And that’s just going to piss me right off.
* NOT BEING ABLE TO PLACE IT. Often times your cervix must be manually dilated — very slightly, but still dilated — in order to place the IUD. I’ve only seen one time where the patient couldn’t dilate enough to have it inserted, but still.
* NOT WORKING AT ALL. Pretty self-explanatory.
* EMBEDDING IN THE UTERINE WALL/UTERINE RUPTURE. These are insanely, mind-bogglingly rare possibilities from IUD placement, but if it can happen to me, it often does.
* UTERINE PAIN & GENERAL FEAR. I can’t put it more simply than that.
POSITIVES include wide-spread reports of good experiences of relief with Mirena from others in my situation, the probability that I’ll stop having a period at all on Mirena (and I’m buying everyone cigars and champagne if that happens), it lasts 5 years (if I want it that long), no daily pill to lose or forget, simple to take out if I don’t like it, and it’s way better than my remaining options. The likelihood of success far outweighs the possibility of failure with Mirena.
So that’s that, for the most part. General anger at having to go through ANOTHER BC method and fuck around with my body are on the list too, and it’s less scary for me to focus on being mad about it that to be upset about it. Then again, this is quite literally the very last option for me before they’ll really insist on injecting Botox into my pelvic muscles (which they’re already trying to get me to do and I don’t want to do) and surgery and/or hysterectomy (which I REALLY don’t want to do). I’ve literally tried every other level of hormonal birth control to no avail.
So everyone … what do you think? Am I just being totally nutty? What are your experiences with IUDs, Mirena or Paragard? Inquiring minds want to know!
FMI, if you need it:
Mirena and endometriosis: http://www.endometriosis.org/mirena.html