The Mirena IUD is one of three intrauterine devices (IUDs) available in Canada. This hormonal IUD is a long-term birth control solution for those looking for a maintenance-free contraception option. In this article, we will talk about reported side effects such as weight gain and mood changes. We will also talk about Mirena’s pros and cons and what Mirena costs as a birth control option.

Mirena IUD side effects

People using Mirena IUDs have reported some side effects. Most women have a good experience with this IUD while others have faced some challenges. We will break down Mirena’s side effects for you, from common to rare.

Some common side effects of the Mirena IUD

  • Acne
  • Irregular bleeding
  • Pelvic pain
  • Headache
  • Breast tenderness
  • Mood changes

Other side effects and disadvantages include:

  • While inserting: Pain, dizziness, cramping, bleeding, and spotting for a few days after insertion
  • During the first year: Irregular or longer periods
  • Later years: Spotting or irregular periods
  • During removal: Cramping and bleeding
  • Expulsion of Mirena: Mirena may fall out which would mean you are no longer protected against pregnancy. If this happens, you may no longer be able to feel Mirena’s threads or you may experience a heavy period and pelvic pain.

How long do Mirena side effects last?

After getting your Mirena IUD inserted, you may have some discomfort like cramping, bleeding, and dizziness. These symptoms go away within a day or two.

In the first 3 to 6 months of having the Mirena IUD, the most common side effect is irregular bleeding. This will lessen over time and many women stop having periods altogether on Mirena. If you continue to have bothersome side effects for more than a few months, talk to your healthcare provider to see if continuing Mirena is right for you.

10 Mirena side effects you should know about

1) Mirena IUD migration

The Mirena IUD could move out of the uterus and into other parts of the body. This can cause a number of problems, including expulsion from the body, embedment in the uterine wall, and perforation of the uterus. This could be serious, so always check for threads of Mirena every month. 

2) Mirena IUD perforation

Perforation of the uterus is another serious complication that can be caused by the Mirena IUD. This occurs when the IUD pokes through the wall of the uterus, and can lead to internal bleeding, infection, and even infertility.

3) Mirena IUD expulsion

The Mirena IUD can also be expelled from the body. This occurs when the IUD slips out of the uterus and into the vagina. Expulsion can lead to unintended pregnancy, as well as other complications such as infection.

The risk of expulsion may be higher if you have prolonged or heavy periods, have never been pregnant, are younger than 20 years of age, or had Mirena inserted immediately after childbirth.

4) Mirena IUD toxic shock syndrome

Toxic shock syndrome is a rare but potentially deadly condition that can be caused by the use of certain types of contraceptive devices, including the Mirena IUD. Symptoms of toxic shock syndrome include fever, rash, vomiting, and diarrhea. If you are experiencing any of these, go to the nearest emergency department right away. If left untreated, the condition can lead to organ failure and death.

5) Mirena IUD allergic reactions

Some women experience allergic reactions to the materials used in the Mirena IUD. This can cause a range of symptoms, including itching, swelling, and skin irritation.

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6) Mirena IUD pelvic inflammatory disease

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) is a serious infection of the reproductive organs that can be caused by the Mirena IUD. Symptoms of PID include fever, abdominal pain, and vaginal discharge. If left untreated, PID can lead to infertility, ectopic pregnancy, and even death.

7) Mirena IUD weight changes

The Mirena IUD may cause weight changes in some women. This can be due to a number of factors, including changes in eating habits, hormonal changes, and water retention.

8) Mirena IUD headaches

Headaches are a common complaint among women who use the Mirena IUD. The cause of these headaches is not yet known, but they may be related to the hormones released by the IUD.

9) Mirena IUD depression

Depression is a potential side effect of the Mirena IUD. This may be due to the hormones released by the IUD.

10) Mirena IUD ovarian cysts

The Mirena IUD may cause ovarian cysts in some women. These cysts are small, fluid-filled sacs that develop on the ovaries. Although most ovarian cysts are harmless, some can lead to complications such as infertility or cancer.

Mirena complications

Complications from the Mirena intrauterine device (IUD) are rare, but can include expulsion, perforation of the uterus, and occasionally migration of the device.

How much does Mirena cost?

If you have private insurance coverage for prescription medications, Mirena may be covered under your plan. Talk to your plan provider to find out. If you do not have any private insurance plan for medications, Mirena costs about $350.

What drugs, substances, or supplements interact with Mirena?

Mirena can interact with some antibiotics as well as other medications, including those used to treat high blood pressure, epilepsy, tuberculosis, and fungal infections. It is important to consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new medications while using Mirena.

What are the benefits of the Mirena IUD?

With a 99.6% success rate, one of the primary benefits of the Mirena IUD is its efficacy. Once in place, you can rest well knowing that you are nearly 100% protected from an unexpected pregnancy.

Mirena requires little to no maintenance

Once inserted, the Mirena IUD requires little to no maintenance. Medical professionals generally recommend a follow-up visit 4-6 weeks after the procedure to ensure the device’s position is correct. After the follow-up appointment, the only maintenance required is a quick monthly check of the two thin strings attached to the end of the IUD. 

Mirena IUD is more convenient than using condoms

The long-term nature of the Mirena IUD eliminates the need to “prepare” before intercourse. There is no need to worry about whether or not a condom is available, nor is there any need to worry about taking birth control pills regularly. When you are ready to conceive, removal of the IUD is a straightforward process.

Mirena can stop menstruation and periods

After a few months of use, the Mirena IUD can decrease and even completely stop menstruation. Since the use of the Mirena IUD can cause a complete cessation of a menstrual period, this IUD is an excellent choice for those who have heavy periods and extreme cramping and pain with periods. Eliminating this extra blood loss can also be advantageous to those suffering from anemia.

Does the Mirena IUD make you gain weight?

Some people report weight gain as a side effect of the Mirena IUD. The synthetic hormone in the Mirena IUD may lead to a slight gain in weight for some women. But this does not happen to everyone who uses it. In fact, many women find the Mirena IUD helps them lose weight or prevents them from gaining weight. Talk to your doctor to see if Mirena IUD is the best birth control option for you.

Read a longer discussion on whether Mirena IUD make you gain weight in this article

How do you get pregnant after using Mirena?

If you have the Mirena IUD and decide to conceive, your ability to get pregnant returns pretty much immediately after the removal of the IUD. This is a benefit of Mirena compared to birth control pills, which can continue to reduce your fertility for 1-2 months after stopping it.

After giving birth, you can resume using Mirena after 6 to 12 weeks. You can also safely breastfeed while having Mirena in place.

How long can Mirena prevent pregnancy?

One of the main reasons why women choose Mirena is that once inserted, it can provide protection for up to 5 years. Another reason why Mirena differs from the other IUDs is that it is most commonly used to treat heavy periods.

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Contraceptive and non-contraceptive benefits of the Mirena IUD

Mirena IUD contraceptive benefits

  • Does not have side effects of birth control methods containing estrogen, such as the increased risk of clot formation
  • Can be used while breastfeeding
  • Can be removed anytime
  • Quick return to fertility after removing it
  • Does not need partner participation
  • Can stay in place for five years

Mirena IUD non-contraceptive benefits

  • Lowers the risk of endometriosis, a condition where the uterine lining grows outside the uterus
  • Reduces the intensity of menstrual pain
  • Prevents the risk of pelvic infection
  • Causes lighter periods or stops periods entirely after 3-6 months

Because of these benefits, Mirena is an ideal choice for women with:

  • Painful periods
  • Anemia
  • Fibroids
  • Endometriosis
  • Heavy menstrual bleeding
  • Abnormal growth of uterine lining, such as adenomyosis and endometrial hyperplasia

Disadvantages of the Mirena IUD

Although the Mirena IUD is a safe and effective contraceptive method, there are a few things to consider before you get it. For instance, there are some disadvantages, such as:

  • Your periods may become heavier, painful, or longer. However, this typically improves within a few months. After those initial months, most women have lighter periods or stop having periods altogether.
  • During Mirena insertion there is a small risk of pelvic infection.
  • It does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases. So, you may have to use a condom as well.
  • Some women stop using the Mirena IUD because of vaginal pain and bleeding; however, these are uncommon side-effects.

Certain additional risks of using the Mirena IUD

Pelvic infection and Mirena

You are at higher risk of pelvic infection for the first 20 days after insertion of the Mirena IUD. Your doctor may check for an existing infection before inserting the IUD to prevent this complication.

Yeast infections and Mirena

Getting any kind of IUD fitted may slightly increase your risk of recurrent yeast infection. If this happens, consult your physician, as they may suggest a different mode of contraception. 

Damage to the womb and Mirena

In extremely rare cases, the Mirena IUD may cause a hole in the uterus while getting it fitted. While this may be painful, usually there are no symptoms. If your physician or nurse fitting it is experienced, the risk is negligible. Consult your physician in case you are noticing any pain as the IUD may need removal.

Mirena IUD expulsion

In rare cases, the Mirena IUD could be expelled from your womb, or it could move. If this happens, it is usually soon after it is inserted. Your physician will teach you how to check if the IUD is in place by checking the threads of the device.

Ectopic pregnancy

If the Mirena IUD fails and you conceive, there is a slight risk of ectopic pregnancy.

What are other disadvantages of the Mirena IUD?

As with any birth control method, Mirena comes with a few potential cons. There may be a chance of ectopic pregnancy, and in rare cases, the perforation of the uterine wall or cervix. It may even cause severe infections, including pelvic inflammatory disease and sepsis if it’s not taken out in time.

Mirena is a hormonal IUD

Mirena is a T-shaped device that’s inserted into the uterus. It contains a hormone called levonorgestrel that’s released slowly over time. The hormone works to prevent pregnancy by thickening the cervical mucus, which makes it difficult for sperm to reach the egg. It also may stop the egg from being released from the ovaries. Mirena is effective for up to five years. Levonorgestrel can cause side effects in some individuals, including abdominal pain, headaches, changes in blood pressure, and swelling of feet, face, ankles, etc.

Mirena does not protect against STDs or HIV

While the Mirena IUD may protect against pregnancy, it does not protect against sexually transmitted diseases (STDs). If you are not in a committed sexual relationship, it is still necessary to take additional measures to protect yourself.

Having the Mirena IUD inserted can be uncomfortable

The process of getting the IUD inserted may be considered a con for some people. The procedure itself can be uncomfortable. You may have cramping, bleeding, or mild dizziness for a few hours. Not everyone has these side effects from the procedure. When the IUD procedure is complete, your medical professional may suggest that you take the remainder of the day off to rest and recover.

Uterus can be punctured during insertion of Mirena

While rare, it is worth noting that the uterus can get punctured during the insertion of the Mirena IUD. Inserting the Mirena IUD in the first few weeks after giving birth increases the chances of this happening.

Another rare occurrence of note is that some people report having their Mirena come out entirely or partially on its own (an event called expulsion). If this does happen, the IUD must be removed by a medical professional.

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Mirena IUD maintenance

This IUD is very low maintenance. You do not have to worry about using it incorrectly or forgetting to take it. Your physician will show you how to check for the IUD string to ensure that it is not displaced.

Your healthcare provider may recommend that you remove Mirena if you are suffering from or experiencing:

  • Endometritis (inflammation of the womb’s lining)
  • Pain during sex
  • Pelvic infection
  • Severe migraine
  • Cervical or endometrial cancer
  • Increase in blood pressure
  • Exposure to sexually transmitted infection

Inserting the Mirena IUD

Your physician will evaluate you before inserting the Mirena IUD. You can choose to insert Mirena:

  • Immediately after delivering a baby
  • Immediately after terminating a pregnancy
  • Anytime during the menstrual cycle if you are not pregnant (your doctor may ask you to take the pregnancy test to confirm that you are not pregnant)

You can consider taking non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication, such as ibuprofen, before inserting the IUD to prevent cramping.

If you get Mirena inserted more than seven days after your period starts, it is a good idea to use other contraception as a backup for a week. Mirena is an excellent choice for those looking for an IUD. If you are interested in Mirena, be sure to discuss with your medical professional to see if it is the right IUD for you.

Mirena IUD pros and cons

Mirena IUD pros

  • It is over 99% effective in preventing pregnancy
  • It can be used for five years
  • It makes your period lighter
  • Immediate return of fertility after its removal

Mirena IUD cons

  • Hormones released by the IUD can have side effects
  • It can expel out of your body on its own which means you would not be protected against pregnancy 
  • It is expensive
  • Needs doctor’s assistance to insert; you cannot use it on your own

Benefits of Mirena IUDs

Apart from the benefits similar to other IUDs, Mirena also has the following additional benefits:

  • It lowers the risk of endometrial cancer
  • It manages symptoms of endometriosis
  • It lowers the risk of pelvic infection

How does the Mirena IUD work?

Mirena contains 52 mg of levonorgestrel and releases roughly 20 mcg of levonorgestrel per day that affects the lining of the uterus, thickens cervical mucus, and prevents ovulation. All these mechanisms work together to prevent pregnancy.

It can also help in reducing heavy menstrual bleeding. Over a period of 5 years, the amount of hormones released daily gradually declines. After 5 years, the IUD should be replaced.

Mirena IUDs effectiveness

The Mirena IUD is more than 99% effective in preventing pregnancy. It is more effective than many other contraception forms, including condoms, hormonal patches, pills, injections, or rings.

When used to manage heavy menstrual bleeding, it is effective in 90% of cases within six months of use. It is seen to reduce menstrual bleeding by more than half.

How does the Mirena IUD work?

The Mirena is a small T-shaped plastic device that is placed into the uterus by a medical professional. The IUD releases the hormone progestin to prevent pregnancy. Once Mirena is inserted, it releases small amounts of levonorgestrel every day, thickening the mucus in the cervix while thinning the lining of the uterus and preventing sperm from entering. Mirena inhibits pregnancy in the following ways:

  • Alters the lining of the uterus to make it thinner, therefore making it more difficult for a fertilized egg to implant within the womb
  • Prevents the release of an egg from the ovaries
  • Thickens the mucus in the cervix to prevent sperm from entering and fertilizing an egg

Why use the Mirena IUD for birth control?

Once inserted, Mirena effectively prevents pregnancy for up to 5 years. Mirena is more than 99% effective. The long term effectiveness of this device makes it an attractive option for those who do not want to conceive at present but may wish to do so in the future. Once you’ve had Mirena inserted, you don’t need to regularly take a pill or change a ring or patch. 

How do I get the Mirena IUD in Canada?

Like other IUDs, Mirena is prescribed after consultation with your healthcare provider. You can fill your prescription for Mirena at Pocketpills online pharmacy. Pocketpills will ship your prescription directly to your home free of charge in discreet packaging. On the day of your insertion procedure, bring Mirena to your healthcare provider. Your medical professional will take you through the steps of the procedure. Use this opportunity to ask your medical professional any additional questions you may have.

Read more about other birth control methods here.

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