30 March 2013

Mirena for PMS and PMDD

Many gyanecologists recommend Mirena ( levonorgestrel IUD) for PMS problems, for heavy periods and for contraception.

A gynaecologist recently recommended it to me when he discovered I have fibroids. The recommendation was not to do a myomectomy because I am over 40 and therefore according to modern medicine, I am not a candidate for pregnancy so removing the fibroid is not advisable. I beg to differ.

The other option advised, but not yet, was a hysterectomy - to remove the whole uterus and the fibroids inside it. No thanks.

I have a fibroid that is about 6cm in diameter and another that is about 2-3cm in diameter. Apparently, most gynaecologists would not remove them, but would rather remove the whole uterus. Obviously they would do this, because the hysterectomy is a much more simpler operation for a surgeon than a  myomectomy, which requires a much more skilled surgeon who can operate with more finesse.

This gyaecologists did not recommend hysterectomy now, but said it may have to be an option some time down the track if the fibroids kept growing and I kept menstruating. Fibroids only usually grow during a woman's menstrual years, as the estrogen is what helps them to grow.

The gyaecologist did strongly recommend the mirean IUD - he told me that he's inserted thousands of them and that it was a wonderful device that helped so many women. I wasnt convinced. He told me to take the information home, read it and if I came to the decision to get it inserted, he could do it quite easily. I asked him how many women experienced side effects from mirena IUD and he gave a small number and told me that if it did cause any side effects in me, it could simply be removed. Again, I wasnt convinced.

The Mirena IUD does have many side effects in more women than is publicly released and I am not so sure that these have published widely enough. The statistics that the manufacturer uses are based on the women in the study groups and those who may have provided this information publicly - undoubtedly many more do not volunteer this information, so their statistics should be taken as a rough estimate and not the actual real 100% correct figure.

Common side effects from using Mirena (approximately 10%):
  • Change in menstrual bleeding, such as spotting, lighter bleeding or stopping of bleeding
  • Development of fluid filled sacks (cysts) in the ovaries
Less common side effects from using Mirena (1-10%)
  • Abdominal pain 
  • Acne 
  • Back or pelvic pain
  • Breast pain or tenderness
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Depression
  • Headache
  • Nausea
  • Nervousness
  • Painful periods
  • Vaginal inflammation or discharge
  • Weight gain
Rarer side effects from using Mirena (0.1-1%)
  • Abdominal bloating
  •  Excessive fluid retention in the body tissues, resulting in swelling (oedema)
  •  Hair loss or hair growth
  • Inflammation of the womb
  • Inflammation of the cervix
  • Migraine
  • Mood changes
  • Pelvic inflammatory disease
  • Skin reactions such as rash or itching
Rare side effects (0.01-0.1%)
  • Device expulsion
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • Perforation of the womb 
  • Pregnancy complications
An of course, all the side effects listed above may not even include all of the side effects that could possibly be experienced and the percentages used are provided by Mirena, so may not be 100% accurate.

There there are the lawsuits again Bayer (the company that owns Mirena) for producing a dodgy device that has caused so many side effects in many women.

1. Bayer - Mirena (Levonorgestrel) IUD
2. Essential Baby (Forum) - Mirena Side Effects
3. FDA - Department of Health and Human Services, Public Health Service, Food and Drug Administration, Center for Drug Evaluation and Research, Office of Surveillance and Epidemiology Drug Use Review: Mirena (PDF)
4. FDA - Mirena (levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system) July 2008
5. Life After Mirena Blog
6. MedHelp - Mirena IUD Side Effects Support User Group
7. NetDoctor - Mirena (Levonorgestrel) IUD
8. Steady Health - Mirena IUD Side Effects

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