The Mirena® IUD is a birth control device, which you may use for up to five years. 1 A health care provider will insert this T-shaped IUD (intrauterine device) into the uterus, where it will release a type of progestin. This substance thickens the cervical mucus, which in turn makes it much harder for sperm to get to the egg. The Food and Drug Administration approved the Mirena® IUD for the purposes of birth control, and it is only available by prescription.
Health care providers consider the Mirena® IUD to be a very effective form of birth control. Out of 100 women who use this method of birth control, statistics show that less than one may get pregnant. There are, however, some potential negative side effects, which may occur as a result during use or removal.
Common Mirena® IUD negative side effects during use
Patients using the Mirena® IUD commonly suffer from a number of negative side effects2:
- Discomfort, including dizziness, cramping and bleeding
- Breast tenderness
- Lighter or shorter periods, or stoppage of periods entirely
- Abdominal, ovary or pelvic pain
- Pain or heavy bleeding following expulsion or removal
Less common negative side effects include headache, acne, depression or heavy menstrual bleeding. A health care provider will recommend removal of the Mirena® IUD in the event of a pelvic infection, endometrial or cervical cancer, or a significant increase in blood pressure.
Serious side effects and dangers from the Mirena® IUD
There are other rare but more serious negative side effects3 from using the Mirena® IUD. Some patients find that the Mirena® IUD attaches to or goes through the wall of the uterus, which can cause other problems. You may require surgery to have the device removed. The risk of pregnancy while using the Mirena® IUD is low, but if this occurs, it can be life-threatening.
The manufacturers of the Mirena® IUD state that less than 1 percent of users contract serious pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), and the risk is highest during the first 20 days of placement. The risk is also higher if you have a vaginal infection at the time of placement. PID can scar the tubes that carry eggs from the ovary to the uterus. This can lead to infertility, ectopic pregnancy and other problems. Serious cases of PID may require surgery, including a hysterectomy (uterus removal). PID can also be fatal.
Other serious side effects and dangers include serious infection, such as sepsis. This is most likely to occur during the first few days after a health care provider fits the device. Sepsis with the Mirena® IUD is rare but can be life-threatening. Ovarian cysts may also occur, although they will normally disappear.