I'm very glad to have found this site! This is my first post here and I thought I would share my experience so far with making a birth control switch recently.
I'm 31, have been married for almost 9 years, and my husband and I do not want children. I've been on the pill for 12 years, and I've tried both a tri-phasic pill and a mono-phasic pill. I used to love the pill, never had a problem remembering to take it so it seemed like the perfect solution to keep us baby-free - until the bad side effects crept up on me over the years.
I honestly didn't even realize the effects that the pill was having on me until my husband presented them to me - my sex drive had gone way down over the last few years and I never made a connection to the pill. My migraines were increasing, which was one of the reasons that I switched to the mono-phasic pill, my moodiness had gone crazy while on the tri-phasic pill. The switch to mono-phasic helped for awhile with the mood swings (I was a lot less crazy and didn't cry over everything) and my migraines got less frequent for awhile. Then in the past year I've been dealing with more migraines again, and the loss of sex drive is not helping our relationship.
So I've been thinking about getting off the pill for awhile - honestly that thought terrified me at first. I used to love it and then I became fearful of who I might become when I was off of it. Then we began looking at other options and we seemed to think that giving an IUD a try was a good idea before my husband maybe has a vasectomy.
I got my Mirena inserted 4 days ago. Insertion was not fun, I was one of the cases where the pain was excruciating. I had done a lot of research and had read stories of painful insertions, but I didn't think that would be the case with me - mostly because my GYN, the GYN's nurse practitioner, and my general physician all made it seem to be no big deal, and they all agreed that this option seemed like a good option for me. I was expecting some discomfort and mild pain since I haven't had kids, but I tended to think that the horror stories that I had read online were the outlier worst case scenarios. Wrong.
The insertion pretty much traumatized me! Yes it was a short lived pain, but it was so bad I literally almost passed out. The GYN had to manually open my cervix and when inserting the IUD my cervix tried to clamp shut. I had taken 600mg ibuprofen the hour before but I don't think that mattered at all. I was not prescribed a cervical dilator - I figured I must not have needed one or else they'd have prescribed that. I should have asked for that or stronger drugs to take beforehand.
So far so good as I begin day 4 - I've only had mild cramps since insertion and they seem to be diminishing each day, and I still have some light spotting. After the pain of insertion I was almost afraid to move around normally, not knowing if I'd get a jolting pain - that hasn't happened, but I'm still a bit freaked out over everything. I also haven't checked for the strings yet, I kind of want to leave everything alone for now to let things settle. My husband is being very patient and understanding, but I admit that I'm scared to have sex - scared of any pain for myself or him hitting the strings.
Anyways, trying to get back into the swing of day to day life and wondering how my body will adjust to having to regulate its own estrogen! I'd love to be completely hormone-free but pre-pill my periods were heavy and crampy and I didn't relish the thought of potentially having heavier and longer periods. Hopefully this lower-dose of progesterone, and only locally to the uterus, will not make me crazy. I told my husband that if this IUD does not work out well that I am not trying the Paragard because I can't go through that insertion again!!
Things seem to be going smoothly. Yesterday I had very, very minimal crampy twinges - the cramps have lessened with each day and even from the start (after the insertion), they were pretty mild. The spotting has also lessened with each day, and by last night the spotting was almost non-existent. I'm hoping that the spotting is over until my next period comes.
I was so traumatized after the insertion that it took me a few days to feel comfortable doing my every day things. Yesterday I finally went for a run and was happy that that went well. I had just a few twinges in my ovaries here and there during the run, but it wasn't painful and it was momentary. When I finished my run I had a few small cramps but they quickly went away.
I tried to check for my strings yesterday with no luck. I do have a tilted uterus, though, so I'm assuming my cervix is pretty high so I'm hoping that might be why I couldn't feel them. I asked my gyn about checking them regularly and she said not to worry about it, that they'll move around a bit. That kinds of worries me since everything I read online says to check them monthly. I'll probably try again or have my husband check, but I'll likely just see what my gyn thinks of the string position at my follow up appt. in 5 weeks.
Still haven't had sex yet, but with getting back to my other normal things, like running and gardening, I'm feeling better about trying it.
One thing I've noticed is that my appetite has been lower than normal since I've gotten the Mirena - at times when I'm usually starving I'm not hungry at all. I can't say that I can contribute that solely to Mirena yet since I know my body is trying to regulate its estrogen since stopping the pill. I've also had several migraines since insertion - again I'm hoping this is due to stopping the pill and my body still being out of whack with all the changes. My doctors expect to see my migraine frequency lessen on the Mirena and I sure hope they are right.
I'm charting everything on a couple apps on my phone - my weight is actually down since the insertion, likely due to my lack of appetite. I am slightly worried about weight gain on Mirena but never had a problem with weight gain on the pill. I do tend to feel bloated and/or constipated since Mirena insertion as well.
Glad you're doing well & are getting back to your normal activities. I really appreciate the information & insight that you've shared. I'm looking for alternatives to the pill & feel my doctor hasn't really given me enough information to make an informed decision. First hand accounts are very helpful. Thanks again for sharing your experience.
Joined: Sun Oct 16, 2011 4:57 pm Posts: 1043 Location: Canada
When I had a Mirena I found that having sex soon after insertion actually helped. Everything just felt kind of "off" for a few days, but for lack of a better description, having sex just seemed to knock everything back into place. I felt almost 100% better afterwards.
If you're not in pain, I'd recommend getting back in the saddle. It could help.
You're welcome, Justine. I have been scouring the internet for similar situations as mine (no kids and going from long-term pill usage directly to Mirena) so I figured that documenting the experience would help others. It's also nice to have a written log to see if I notice any emotional changes.
Jayd, I will likely get back in that saddle tonight - I was waiting for the spotting to lessen and it has. Running yesterday really helped me to get back in the swing of things - that's my outlet for everything and no running makes me feel like I'm not myself.
Thanks for letting us know how its going. I'm considering Mirena after having terrible pill side effects (about four months of spotting now), and I've been getting mixed reviews. Good to hear about a positive experience!
My gyn, the gyn nurse practitioner, and my regular dr. (all females) had good things to say about Mirena so they made me feel comfortable getting it. My gyn didn't recommend the Paragard with the chances of having the heavier/crampier/longer periods, but the nurse practitioner has had both IUDs and she didn't notice a difference in her period being heavier. Being a runner with a lot of races on my schedule, the Mirena sounded better to me even though the completely hormone-free Paragard would be nice in theory.
Regarding the pill, I feel like my body did well with it back in the first several years that I was on it, and then once I got to my late 20s/early 30s it seemed like my body was responding to it differently. I talked about that with my gyn, wondering why that was since I was on the same pill brand for almost 10 years. She said that our bodies can definitely start reacting to hormones differently at different stages. She explained that our periods when we're teenagers are different from our periods in our 20s, and then different at later stages too (not talking about the pill-periods, just overall hormonal changes as we age).
I had some strange and heavy cramping on day 10. I woke up feeling fine and then a couple hours later felt some minor cramps, took some ibuprofen, and didn't think too much of it. Then they continued to get worse for the next couple of hours, the sharp cramps would come in waves. I only spotted very lightly, hardly even worth noting, but I kept checking to see if I was starting a period. Doesn't appear to be that. I checked to make sure the IUD hadn't come out, and it hasn't. Not sure what the cramping was all about, but it did eventually subside. Chalking it up to my body still adjusting to all of the recent changes.
Oh, and I have had sex and all was good on that front! No pain from either of us. That wasn't near the cramping episode, the time in between those two events was over 24 hours.
EDITED TO ADD: The cramping the other day was indicative of what I believe is a period that started the next day. I'm still getting odd cramps here and there, some mild and some kind of intense.
Good news on the migraine front: I've been migraine-free for an entire week as of today!! That's the longest stretch without one in at least a year!! Prior to this week I had a string of 4 days in a row with a migraine (alleviated by medication, but I've had problems in the past with meds causing rebound headaches and I was scared that that would happen again).
One month with Mirena and still so far so good. My light spotting seems to have stopped about a week ago, and I haven't had any weird cramps in the last couple of weeks. My migraines are less than pre-Mirena and hopefully they will continue to decrease.
I haven't noticed a change in mood yet, but it's probably still a bit soon to say anything about that. I have been hoping my sex drive would increase since getting Mirena, but it hasn't. I was kind of expecting and hoping that would happen, so that's a little disappointing so far.
My weight is still down a few pounds since pre-Mirena. I used to hover between 120-125 and rarely go below 120, and that would only be if I was sick/not eating much at all. I seem to be hovering at 118-119 now and haven't seen 120 at all since getting Mirena. My appetite is pretty much back to normal (it felt very low the first couple weeks). I do still seem constipated fairly often but it hasn't been a major issue.
I've been worried about getting worse acne with Mirena so I've buckled down on a new skin care regimen that I do twice daily. My acne was getting worse in the last year of being on the pill and I was paranoid about it being even worse off of the pill. My new regimen seems to be working pretty well though. I've had a couple breakouts but they weren't terrible and my new routine seems to be working well to quickly clear up a breakout. Overall I'd say my skin has improved in the past month, but I credit that more to my new cleansing routine.
I had my 6 week follow-up appointment today and everything looks good. I told my gyn that I was concerned about not being able to feel my strings, and apparently they were tucked up behind my cervix. She moved them so hopefully I can try to locate them. She showed me about how long they extend from the cervix and said she left them a little long so that they don't migrate up into the cervix - she's not concerned with them migrating though because it's a pretty snug fit in my never-had-kids uterus.
I asked her why she didn't prescribe me a cervical dilator for the insertion and she said that her experience has been that some women have just as much pain with the dilation process that she would rather them have that pain only once during insertion vs. possibly twice. Makes sense I suppose, and she did say I can certainly try the dilator if I choose to get another IUD later on.
Her experience with the Mirena is that they are finding some women are able to keep them longer than 5 years without risk of pregnancy. The FDA approval for Mirena is 5 yrs, and the localized hormone will wear off after 5 years, but she is seeing women keeping Mirena for 7 years successfully - so I may have a little more than 5 yrs (hopefully!).
Her experience has also been that women who have had a painful insertion experience like I did have not had it so painful if they are getting another one inserted later (like at time of removal). She said the uterus is used to having the object in there. Don't know how true that is with the less potential pain for future IUDs, but I'll take everything into consideration.
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