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What Are the Bad Side Effects of Mirena?

Medically Reviewed on 2/26/2021

Side effects of Mirena

Most women who use birth control chose intrauterine devices (IUDs).

A National Center for Health Statistics study found that most women who use birth control chose intrauterine devices (IUDs). The Mirena IUD is one device that has become increasingly popular. However, before choosing an IUD, patients should talk to their doctors about the potential for life-threatening side effects. The common side effects of Mirena are:

  • Uterine wall perforation while planting or removing the device
  • Severe infection or sepsis
  • Mood changes
  • Breast tenderness
  • Acne
  • Headaches
  • Irregular bleeding
  • Pelvic pain

Serious side effects:

Mirena IUD can get expelled from the uterus, which increases the risk of pregnancy. This may happen to any women; however, a few females are at a higher risk:

  • Women who have previously expelled an IUD
  • Females who are younger than 20 years
  • Women who have prolonged or heavy period
  • Women who have never been pregnant

Pseudotumor cerebri: One of the lesser known but serious side effects of the Mirena IUD is pseudotumor cerebri or PTC. Pseudotumor cerebri, also known as intracranial hypertension, occurs when the pressure inside the skull increases for no obvious reason. Some of the symptoms of pseudotumor cerebri include:

  • Dimmed or blurred vision
  • Moderate to severe headaches
  • A ringing in the ears
  • Difficulty seeing to the side
  • Double vision
  • Pain in shoulder, back, and neck
  • Seeing light flashes

Risk of ectopic pregnancy: One of the reported side effects of Mirena is the risk of an ectopic pregnancy. This occurs when a fertilized egg implants in an area other than the uterine wall, such as the fallopian tubes, abdomen, cervix, or ovary. Common symptoms are:

  • Lower back pain
  • Pelvic pain
  • Sudden, severe abdominal pain
  • Cramping
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding

Pelvic inflammatory disease (PID): Another serious side effect that can occur with the use of Mirena is pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). If PID occurs because of Mirena, it typically develops within the first 20 days of insertion. PID is a bacterial infection that affects the reproductive organs, such as the uterus. If not treated promptly, women who contract PID may suffer from infertility. With a severe case of PID, a patient may require surgery and may be at risk of death. Patients who have received the Mirena IUD should be observant for potential signs of a complication, which may include:

  • Pain during intercourse
  • Sudden weakness or numbness
  • Severe or abrupt headache
  • Vision problems
  • Confusion
  • Jaundice
  • Severe pain
  • Dizziness
  • Unusual or heavy vaginal discharge
  • Indications of an allergic reaction (i.e., hives, facial swelling, difficulty breathing)

Mirena crash: Mirena IUD releases a synthetic hormone (levonorgestrel) when it is in place. After the IUD is removed, it forces the body to begin production of the hormone progesterone again. However, it could take some time for the body to respond and begin producing adequate levels of progesterone. The sudden changes in hormones could be a factor in causing symptoms related to the Mirena crash. Common symptoms of the Mirena crash are:

  • Inability to sleep especially during the night
  • Vomiting or nausea
  • Hair loss
  • Painful intercourse
  • Fatigue
  • Unexplained weight gain
  • Breast tenderness
  • Migraines
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Lack of interest in normal activities
  • Depression, anxiety, mood swings, irritability, or suicidal thoughts
  • Acne
  • Difficulty maintaining relationships because of emotional side effects
  • Stomach pain

Other reported side effects of Mirena IUD are:

  • Large amounts of unexplainable hair loss or hair thinning
  • Leg/arm pain and numbness
  • Serious bouts of depression and suicidal thoughts
  • Acne in the vaginal area and in places where there was no history of acne problems. Cystic acne on the face, chest, back, etc.
  • Palpitations
  • Chest pain
  • Repeated bacterial infections in the vagina (bacterial vaginosis), which carries a distinct “rotten fish” smell
  • Heavy discharge in the morning (described as “gushing” amounts of fluid)
  • Mental fogginess
  • Mood swings, short of temper
  • Bloating or weight gain
  • Loss of sex drive

Medically Reviewed on 2/26/2021

References

WebMD. Mirena 20 Mcg/24 Hours (6 Yrs) 52 Mg Intrauterine Device Contraceptives Side Effects by Likelihood and Severity. https://www.webmd.com/drugs/2/drug-20420/mirena-intrauterine/details/list-sideeffects

Bayer HealthCare Pharmaceuticals Inc. Mirena®. July 2018. https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/drugsatfda_docs/label/2008/021225s019lbl.pdf

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