The Mirena | The Experience, Operation and Explanation
It’s 11.23pm and I’m sitting in bed, heat pack pressed against my stomach for the eighth time today, typing away on the blog. Luna is sitting in her little corner of my bed, on a super fluffy blanket, and I’m trying to be as still as possible. This little snapshot is my life, right now. Two days ago, I had a Mirena put into my uterus, in an effort to assist in my hormonal problems. Today, out of my drug-addled stupor, I’m writing a review.
What is a Mirena?
A Mirena is an IUD (An intrauterine device). It’s quite small, though the pharmacy gives it to you in a massive box, and is a white, t-shaped piece of plastic. A form of birth control, the Mirena is widely used and is inserted into the uterus. One of three types of IUD, the Mirena is actually a brand, rather than the name of the device.
Inserted every five years, the Mirena cost $30, and is a progesterone based birth control. Previously, I had been taking Visanne, which was costing around $80 AUD a month, which is a little exxy.
Despite the low cost of the implant, there were other associated costs. Firstly, as I’m not sexually active (sorry mum), I couldn’t have the Mirena inserted in the chair – it had to be under a general anesthetic. This caused some complications with my other illnesses.
The Mirena and Chronic Pain
The biggest question for me was whether the Mirena would help me. On the Visanne hormone control, I put on around 5 kilograms of weight, gained a lot of acne and bloated to well over my average size.
I don’t react to anesthetic sedation, so a general was fairly safe for me. I came out of it fairly well, but I was desperate to pee. Once in the bathroom, I realized – nope, that’s not my bladder, that’s my uterus.
Due to the fact that the Mirena has to be inserted vaginally, there was a lot of swelling going on in my abdomen. With my main pain area being my abdomen, specifically during menstruation, my insides decided to be FIRE. So, for about four hours, I was kept in recovery, drugged up with Fentanyl and clutching at my mum’s hand.
My Operation was at 1.30pm; I was out at 2.10pm, out of recovery at 5.30pm and out of the hospital at 7 pm. That gives you an estimate of how quick the procedure actually is, though clearly, my recovery time was longer than most peoples.
The operation required my gynecologist, an anesthetist, an anesthetic nurse and a couple of other people who seemed nice enough. Strangely, they allowed me to stay conscious right into the room. It cost about $400 out of pocket – but over the course of five years, that’s actually pretty reasonable.
Inserted vaginally into the uterus, I can’t presently feel the Mirena. In fact, I should never feel it, until they need to take it out again. With a relatively low progesterone dose, many people experience side effects, although mine simply seem to be a bit of bleeding and some inflammation.
What I wish I’d known
- Before the operation, I was told several times that there was a potential that I wouldn’t start getting benefits for a few weeks. This would have been a deal breaker for me had I been told earlier. I haven’t gone a single day without birth control for years, due to the pain.
- There is going to be massive inflammation in your abdomen. It’s normal, and expected – they’ve just shoved a foreign body in your uterus for christ’s sake.
- There will be blood, and you’ll want pads at home. No one mentioned to me that I’d end up bleeding more than a fourteen-year-old after sneezing. I haven’t worn pads in years, nor did I have any at home.
- It’s gonna hurt. If you have FMS or chronic pain of any kind, this is going to hurt. Full stop.
Other side effects
I was warned, preop, that there was a potential for the Mirena to need a few weeks to settle in. I was told all sorts of wild side effects, from losing hair to feeling the IUD post op.
Side effect wise, I certainly had a lot of inflammation to deal with. Inflammation can be treated with over the counter medications such as
. It can also be treated with prescriptions such as
I did find myself very awake the second night, after about 3 hours of sleep. Whether or not that was due to my own activity patterns, or the operation, I’m unsure.
Cravings were also a part of my side effect program. Although I was eating the same amount, I would wake up in the middle of the night craving. To give you an idea, so far I’ve had a quarter of
cake, two pieces of sourdough and cornflakes. It’s 1.30am.
It’s too early yet to tell whether I like the Mirena or not, but I will be continuously updating this page.