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Author Topic: Should I remove my Mirena?
AmaterasuNaome
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My Mirena and I have had a happy relationship for the past 3.5 years(Since I was 17). I had it inserted by recommendation from a PPH practitioner instead of the implant, even though I've never been pregnant. Everything started out great - I stopped getting periods, which was GREAT, because my periods were extremely irregular and painful. I weighed around 125 at that time. Now, three years and some time away from home later, I've come back from college and I'm now married to my BF of 5 years, and I'm desperately trying to lose weight. I feel that Mirena has caused it, because my diet didn't change too drastically when I moved, yet over the past year and a half or so, I've put on about 25 pounds. I diet and I exercise as much as possible, but ever since I got Mirena inserted, if I do ANY type of abdominal exercise I get TERRIBLE cramps(I've had to take 4-6 Ibuprofen pills just to get it under control when it happens). I just feel bloated and awkward; My husband hates that I diet, but he understands. On top of the weight gain, I've been getting some embarrasingly placed hair growth. I've noticed over the past year, I've spent more time in front of the mirror plucking facial hair than usual(On the sides of my face and a few hairs sparsely across my chin and neck), and most recently, my chest. [Frown] I can't even communicate how un-womanly it makes me feel. Not to mention the acne I've been fighting endlessly. So, I guess I'm wondering if it sounds like my Mirena has gone completely wonky, or if something else is going on. I take multivitamins and such for my health and I try not to eat too bad. I don't understand what's happening. I didn't know where else to turn - I really feel like I need to talk to someone about this.

[ 08-18-2013, 02:38 PM: Message edited by: AmaterasuNaome ]

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Heather
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Mirena -- any IUD -- isn't really associated with weight gain. The only hormone in it is a microdose of a very localized hormone -- local to your uterus -- so if and when someone has a weight fluctuation because of it, we'd be talking a couple of pounds, max, and likely water weight.

So, I hear that you feel certain this 25 pound gain was about your IUD, but I'd say that's not even remotely likely, and it certainly isn't backed up by the study we have on these things.

Really, I doubt any of this has to do with your Mirena, and it may even be that the changes with your body hair and weight are just your body getting a little older. At the same time, changes in weight like this, and changes in body hair, the kind of abdominal cramps you're describing, and acne can also be related to other issues, like PCOS or thyroid issues.

So, rather than starting with removal of a method you love, or your GYN's office, I'd suggest having a checkup with a general physician before anything else. have you done that yet, with any of these symptoms or issues?

Personally, I'd also advise skipping ANYTHING that has you taking that much ibuprofen at one time, which is mighty hard on your kidneys and liver, which is why you'll see the bottle making clear how much is safe to take ion a day.

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AmaterasuNaome
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Yes, I've been to my OB/GYN about it. She's actually the one that told me to go ahead and take that much ibuprofen at once. She told me that some women's uteruses are more finicky than others, and to go ahead and take as much as I need(After I had an episode where I had a bowel movement and had cramps so bad I couldn't sit down. It felt like pressure on my cervix.

There really isn't a link between these side effects? I've been doing reading about it lately and I've seen things like this listed under the side effects that women have experienced?

Even with all these things aside, I really miss being able to exercise. Doing 30 crunches leaves me with gut wrenching cramps that leave me bed ridden for around four days.

Edit: Here's where I've been looking? [Confused]
http://www.mirena-us.com/safety-considerations/index.php#common

[ 08-18-2013, 02:51 PM: Message edited by: AmaterasuNaome ]

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Heather
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So, you are having uterine pain, NOT abdominal pain, like you'd first said, that severe? That given, what did your GYN to do examine why you are having severe uterine pain with abdomimal movement?

And no, there's really no data to tie ANY method of birth control to that kind of weight gain, actually. Depo-provera is one where that amount of gain is a maybe-issue, but even then, that'd be very rare.

And all these symptoms being about your IUD? WAY unlikely. But since you saw a GYN, that'd be something they'd be very qualified to speak to: what did they say? And did they not suggest you see a general healthcare provider when you are having so many possible symptoms and issues of what sounds like something potentially being very amiss?

(Again, things like weight gain, more body hair and changes in skin really aren't unusual during some times of life, including leaving puberty -- usually in the early 20s, and entering adulthood, physically. But having severe pain like you are describing very much does suggest something is the matter, unless it only happens when you are over-exerting yourself, or if you're not doing the exercises you are properly.)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Heather
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Just FYI, while again, I'd still strongly suggest seeing a general physician -- especially if the GYN you saw didn't even look into any of these things she can, or do some tests -- I did want to show you what PCOS can look like for those who have it: http://women.webmd.com/tc/polycystic-ovary-syndrome-pcos-topic-overview

Self-diagnosing is never a sound idea, and with pain, you really want to have that investigated, but I wanted to see why that was one of the possibilities that came to mind.

If this really sounds like you, and this last GYN didn't even mention it or suggest tests, another option, if you prefer a GYN to a general doctor, would be to see a different GYN (one who at least investigates severe uterine pain, or prescribes a safer pain relief medication in the meantime than a big batch of ibuprofen) and start here, asking about this as a possibility.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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AmaterasuNaome
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She gave me an exam and told me that everything looked okay. But I just feel like something's wrong. I ONLY get cramps on my left side, and yes, it's bad. And it's not only when I do crunches and the like(I do them with a personal trainer to ensure I'm doing it correctly and it still occurs). Sometimes - like right now, actually - I just get these pinches of pain on the left side of my uterus. I was actually at my school's clinic, so I did go around and see a few doctors. I'm totally normal other than than these weird symptoms and cramps. And as of late, I've been randomly nauseated. I'm trying not to attribute everything to it, but I just feel like I'm not myself, and that's literally the only change or drug-type thing I've ever used.
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Heather
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Yeah, truly, I'd suggest seeing another healthcare provider. (Unless you are saying you have seen several, and NONE have found anything wrong, even after running tests?)

If you start with a general physician, they'll be best able to look at the big picture here, particularly since all that is going on may not have anything to do with your reproductive system.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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AmaterasuNaome
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Yep, that also sounds like what I've got going on. But I've had things like cholesterol and my blood tested frequently and everything always comes back normally. I eat pretty healthily and I do exercise. I'll speak with the practitioner at my appointment at PPH on Tuesday. Are there any birth control pills that would help with these type of things? I think I would be willing to switch to pills if it would help what's happening.
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Heather
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Like I said, if you're asking me, I am highly doubting this has anything to do with your IUD. If it DID, it'd be about the very tiny amount of progestin in it, an amount all hormonal methods have far more of.

But if you've actually had tests done around all of these symptoms, from multiple doctors, and the consensus is that there's nothing amiss (though testing cholesterol isn't what I'd expect, and certainly would screen for things like PCOS or a thyroid issue), that likely IS true. However, I'm personally just having a hard time rectifying that with any kind of uterine pain from mild exercise.

Can I just maybe make sure I'm not missing anything here? You have gone to how many doctors, and which kinds of doctors, and reported all of these symptoms? And they have done which tests exactly?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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AmaterasuNaome
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I've got to 3-4 doctors at my school that were for general women's health as well as OB/GYNs. They've told me that my symptoms as far as the cramping are concerned just mean that my uterus is "finicky" more than other's, and to liberally take ibuprofen. The didn't want to do further testing on that aspect(To this day I don't see why not). I've also seen an iridologist that informed me that my blood is perfectly healthy.
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Heather
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Okay, so only doctors at a school -- high school college? -- clinic?

Honestly, I personally am pretty bothered by what you're reporting here. This whole group of symptoms, using that much ibuprofen, and only hearing back that your "uterus is finicky," and without anyone even identifying this is ABOUT your uterus -- troubles me. Especially since a few crunches simply should NOT cause days of severe pain, however "finicky" someone's uterus may be.

An iridologist is not a general physician, and that's also an alternative practice that isn't supported by any science to date. (On the whole, I have to tell you, it's considered quackery, unlike other non-Western systems of medicine which are not and are supported by evidence they are sound.)

They also will not be doing -- or usually even have access to -- blood testing for things like thyroid, or anything else, so that doesn't actually give us any information at all about...well, anything per your health.

So, let's do this: what kind of access to healthcare do you have? Are you able to go to a general physician outside your school, like in a private practice or at a hospital?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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AmaterasuNaome
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It was a university clinic.

That's one of my problems here. I have none, and I'm low income. Just about the only "Free" healthcare I have access to is PPH, and I have an appointment with them on Tuesday.

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Heather
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Are you in a state or country where there is public healthcare for low-income people which you can apply for?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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AmaterasuNaome
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I live in California. I don't know of a place in my area where I can get healthcare that isn't booked up for months of will see me at all.
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Heather
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Have you checked out your eligibility for public health?

If not, I'd do that: it may well be you can get public healthcare you haven't yet.

Since you have the PP appointment Thursday, I'd say to, by all means, be very clear about ALL these symptoms, in depth, and see what they say. But regardless of what it is, I'd ask them if they can give you information on any available public health for you, for your general health, not just reproductive health.

Generally, when we work at/run clinics like a PP branch, you have all kinds of information for patients about other clinical care and affordable care.

And in the case they don't, here's the FAQ webpage for your state's public health: http://www.dhcs.ca.gov/services/medi-cal/Pages/Medi-CalFAQs1.aspx

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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AmaterasuNaome
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Hey Heather, I have an update for you.

I went to PP and the pratitioner said that although it's unlikely, it is possible that Mirena gave me all of those symptoms. He said that the only way to know for sure would be to take it out.

So, it's out. He gave me a year's worth of Lutera and sent me on my way. He did say that it probably wasn't sitting right in my uterus because of how short the strings were.

I am feeling mainly empty, but a little better.

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Robin Lee
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I'm glad to hear you got some good healthcare and are feeling a little better.

Were you able to get any information on applying for public health?

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Robin

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AmaterasuNaome
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Yeah, I was able to qualify for their program for free women's healthcare, and this particular clinic is going to start doing other types of healthcare screening. They also gave me some paperwork on the new insurance and how it works and how affordable it is. So hopefully I'll be okay now. But, do you know if PP does any prenatal care, or would that specifically be a doctor? And is there a suggested amount of time we should wait after stopping BCP to try to conceive?
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Robin Lee
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I'm so glad to hear you'll be able to get the healthcare you need.

Once you stop hormonal birth control, it may take some time for your menstrual cycle to establish a pattern. However, conception could happen at any time. There's no amount of time you need to wait.

You'd need to ask the PP clinic you use whether they provide prenatal care as every clinic provides slightly different services.

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Robin

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AmaterasuNaome
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About a month post removal, I thought I'd provide an update for anyone interested.

I feel less bloated/swollen. My appetite has decreased though, don't know if it's the pills or the loss of mirena, but I don't eat nearly as much as I used to. Being so, inches have begun to come off of my waistline, as well as notable weight loss from my lower body.

My acne completed stopped and my skin cleared up, however that could very well be the pill.

The hair growth has decreased, and slowly I'm starting to notice the hairs less and less. They're still present, but I know that'll take time.

I just got done with my first period in almost four years, and I've never been so excited to have one. [Big Grin]

I can't thank you all enough for all of your help. I just wanted to key you wonderful people in on how happy I am and how much better I feel now. Again, thank you guys SO much. [Smile]

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