health

"Four years ago, I decided to get a Mirena IUD. It's been absolute bliss ever since." 

The Mirena for those of you who don’t know is an intrauterine device (IUD) used predominantly as a form of birth control, but also sometimes used to treat heavy periods. There is much debate about the device with many really negative experiences often making headlines (as bad experiences often do).

I thought though, for sake of balance, for anyone who is considering getting one, that as well as negative experiences, there are also positive ones. So, here is my Mirena experience, which apart from discomfort upon its insertion has been overwhelmingly positive.

The Mirena was recommended to me by my OBGYN who said it was a great alternative to the pill for birth control. Unlike the pill, you don’t have to remember to take it at the same time every day. It’s birth control you have inserted and then just leave in for up to five years. Five years without remembering to take the pill, I was definitely interested.

Another positive he outlined was that once it was removed you become fertile straight away. At the time I thought how great this was, if I did decide to have number three, there would be no waiting (notice I wrote at the time – what was I thinking?!)

I love my two daughters, but we're not in ANY rush to add to our family. Image: Supplied.

The final benefit that sold me was that over 50 per cent of women who have the Mirena do not get their period. Well, hell yes! Sign me up!

So, four years ago I walked in to my OBGYN’s office, with my giant Mirena box poking out of my bag, for what he had described as a “straight forward procedure”. As this was my first ever Mirena I went in feeling pretty relaxed, I mean I hadn’t had a baby too long ago, so it couldn't be anything like that right?!

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Well it turns out having the Mirena inserted was not the most pleasant of experiences... because so many experiences of having foreign, non-pleasurable objects being inserted up your vagina are.

The insertion of the Mirena is a multi-step process, there were a few extra steps than I had thought. In layman’s terms, the actual IUD is placed inside an application tube which is inserted into your vagina and then up into your uterus where the actual device remains for the next five years (or however long you wish to have it).

In order to do this, your practitioner will clamp your vagina open with a speculum, similar to a pap smear. Then clean the area with an antiseptic solution and use other ‘instruments’ to align the cervical canal and uterine opening. Your lady internals are measured, and the cervical canal direction is obtained to ensure it is placed in the correct position, then comes the applicator tube with the Mirena inside. This is inserted, the applicator removed, and voila the Mirena is in place.

This experience of having the IUD put in place was uncomfortable, I won’t lie. But as soon as the ten-minute process was over I was 100 per cent fine. I didn’t feel any cramping like many women experience, physically it was as if nothing had even penetrated my vagina at all *fist pump*. I left my OBGYN’s office Mirena in place and with much more room in my handbag.

Since that day I have had a Mirena dream run. I have never experienced a period which has been absolute bliss. I have not noticed any other symptoms that are listed on the common side effects list such as:

  • Pelvic pain, vaginal itching or infection.
  • Stomach pain, nausea, vomiting, bloating.
  • Headache, depression, mood changes.
  • Back pain, breast tenderness or pain.
  • Weight gain, acne, changes in hair growth, loss of interest in sex.
  • Puffiness in your face, hands, ankles, or feet.

Mamamia co-founder Mia Freedman gets an IUD and takes us along for the ride.

Video by MMC

Like many medications there are usually much more side effects listed than any one person would every experience. This is not to say that it is impossible or that you won’t experience any, but in my personal case other than not having a period, there have been none, zero, zilch.

My Mirena experience has meant a reliable form of contraception which I don’t really have to think about, apart from the occasional check of its strings to ensure it is still in place. It has saved me hundreds of dollars on sanitary products, not to mention the inconvenience of needing them.

Weighing up the uncomfortable ten minutes when having the Mirena inserted and the years of carefree birth control, absence of periods and feeling no other side effects, I have concluded that I am definitely on Team Mirena.

This is one woman’s experience and should not be interpreted as medical advice. 

Do you have an experience with the Mirena form of contraception? Tell us in a comment below.

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