Birth Control, anyone?

I am going to begin this post with a disclaimer:  I am not a doctor, nor do I have any special training.  I am simply a woman experiencing something I never imagined would be happening.

They say you never forget the first time you have sex.  Apparently, they are wrong.  I don’t remember.  I mean, I remember who it was… but I cannot, for the life of me, remember how old I was.  As a dumb kid, with very little sex education, and parents that never had ‘the talk’ with me, I really didn’t know much about birth control.  I was lucky, however, and only had one scare.  Lord only knows how it was only one.  He was equally as scared as I, but his mom was absolutely wonderful about it.  Thankfully, after we broke down and told her everything, it was like God was proud, and promptly restored my menstrual cycle.

Since then, I have utilized the pull and pray method, condoms, the pill, abstinence, spermicides, and most recently, the Mirena IUD.  I know, you ALL wanted to know that information.  Trust me, there IS a point.

I had my first Mirena inserted in 2006.  It fell out in July of 2009 after a traumatic breakup of my marriage (massive weight loss), and I had it re-inserted in September of 2009.  The first insertion was easy– mild cramping and spotting for a few months, some pain with sexual activity, but nothing too bad.  The second insertion was markedly worse–intense cramping for months and heavy bleeding.  Otherwise, I have been very happy with the IUD– piece of mind, no effort, nothing to remember to take every day.

I had it removed today.

Since 2006, I have experienced:

  • weight gain despite dietary changes and exercize
  • uncontrollable fatigue (even with c-pap treatment for sleep apnea)
  • an electrical ‘buzzing’ sensation throughout my body and brain while attempting to fall asleep
  • swelling in my calves and feet to the point of pain and inability to walk
  • crazy mood swings– keep in mind I am a bitch to begin with– the mood swings make me intolerable
  • worsening depression and anxiety
  • inexplainable breakouts of localized patches of hives and incessant itching
  • headaches– constant headaches
  • head fog
  • joint pain (even developed a Baker’s cyst which is an excessive accumilation of joint fluid)
  • Diabetes
  • hair loss
  • night sweats
  • facial hair growth
  • extremely tender (and swollen) breasts– to the point I thought I could be pregnant (which would have been amazing since I hadn’t had sex)
  • cervical cancer scare

I have seen my primary doctor on many occasions.  I’ve had countless tests run on my blood and my body.  I have had nutritional counseling, Diabetes education, and most recently, hypnosis.  Aside from the placebo effect I received from hypnosis (I lost 12 lbs– mostly from quitting the diet soda, I’d presume), I have seen no improvement in any of the symptoms, nor have I been given an answer as to what they all mean.  I have befuddled my doctor.

It has been years of trying quick-fixes, fad diets, pills from the doctor, therapy, exercise regimens and praying.  I have seen no relief of symptoms.  Sometimes, the depression is so crippling that I seriously feel like packing up my things and just leaving.  My relationships have suffered.  My children have suffered.  My job performance has suffered.  I’m suffering.

So, I go to my gynecologist this morning for my check-up, and he asks me what’s been going on.  I practically break down in tears telling him all of the above.  He very quickly asks: “do you still have that Mirena?”  I tell him I do.  He proceeds to tell me that EVERY. SINGLE. SYMPTOM I have listed has been associated with the Mirena IUD.  He stated:”we are taking it out today.  Everything you are describing to me is related to that IUD.  Your body is telling you it simply cannot handle the hormone and wants it out.”

At this point, I did cry.

Every symptom.  All of the things that have derailed my life and caused me countless amounts of money, time, frustration and pain.  Every last one of them has been associated with the Mirena and I never even considered it.  My dear friend had been telling me for months to look into it, and I just blew it off saying there was no way it was related.  My primary doc never blinked an eye.

Of course, I do not know for certain that all of my issues are because of my IUD.  I do not know if I would have triggered the autoimmune response of Diabetes if I hadn’t opted for my IUD.  I do not know if I would have had the worsening depression.  I simply do not know.

What I do know is that I have spent a good portion of today reading page after page after page of stories, blogs and websites of women who could have written this post for me.  All of whom had the Mirena IUD.  Almost all have had it removed.  Some experienced miraculous recovery of symptoms– like within the week of removal.  Some have experienced improvement in many symptoms.  Some are still waiting for improvements.  Most all have experienced the “Mirena Crash“.

Anyway, I wanted to get this out there, because I am certain there are more women out there that feel the same symptoms (and more) and are frustrated and ready to give up.  Be sure to talk to your general physician AND your gynecologist as well as any other specialist you might see.  Each doctor has a different perspective, and can, often times, shed light on something another might not view as connected.  You are not alone in your symptoms.

I wish that I had told my lady doc what was going on years ago.  I might have saved myself years of pain.

Has anyone else experienced this?  Would love your feedback and comments!

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