Choosing a birth control method in a world full of advancing science and new options can be overwhelming. However, learning the side effects of popular methods may assist you in your choice, allowing you to avoid wasting time considering methods that may put your health at risk.
One popular type of birth control is Mirena, a hormonal intrauterine device (IUD) that was approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000 and is manufactured by Bayer. Bayer also makes other contraceptives, like the birth control pills Yaz and Yasmin.
Many women seeking an alternative to the daily regimen of taking pills have turned to IUDs as a more convenient way to prevent pregnancy. It is estimated that 150 million women worldwide use Mirena or another IUD. IUDs are inserted into the uterus by a doctor and prevent pregnancy for several years.
Since Mirena's approval, however, the FDA has received more than 45,000 reports of adverse events related to its use. These reports include device expulsion, device migration, pelvic inflammatory disease and ectopic pregnancy – all of which can result in pain, bleeding, organ damage and infertility.
The most common side effect associated with Mirena is device expulsion, which occurs when the device exits the body through the vagina spontaneously. This can cause cramping, bleeding and discomfort during sex. Expulsion requires women to use other forms of birth control until a new IUD can be implanted.
Some women report instances of device migration, in which Mirena moves from the uterus to other places in the body. It can puncture the wall of the uterus and affect nearby organs. The bladder, pelvis, fallopian tubes, blood vessels and abdominal cavity are all vulnerable to damage once Mirena migrates out of the uterus. In such instances, a physician must locate and surgically remove the device to prevent further injuries, pain and infection. Using Mirena after childbirth increases the risk of puncturing the uterus, so it is recommended that mothers wait to use it until at least six months after giving birth.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease and Ectopic Pregnancy
Within just a few weeks of implantation of Mirena, users can develop pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which endangers the ovaries, uterus and fallopian tubes. PID can also be extremely painful and cause infertility. The FDA has stated that women with a history of PID should not use Mirena. Users of Mirena have also experienced ectopic pregnancy, which occurs when an egg is fertilized somewhere outside of the uterus. This complication will terminate the pregnancy, puts the woman’s health at risk and can leave the woman infertile.
Alanna Ritchie is a content writer for Drugwatch.com, specializing in news about prescription drugs, medical devices and consumer safety.