Mirena IUD Side Effects and Risks of Use

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Side Effects of the Mirena IUD

written by: AlyssaAst • edited by: BStone • updated: 4/17/2011

Mirena IUD side effects are generally mild and severe complications are rare. Common side effects include irregular or heavy bleeding and ectopic pregnancy.

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    The Mirena IUD is a contraceptive option for women. When implanted, Mirena offers up to 5 years of intrauterine contraception for women. It can also be used to treat heavy menstrual bleeding in combination with another contraceptive. While the Mirena IUD is considered to be safe, it is known to produce side effects. Mirena IUD side effects are often moderate but can become severe overtime. While side effects of Mirena are somewhat rare, they are known to occur.

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    Side Effects of Mirena

    Mirena IUD side effects are known to increase the risk for ectopic pregnancy. Half of women who became pregnant while using Mirena had an ectopic pregnancy. There is a 0.1 percent risk per year for an ectopic pregnancy for women who use this birth control method. Intrauterine pregnancy can occur as well. If this occurs, the IUD needs to be removed, but can result in loss of pregnancy. This increases the risk for septic abortion and septic shock. If the IUD is left in place during the pregnancy, congenital abnormalities can occur, but the occurrence is rare.

    Sepsis is associated with Mirena IUD use as well, which usually begins a few hours after the contraceptive is inserted. Severe pain develops first, and over a course of a few days sepsis sets in. Should sepsis occur, treatment is necessary. Pelvic inflammatory disease can also occur. It’s unclear if the contraceptive causes PID or triggers the disease in women who have a history or increased risk for PID. This usually occurs within the first 20 days of use.

    Mirena can cause irregular bleeding or amenorrhea. Side effects include irregular bleeding, spotting or heavy bleeding. This is most common during the first three to six months of use and typically decreases overtime. 20 percent of Mirena users develop amenorrhea within the first year.

    The contraceptive is known to cause embedment. The device can embed itself within the uterus wall and other areas as well. Should this occur, the device will need to be removed, which can be painful. In rare cases, the device may need to be surgically removed.

    The device can fall out as well without a woman noticing, increasing the risk for pregnancy. The device can partially or completely expel from the uterus cavity. If the device is partially expelled, the effectiveness of the contraceptive will decrease, increasing the risk for unwanted pregnancy.

    12 percent of Mirena users develop ovarian cysts, which can rupture, causing further complications. Surgical intervention isn’t generally needed to treat the ovarian cysts. The contraceptive may increase a woman’s risk for breast cancer, especially in those who have a history or increased risk for developing breast cancer.

    The Mirena IUD doesn’t protect against sexually transmitted diseases; therefore, condoms should be used in combination with the contraceptive. Adverse reactions to certain medications can occur as well.

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