Mirena Ectopic Pregnancy
Mirena is a small intrauterine device (IUD) that is used for contraception in women. Mirena is currently suggested for women who have already had one or more children and are looking for prolonged contraception. Mirena can last up to five years and is manufactured by Bayer HealthCare. In certain cases those using Mirena have become pregnant, resulting in an ectopic pregnancy, which is very rarely viable and more often than not dangerous to the mother.
What is an Ectopic Pregnancy?
An ectopic pregnancy is a complication of pregnancy during which the embryo implants outside the uterine cavity. Ectopic pregnancies are very rarely viable and will most likely result in miscarriage. Ectopic pregnancies can be very dangerous for the mother due to hemorrhaging, a life-threatening complication. Typically, ectopic pregnancies occur in the Fallopian tube, but may also implant in the cervix, ovaries, and abdomen.
Mirena Ectopic Pregnancies
Ectopic pregnancy is an adverse side effect associated with using Mirena and is a serious condition that can lead to infertility. Manufacturers of Mirena note that up to half of the pregnancies that occur with Mirena are ectopic. Specifically, the incidence of ectopic pregnancy that occurred in clinical trials was approximately 0.1 percent per year. Unfortunately, these reports do not include those women already listed as at risk for ectopic pregnancy. Patients with a history of ectopic pregnancy, as well as tubal surgery, or pelvic infection, carry a higher risk of ectopic pregnancy while on the Mirena implant.
Mirena Ectopic Pregnancy Symptoms
Signs and symptoms of Mirena ectopic pregnancy include:
- Pain and inflammation of the lower abdomen
- Pain during urination
- Vaginal bleeding
- Internal bleeding due to hemorrhaging of the affected tube
Severe internal bleeding can cause lower back, pelvic, and abdominal pain, as well as shoulder pain. Death of the mother due to ectopic pregnancy is rare in the western world. However, more commonly, Mirena ectopic pregnancy could result in future infertility. Patients are encouraged to take note of any abnormal symptoms or complications, as they may be an indication of Mirena ectopic pregnancy.
Mirena ectopic pregnancy can mimic the symptoms of other conditions such as:
- Gastrointestinal disorders
- Urinary system complications
- Pelvic inflammatory disease
Ruptured Ectopic Pregnancy
While it was previously mentioned that maternal death associated with Mirena ectopic pregnancy is rare, that is not necessarily the case once the ectopic pregnancy has ruptured. Ruptured ectopic pregnancies can be especially problematic for the mother, as well as future fertility. Ruptured ectopic pregnancy can lead to moderate to severe hemorrhaging, further putting the mother at risk.
Symptoms of a ruptured Mirena ectopic pregnancy include:
- Intense pressure of the rectum
- Low blood pressure
- Severe, sharp pain of the abdomen
Resolving Mirena Ectopic Pregnancy
Removal of the Mirena device is recommended should an ectopic pregnancy occur. It is also recommended that an ectopic pregnancy be terminated, as it can be life threatening to the mother. Surgical termination can be done by either a mini-laparotomy or a laparoscopy. Should the ectopic Mirena pregnancy be discovered prior to rupturing, the drug methotrexate can be used to assist in dissolving the pregnancy. In extreme cases, Mirena ectopic pregnancy can result in physicians removing the patient’s Fallopian tubes.