Mirena is an intrauterine device (IUD) used to prevent birth control. It is constructed of a hormone-eluting plastic which releases the birth control medication, levonorgestrel over a period of 5 years. Some women experience severe side effects while using Mirena, including severe bleeding which may require surgical removal of the device. Thousands of lawsuits have already been filed for use of the Mirena IUD and bleeding and many more may be expected.
The IUD is one of the most common long-term birth control methods available and Mirena has been used in over 150 million worldwide. It’s manufacturer, Bayer Healthcare, states that the device is 99.8% effective with a failure rate of less than 0.2% per year. Mirena prevents pregnancy by creating an “inhospitable” environment in the uterus through its birth control hormone, levonorgestrel which is eluted from the t-shaped plastic device over a 5-year period. It is mainly recommended for women who have already had at least one child and are looking for long-term birth control.
Mirena IUD and Bleeding
Mirena has a number of side effects, some of which can be severe. Bleeding due to Mirena is the most common side effect of the device and in most cases, it will go away after the first 3 to 6 months. In some patients, irregular bleeding may continue after the adjustment period. Excessive bleeding due to Mirena may be severe enough that patients must undergo surgery to remove the device. Injuries caused by Mirena IUD and related bleeding can also result in infertility.
Bleeding patterns associated with Mirena:
- Irregular bleeding
- Heavy bleeding
- Continuous bleeding
- Frequent menstruation
- Oligomenorrhea, or infrequent menstruation
- Amenorrhea, or the absence of menstruation
Irregular bleeding may also mask the development of other conditions such as endometrial polyps or cancer. Irregular bleeding of any type should be reported to a physician and severe bleeding should be treated as an urgent condition.
Patients who experience oligomenorrhea or amenorrhea should be monitored for the first year after an IUD is implanted to ensure it does not result in pregnancy. Up to 20% of women who receive Mirena may become amenorrhoeic in the first year but should keep watch for pregnancy and other gynecological changes.
Mirena Bleeding Complications
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has received over 45,000 reports of women suffering from IUD-related bleeding complications, ranging from minor to life-threatening. Mirena bleeding may be associated with the continuous release of hormone medication but it may also be caused by other device complications including:
- Device migration into the abdomen
- Perforation (puncturing) of the intestinal wall
- Embedding in the uterine wall
- Ovarian cysts
- Pregnancy resulting in a miscarriage
- Endometrial changes
One potential complication of Mirena is the occurrence of uterine perforation. The IUD device may be pushed through the uterine wall during the insertion procedure. Mirena perforation can cause moderate to severe bleeding. The risk of Mirena perforation during insertion may depend on the practitioner’s specific level of skill.
Mirena uterine perforation is fairly rare, occurring only 1 in 1000 or fewer procedures for doctors experienced in Mirena insertion. The complication may be more common for doctors who are not as familiar with the process and placement during the postpartum period may increase the chance for perforation. It is recommended that patients wait at least six to eight weeks following childbirth to begin using Mirena.
Mirena bleeding caused by uterine perforation can result in scarring or other permanent damage and may require surgery to remove the device. Other organs may also be affected including the cervix, abdominal wall or intestines. Mirena uterine perforation may not be identified right away and a delayed diagnosis may increase the chance for permanent injury.
Complications of uterine perforation may include:
- Migration outside the uterus
- Adhesions (internal scar tissue)
- Peritonitis (inflammation of the abdominal walls)
- Perforation of the intestines
- Intestinal obstruction
- Abscesses or infection
- Erosion of adjacent bladder
Mirena users are encouraged to monitor any bleeding or spotting that occurs following insertion of the Mirena device and report significant events to a healthcare practitioner. Mirena bleeding may mask underlying conditions or could be an indication of serious complications that pose a serious risk to the patient.