The Health Dangers Associated With Mirena – Guest Post
Worldwide, more than 15 million women use Mirena, a hormonal intrauterine device (IUD) that is implanted into the uterus and provides birth control for up to five years.
Choosing an IUD instead of the pill or sterilization has become more popular in recent years. In 2002, 2.2 percent of U.S. women using contraception chose IUDs. As of 2009, the number of users grew to 8.5 percent. However, despite Mirena’s popularity and effectiveness, there are many risks associated with it.
Mirena can lead to device migration, device expulsion, ectopic pregnancy and pelvic inflammatory disease. Even Bayer, the device’s manufacturer, admits that all IUDs present a risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which is caused by bacteria infecting the reproductive system, and device migration (in which the device can puncture internal organs).
Since Mirena’s approval by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000, there have been thousands of reports of adverse events related to the device. The most serious of these events is device migration.
Device migration occurs when Mirena moves from its location in the uterus. The device can puncture the uterine wall and then cause injuries in the bladder, pelvis, abdominal cavity, blood vessels or fallopian tubes.
Complications from device migration can include infection, cramps, bleeding, abdominal pain and discomfort during sex. Surgery is often required to locate and remove the IUD.
Women using Mirena may notice bleeding or pain caused by device expulsion, which occurs when Mirena comes out of the uterus and is expelled from the body. During clinical trials, Bayer found that 5 percent of women experienced device expulsion.
Once the device is expelled, another form of birth control must be used. Additionally, a woman will need to have a pregnancy test done before a physician will implant a new device.
Mirena users can check on whether the device is still in place by feeling for the threads attached to it. Bayer recommends that women check at least once a month to make sure the threads are still there. If the threads cannot be located, women should speak to their doctor.
In rare instances (less than 1 percent), a woman can become pregnant while using Mirena. In such cases, the device must be removed immediately, as there is a two-fold risk of spontaneous abortion or miscarriage and a four-fold increase in the incidence or early labor and delivery if Mirena remains in place.
Also, half of pregnancies that occur with an IUD in place are ectopic pregnancies, meaning the fertilized egg is located outside the womb. Ectopic pregnancies often occur in the fallopian tubes and require surgery. Ectopic pregnancies do not generally survive, and can put women’s lives at risk. They also can lead to infertility.
Pelvic Inflammatory Disease
Within three weeks of having Mirena implanted, women may develop an infection that causes pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). PID can cause lower abdominal pain and damage the uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes. In some cases, PID leads to infertility.
The FDA has issued a warning that women with a history of PID should choose another method of birth control.
Women experiencing these devastating side effects have filed lawsuits against Bayer, claiming the company created a dangerous product and did not include accurate warnings. It’s important for women to understand the risks of Mirena before choosing this birth control option.
Alanna Ritchie is a content writer for Drugwatch.com, specializing in news about prescription drugs, medical devices and consumer safety.
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