The Pros and Cons of Hormonal IUDs (Mirena, Kyleena, and Skyla)

Mirena hormonal IUDHormonal IUDs are different from all types of hormonal birth control in that they do not suppress ovulation and therefore can permit natural cycling.

Other benefits of hormonal IUDs are that they can dramatically decrease menstrual flow and relieve symptoms of endometriosis.

Pros of hormonal IUDs:

Unlike all other types of hormonal birth control, hormonal IUDs do not completely suppress ovulation and ovarian hormones. According to one study, Mirena suppresses ovulation in 85 percent of cycles during the first year (when the dose of the levonorgestrel drug is higher), and then in 15 percent of cycles after that. Lower dose IUDs permit ovulation more of the time. Because hormonal IUDs permit ovulation at least some of the time, they are probably the best option of all types of hormonal birth control.

👉🏽 Tip: Ovulation is beneficial because it’s how women make hormones.

Compared to pills and implants, hormonal IUD delivers a lower dose of a contraceptive drug. The blood level of levonorgestrel in Mirena-users is about one-tenth of pill-users. Unfortunately, even that low dose can cause side effects (see below).

Hormonal IUDs are more effective than almost any other method of contraception, with a failure rate of just 0.7 percent.

After insertion, you don’t need to do anything or take anything, and IUDs lasts three years (Skyla) or five years (Mirena).

In theory, fertility returns to normal almost as soon as a hormonal IUD is removed. (In practice, it can take a little longer.)

Hormonal IUDs reduce menstrual flow by at least 90 percent, and that’s a huge pro for heavy menstrual bleeding.  (Also read Diet and natural progesterone for heavy periods.)

Hormonal IUDs can relieve some of the symptoms of endometriosis. For other endometriosis treatment ideas. (Also read Immune treatment for endometriosis).

Cons of the hormonal IUD:

Hormonal IUDs release the contraceptive drug levonorgestrel, which is not progesterone. Side effects of levonorgestrel include acne, hair loss, hirsutism, depression, anxiety, headaches, breast pain, yeast infections, weight gain, and anxiety. (Interestingly, anxiety is also reported by some women with the copper IUD which suggests the anxiety could be the result of something else such as a vagal nerve response to the IUD or the string.)

Hormonal IUDs cause ovarian cysts in 5 percent of users.

Hormonal IUDs can damage the vaginal microbiome and increase the risk of yeast infections and bacterial vaginosis.

Hormonal IUDs suppresses ovulation some of the time.

Hormonal IUDs can cause irregular bleeding and spotting during the first three to six months of use. After that, they may suppress bleeding entirely or permit a light natural menstrual period.

Insertion might be painful. But just to clarify: IUD is an in-office procedure that takes just a few minutes—it’s not surgery. You’ll probably be instructed to take a painkiller like ibuprofen to ease the cramping, or your doctor may decide to use a local anesthetic (or more rarely, a general anesthetic ).

Hormonal IUDs can come out. The chance of expulsion is 5 percent but more likely immediately following childbirth and during breastfeeding.

Hormonal IUDs carry a small risk of uterine perforation, which could lead to surgery. The chance of perforation is 0.1 percent but more likely if during breastfeeding.

Hormonal IUDs can cause pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) but only during the first three weeks after insertion, and only if you have a pre-existing infection with gonorrhea or chlamydia.

Hormonal IUDs must be removed by a doctor. See my copper IUD post for more information about IUD removal.

Hormonal IUDs cannot protect against sexually transmitted infections.

Is it okay to suppress periods?

Hormonal IUDs suppress bleeding, which inevitably raises the question: “Is it okay to not have a period?”

There’s no medical reason to bleed monthly, and certainly, no reason to bleed monthly on the pill because pill-bleeds are not periods.

There is, however, a reason to ovulate monthly because ovulation is how women make hormones.  Normally, ovulation leads to a bleed, except in the case of a hormonal IUD, which permits ovulation but can suppress bleeding.

👉🏽 Tip: With the pill, you bleed but don’t cycle. With the hormonal IUD, you can cycle but not bleed.

Dr Lara Briden

223 thoughts on “The Pros and Cons of Hormonal IUDs (Mirena, Kyleena, and Skyla)”

  1. Do you recommend Mirena to perimenopausal women who are low in progesterone? Why or why not? If not, what would you prefer?

    Reply
    • I do sometimes recommend Mirena for lightening the heavy periods of perimenopause. But Mirena is the drug levonorgestrel — not progesterone. See my perimenopause book Hormone Repair Manual for a full discussion.

      Reply
  2. Thank you for this article. Very informative. I currently have a Mirena IUD, my third, and I LOVE it and have never had one issue regarding it. However, due to my age, nearing 51, I am experiencing some pre menopausal symptoms (no bleeding because of the iud)…I was wondering your thoughts on using an essential oil for the hormonal imbalance. I’ve been reading about Young Living’s Progessence Plus and it seems like it would be exactly what I need. I’m just not sure if it would effect the iud at all. (I’ve recently moved to another state and do not have an OB/GYN).
    Your thoughts??

    Reply
  3. Thanks for the information regarding mirena. I’ve been considering going using the mirena IUD. I get terrible ovulation pain every month that lasts 5-6 days where it feels like my left ovary is constantly being punched. I’ve had tests and I get ovarian cysts frequently bursting, but nothing else that is sinister. On top of that endometriosis, so I’m often in pain between 10-14 days a month. I caved and went on Yaz birth control pill after being off it for 3 years. I have quality of life back and can function again. The depression is lifting too.

    However I hate that I’m pumping so many hormones into my body at 40 years old, and that I don’t have a real cycle on Yaz.

    Do you think Mirena would help with the mid cycle ovarian pain? Thank you.

    Reply
    • I have had mirena for four years and I don’t feel it untill a week before my period, I can feel where it is and it feels like dull stabbing and the pain goes down my leg a bit untill I do a hip flexor stretch, that seems to help, and also advil. Judging by what you’re saying I would be weiry of putting anything in there. That cyst thing sounds terrible! And I don’t think they recommend iuds for women with endometriosis.

      Reply
    • Oops my bad I thought they were saying to not get an iud with endo but apparently it says it helps it. Well anyways like I said mine only bothers me about 4 days of the month and advil helps it quick. And not full days it’s like off and on but enough to need a pill.

      Reply
  4. Great article. I’ve used Mirena coils for contraception since I had my kids, oldest is 15. I’m 49 now and this last coil has been the worst. Mood problems, irregular and prolonged bleeding and clotting so I decided finally to have it removed this week. I’m looking forward to being artificial hormone free and will use condoms for contraception. My husband is not keen, but I’ve done my bit!
    Thanks to your new book I have made what I feel is the right choice going forward.

    Reply
  5. Thank you Lara! What about the impact of lighter periods for the few months after Mirena removal? I recently had my IUD removed and I can confirm I am ovulating (taking ovulation tests and bbt) but periods are still not what they were pre Mirena. Will it just take a few months for my endometrium to build up again following the hormonal iud?

    Reply
  6. Hi Lara, thank you for this great info. I’m wondering how it is that the IUD can sometimes stop ovulation in some people, or like you say in the first year. Even though it does not contain any synthetic estrogen, wouldn’t the consistent supply of progestin affect the body’s natural response to produce estrogen, therefore inhibiting ovulation?

    Reply
    • the dose of progestin from the hormonal IUD is enough to stop ovulation only some of the time. Usually, in the first year when the dose is highest.

      Reply
  7. Hi Dr. Briden!

    I’m wondering if bioidentical progesterone (taken continuously) could be a potential alternative to the Mirena, specifically for the protection of the uterine lining (not for contraceptive purposes). Someone I know was told that if she removed her IUD, she would almost definitely develop uterine cancer due to her PCOS, because the IUD will protect her uterus from thickening/shedding. I cannot find any articles confirming this to be true, nor any information about bioidentical progesterone being equivalent to levanorgestrel in this regard.

    Reply
  8. Mirena IUD caused my Hashimoto’s. Luckily, I figured this out on my own through researching and found other women have the same problem; both my doctor’s denied this could happen. Soon as I took it out, my antibodies started reversing. I am 3 1/2 years out from having it removed and my antibodies are almost back to normal.

    Reply
    • Oh my goodness… this happened to me too. Same exact timing and got Hashimoto’s out of nowhere. I had no idea! Thank you for sharing!

      Reply
  9. I have had some extreme acne since having Mirena. I took 12 weeks of lymecycline and since finishing that the acne has gone extreme. Any recommendations? I am considering having the Mirena out as I think ultimately that is the cause. Generally acne has been a bit worse since starting B12 IM injections for PA 3 years ago. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Hey not sure if you’re still having issues but I was the same, untill I stopped eating anything that isn’t clean basically. No sugar!! (Or un natural preservatives) except for fruit or things that are natural. I actually couldn’t believe the difference. Although I tried this when I was 2 years into the mirena when it seemed to be at its worst and it didn’t work! Now four years and still bad and this has seemed to have cut it down but I’d say 95%. I even got it bad on my chest on the left side and now it’s almost all gone. And I know some people are effected this way by dairy too.

      Reply
  10. Hi, I’ve just read your book and found my PCOS got a lot worse (than pre-pill) after coming off the pill – it took me years for my cycle to become regular again. I’m wondering if the same thing will happen if I come off the Mirena? (I would like to conceive in a few years time). I would be going on Mirena to reduce endo pain. Thank you 🙏

    Reply
    • Mirena does not suppress ovarian function so it’s possible to maintain regular cycles even while on it (despite seeing very little flow). That means the hormonal IUD should not cause post-pill amenorrhea.

      Reply
    • Please get your hormone levels tested, as well as, iodine (iodine loading urine test) and selenium (blood test). Best place to get the iodine tested is through hakalalabs.com. You may be estrogen dominant. I fixed my PCOS/irregular cycles from using Dr. Brownstein’s iodine protocol. I did tons of research on iodine, before starting it.

      Reply
  11. Hi,
    I have been on Miranda for two months now and I’m having terrible motion sickness as a result. I went to the ENT and my inner ear is fine. I started ocean swimming this Spring and prior to inserting Miranda IUD, I had never had motion sickness symptoms but that all changed when I inserted the IUD.
    My question is.. should I sick it out and hope that my body adjusts to the IUD or remove it now. I will remove unless this side effect will most likely go away.
    Thank you

    Reply
  12. Can anyone please recommend a period tracker app.
    I have a mirena (14yrs) – hope to get it out this year (surgical) but I’m sure things are happening that could indicate a cycle. Haven’t had a period for 14yrs! Cheers 🙂

    Reply
    • Hi Anna, I used to use Clue. I quite liked it but after a year it kept crashing so I got Eve. I don’t like Eve as much though.

      Reply
  13. Hi Lara… I am dying inside with depression and emotional pain in my body… I stopped the mirena because of depression and now a month after the removal I am in struggle town. I had a period about 12 days ago and it lasted for 6 days and I was more at peace then. Omg I have an appt next Friday but I am struggling so much today.

    Reply
  14. Hi Lara, I am 2 + years post menopause 48 years age. No hot flushes, just fatigue, muscle weakness, inflammation. When I take 2 pumps estrogel I feel so much stronger but I appear to be progesterone intolerant, my eyes and skin get jaundice and I feel toxic, i have tried many different doses. I was taking biodentical progesterone cream transdermally, also tried prometrium, but cannot take anything oral as I have Gilbert’s syndrome. I was thinking of trying an IUD to protect the endometrial lining or failing that a hysterectomy which is extreme but I am running out of options. I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on Low dose IUD.

    Reply
  15. Bea, NaPro technology protocol (and FEMM) would recommend you go on bio-identical progesterone for 10 days, 3 days after you confirmed ovulation, every cycle. You have low progesterone…that’s what’s causing your PMDD. There’s more work you can do to get to the root of your low progesterone, but taking at least 200 mg of prometrium + Zoloft is the typical first line of defense treating PMDD. Keeping advocating for yourself!

    Reply
  16. I have had Mirena inserted for 2 years. It helped my heavy and painful periods tremendously. I dont bleed at all now… only spot about every other month if that.
    However, I have had weird symptoms/episodes that started about 6 months after insertion. Lightheaded, dizzy, exhausted, weakness in legs, heart palpitations, chest feels heavy and sometimes feels hard to breathe… even though I can, muscle aches, joint aches, flushing feeling through my body, cold spells [where i feel so cold and I cant get warm], terrible anxiety attacks, depression, and just not feeling well or like myself. I’ve been tested for everything to lyme to autoimmune. Having tests like echocardiograms.. .and urine analysis… and thankfully but frustratingly, Drs cant find anything. In the back of my mind I keep wondering if it is the Mirena?? Thank you for this book and this blog…. I am waiting for your book to arrive to me and cant wait to start reading. Thank you to all the women on here who have shared and knowing I’m not alone and it’s not all in my head.

    Reply
    • You may be experiencing signs of hypothyroidism or Hashimoto’s. I was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s when I had the Mirena. I took it out in 2017 and my antibodies started reversing. It’s taken 3 1/2 years, but my antibodies are almost reversed. I had to get on iodine using Dr. Brownstein’s iodine protocol to reverse symptoms of Hashimoto’s and it’s fixed my PCOS. Dr. Brownstein mentions in his book “Overcoming Thyroid Disorder”, to stop the birth control if it is causing hypothyroid symptoms.

      Reply
  17. Hi Lara, thank you so much for your informative article.

    I am considering having my Mirena removed but I’m not quite sure if it’s the right thing to do or not. I had it inserted to help treat fibroid cysts and very heavy periods. It helped right away, and also cured the terrible acne I had had for years. Since having Embolization surgery for my fibroids I have no periods at all. I’m now 40 years old and I’ve had the Mirena for around 2 years. According to my doctor I am one of the “success stories” for Mirena, but I feel a little bloated, my libido has dropped dramatically and I just don’t feel myself. I’ve also struggled with anxiety and depression. However I am worried that if I take the Mirena out I will have a recurrence of my acne or possibly even the fibroid cysts. Do you think it might be possible to treat these things and balance my hormones without use of the Mirena? I am worried about the possible long-term health implications it may have. Thank you x

    Reply
  18. Dear Lara, thank you so much for your work. I would greatly appreciate an answer to this question if you are able. I have had the Mirena for two years now. Besides the non-stop bleeding for the first 6 months (and the incredible pain of insertion) it has been great. My irregular bleeding has gone away (I was bleeding very lightly for almost half the month, including brown blood from ages 38-42) and now I barely menstruate at all. My question is this: have you heard of Mirena causing chronic joint pain, body stiffness, and muscle aches? Those symptoms started a few months after implantation and I can think of no other cause except possibly my age (I’m 44). I am active overall and the body discomfort came on pretty suddenly and has not left despite dietary changes and trying different forms of exercise. I have found certain theories online that Mirena can be dangerously toxic for the body, but I don’t want to immediately jump on board with that since Mirena has been so good to me in other ways. I dont want to remove it if I dont have to. Have you seen these symptoms of joint pain, stiffness, and muscle aches in your practice? Do you think there may be a link there? Any answer will be appreciated and found helpful. Thank you.

    Reply
  19. HI! Wold you advise taking anything before coming off the Mirena. Doctor Google scares of The Mirena Crash..?

    Would you advise coming off prior to trying to conceive, would you need to let your body settle or can you get pregnant without having periods naturally for a few months?

    thanks

    Reply
  20. Hi
    I have suffered with same symptoms and relationships issues from PMDD. Did you decide to get the Mirena? I’m considering orth tri cylen again because I also have bad acne and sl more coarse male hair growth.

    Reply
  21. I have recently had a blood test suggesting high ferritin levels suggesting high iron levels. Could the more a be part of the issue as I no longer have periods?

    Reply
  22. Hi Lara, I’ve been searching for information on the effectiveness of the Mirena iud for the treatment of pmdd, and am coming up with more questions than answers really. I am 42 and have been suffering (truly) with intense pms ever since my very first period at 12. My physical symptoms are severe – brutal cramps for days, heavy bleeding, body pain, nausea, the works. However the mental and emotional symptoms are nothing short of debilitating. Like clockwork (I track my periods), 10 days before the start of my period, I transform into someone unrecognizable to myself, and to others. I feel uncontrollable rage that scares me so badly, I’m often afraid I’ll hurt myself or someone else. At times over the years I have unfortunately done both those things. I literally feel like a monster. I have lost jobs and relationships because of it. Along with the rage, is absolute despair, an inability to focus, brain fog, anxiety, and extreme fatigue. I was even MISdiagnosed as having bipolar II disorder several years ago. I have since been to 4 different medical professionals who all say this was a misdiagnosis; which I already knew in my gut. It was my former psychiatrist, after working with me and charting my moods daily for 6 months, who made the pmdd diagnosis. And suddenly everything just made sense. I mean I knew I had bad pms, but I didn’t understand that it was the pms that was literally making me question my sanity for a good 10 days of every month; I just believed I was a crazy person. Although the diagnosis is helpful to understand, it does nothing to alleviate the symptoms. I have been taking the antidepressant cipralex for several years for depression, but it doesn’t help much at all with the pmdd. It even seems to have become less and less effective over time. After doing some research, I recently made an appt. with my doctor to discuss switching to zoloft (sertraline), as it is recommended as a first line treatment for pmdd. When I spoke to her though, she suggested I try the Mirena iud before changing meds. I wasn’t at all keen on the idea, but she convinced me that it was a safe and easy procedure, and it could possibly help with the intense mood changes. So I’ve made an appt. to have it put in; but to be perfectly honest, after searching the internet, I’m flat out terrified. I really looked for the positive stories too, but there were not many at all. My biggest concern though, was that I found almost no concrete evidence, opinion, or study, that suggests that Mirena is actually an effective treatment for the mood changes brought on by pmdd at all. I’m really looking for answers, and am wondering if you can help me. I’m truly at a loss as to what I should do. I might also mention that I have not been sexually active in almost 6 years (sadly pmdd has a way of destroying relationships, not to mention feelings of self-worth), so I have no need for birth control at all. My appt. is on March 11 (last day of my period as per Dr’s request), and I’m dearly hoping you get a chance to read this and offer me some advice. I want to trust my doctor, but I honestly don’t know if this is the right choice for me. Thank you, and apologies for the super long post. 🙂

    Reply
  23. hello! I have had Mirena since June 2018 and the bleeding has never stopped. It goes from very light spotting to a heavier flow with some occasional small clots (stringy mucus like). I might be lucky and get 3 or 4 days with little to no spotting but so far I have had to wear a panty liner since insertion. Ovulation is sometimes a little painful and I have a cyst on each ovary which my doctor said to leave alone unless I have symptoms ( I am not all together sure what type of symptoms?) Anyway my libido is non existent, I am so fatigued and definitely have gained weight! My tubes are tied so this is strictly for the purpose of heavy bleeding and the fact that I was getting really bad cystic acne being off of birth control! I had been on the pill since age 15 and only stopped during my 3 pregnancies. After the last child 6 years ago I did not take anything anymore (tubes tied) and little by little the flood got stronger and clots got bigger so my Dr. recommended this! Not sure how I feel about it still, my husband hates it because it stabs him. I’m 41 years old and not sure if the way I feel is due to this little thing in me or not…….

    Reply
  24. My question involves my 18 year old daughter who has been on Tri-Sprintec since she was about 15 and complaining of heavy periods and severe cramping. She has actually been asking about going off the pill due to anxiety and depression symptoms (she’s done some reading on this). She also thinks it will help her lose some weight.
    I have been suggesting this to her for awhile as well. She is not currently sexually active but I feel she needs to be prepared and this could happen anytime now. Based on what I’ve read through your blog, an IUD would be the most natural alternative to switch to. She randomly quit the pill the other day (!) although I had suggested she wait until her next timed period.
    Do you recommend she get an IUD ASAP or give it a few months in between? She is afraid of having post pill symptoms such as bad skin (one advantage to being on the pill has been good skin!). Also, when I see the “cons” of IUD I am super concerned.
    I am nervous since I have been encouraging her to think about a switch…. I want it to go as smooth as possible!
    Any suggestions would be very helpful and thanks for all the knowledge you are sharing.

    Reply
  25. Hi Lara, I had the Mirena IUD inserted to help with severe Pmdd. Since then my teeth have began suffering, the enamel is wearing, the teeth have a different textured coating and they are damaging quicker. I feel like it’s because of the Mirena. Would you say this is connected? Thank you

    Reply
  26. Hi, I just started reading all of the comments and am relieved to find that others have had similar problems to mine. I had the Mirena IUD removed 12 months ago. While it was inserted, I was fine until the ovarian cysts that came and went started getting bigger, but upon taking it out, they disappeared. I am 50 years old. The first two months I had no period, but then the heavy bleeding and heavy clotting became nonstop. It stopped only twice for about two weeks at a time. It has now been 10 months. Each ob/gyn says something different. Ive had a biopsy and an ultrasound done. The blood work was a bit high in estrogen but the progesterone wasn’t especially low. They did put me on 10 days of progesterone but the bleeding has come back and I aim only 4 days into the prescription. I am wondering what natural meds I can take to try and balance out my hormones and end this nightmare, or do I just have to out the Mirena back in and take it out when in Menopause??? My sister did this.

    Reply
  27. I’m 42, and on the Mirena IUD for over a year to treat very heavy and irregular periods, as well as Spironolactone (Aldactone) for hormonal acne, hair loss, and hirsutism. (which worsened after the IUD, in my opinion). I’m told I have PCOS. I feel that the IUD has given me mood swings, and though Spironolactone has worked well for my symptoms but I don’t want to take Spiro forever. I now have symptoms of low estrogen. My doctor prescribed an estrogen cream, but I’m wondering if that’s my best option. My gynecologist insists that since the IUD hormones are absorbed locally, and neither the IUD or Spiro contain estrogen, that these are not the culprits and that it is just due to my age. She keeps trying to convince me to stick it out with the IUD, and claims there are no other effective treatments for hair loss besides Spiro. Thinking of going off Spiro for now and taking myo inositol with d chiro inositol, magnesium, and zinc? Do you have general recommendations for weaning off this medication, and/or taking out the IUD while minimizing the risk of the symptoms coming back full force? I so want to go off all these synthetic hormones but am really worried about the “crash.”

    Reply
    • The IUD is messing with your natural hormones. I ended up being diagnosed with Hashimoto’s, while on the Mirena. I even did the spironolactone for hormonal acne, because when Levothyroxine was prescribed while having the Mirena, I broke out in cystic acne. Spironolactone didn’t work. What worked to get rid of the acne was removing the IUD. Removing the Mirena was the best decision I ever made, because my Hashimoto antibodies have been reversing over the last 3 1/2 years.

      Reply
  28. do you know if there is such a thing as mirena iud crash ? for the past year my period was almost gone (skip a month and when I did get it it was a day of bleeding) I felt like I was getting more emotional then usual. I decided to remove the iud in December and I feel like It has been worst, to the point where I have anxiety and insomnia which I never had in my life.

    Reply
    • certainly, lots of women report an emotional reaction to coming off the hormonal IUD. I’m not entirely sure of the mechanism but I think it could be a reaction to ovulation and estrogen kicking back in. It usually settles down.

      Reply
  29. Hi Lara,
    Thank you for sharing a different and honest view of the use of Mirena. I have one since surgery for endometriosis in 2018. I have noticed significant changes in my life and can now lead a much more normal life. One of the biggest things I am concerned about, and slightly self conscious is the hair loss. I have tried to look everywhere to see what might be an option to counteract this with no luck. Have you heard of any treatment which can do such a thing or will removal of the IUD be the only way?

    Elle

    Reply
    • Mirena doesn’t always cause hair loss. And of course, it will also depend on your overall nutritional status. Especially iron and zinc.

      Reply
  30. Hi Lara!
    I’m 25 years old. I read this article last year and i deccided to tried Mirena IUD. I’ve been using it for 4 months.
    I’m experiencing uterus pain during my periods and ***legs and back pain*** before, during and after my period. Besides i have hair loss and bad mood.
    I feel bad the most of the days of the month.

    I was wondering, there is any woman with this symptom? I read most of the comments and i didn´t find anyone else with this problem (legs and back pain).
    I´m analyzing take it out but i want to be sure the IUD is the problem.
    Maby i need to wait six months of Mirena to give a chance?

    I would like to hear you.

    I’m going to start taking basal temperature, and read your book.!!
    Thank you for all!!!

    Reply
  31. Hi Lara, I have been told today by my fertility specialist that I need a hysterectomy and he has suggested using the Mirena in the meantime. I’m 34 years old, have adenmyosis, endometriosis and pcos (the triple whammy they call it!). My periods have been extremely painful and heavy since stopping breastfeeding in may last year and now also ovulation is very painful too. Just wondering if taking some sort of progesterone tablets or something would alleviate some of the pain before I Commit to the Mirena? Thanks! Tara x

    Reply
  32. Hi. I had Mirena fitted 4 months ago. My period has almost stopped with only a few days of spotting a month. I previously suffered from 3 days approx ovulation pain. This seemed to go away when i had Mirena inserted but over the last 6 weeks i’ve had abdominal pain every 2 weeks for a few days. It could be ovulation and when my period is meant to be but i’m unsure. Does anyone else suffer from ovulation pain on the Mirena? Wondering whether to visit my Dr or put it down to a cycle thing?? Thanks

    Reply
  33. Hi Lara there are a couple of things I would like to comment on about this blog.

    You appear to have left off the effect that hormonal IUD has on ferritin levels. I am sure you are aware that it increases ferritin, this is highly oxidative and damaging. I know some people suggest donating blood, I am not sure this is ideal.
    Secondly I do not believe the hormonal IUD does not have a systemic effect. Firstly, as the Naturopath Carrie Jones from the DUTCH tests says, we do not have a wall around our uteri. Secondly my experience with clients is that they have increased anxiety and a feeling of ungroundedness when using hormonal IUD. However if the levonorgestrel does not travel outside of the uteri, the feedback mechanism is still at play, and the message that the local receptors are full is going loud and clearly to the hypothalamus, thus potentially reducing natural healthy progesterone. As you know progesterone is critical for many functions not least bone density.

    Also there is evidence to show that the copper IUD increases beta glucuronidase, thus potentially decreasing estrogen detoxification and increasing recycling of this hormone and of course xenoestrogens. It also reduces alkaline phosphatase thus disabling the body’s LPS reduction mechanism.

    Thank you

    Beatrice Rabkin (Nutritional Therapist)
    FAE in training

    Reply
    • Thanks so much for your feedback about the article. The hormonal IUD can TOTALLY have a systemic effect. I thought I made that clear, but I will add the word “systemic” to the article. I had said: “The hormonal IUD releases the steroid drug levonorgestrel, which is the same drug used in many pills and can cause acne, hair loss, hirsutism, depression, anxiety, headaches, breast pain, yeast infections, and weight gain.” It now reads: “The hormonal IUD releases the steroid drug levonorgestrel, which is the same drug used in many pills. It is released systemically into the whole body and can cause acne, hair loss, hirsutism, depression, anxiety, headaches, breast pain, yeast infections, and weight gain.”

      Also, I say that the systemic release of levonorgestrel can suppress ovulation which is how it can suppress progesterone. (Speaking in terms of ovulation is a more accurate way to speak about how progestins suppress progesterone… as opposed to speaking about the feedback mechanism with the hypothalamus.)

      Reply
  34. After reading your book ( which Ioved by the way ) I decided to try the mirena . I am 44 yrs old and according to your criteria for heavy periods I am definitely in the very group heavy 😱.
    Insertion was painless for me and done under ultrasound guidance which I recommend.

    Unfortunately for me I just began to feel so sad, and miserable . I had no real reason for this and had lovely things in my life to look forward to . The sadness settled in and over the course of ten week and got worse .

    I made the decision to remove it and did so myself . I was so worried that a Dr would prescribe antidepressants and would not remove it due to the shot time it had been in .

    I can honestly say about four hours after I removed I smiled properly for the first time in ten weeks . Twenty four hours after removal I was my old self .

    I am glad I tried the mirena as I can now rule that out for me . I know some women have huge success with them. Each to their own and no judgement .

    I will now try a more herbal approach using Happy Hormones and make some lifestyle changes eg meditation, decrease alcohol and increase walking .

    Thank you for dedication. Your book is changing the way women think and I love that .

    Rebecca

    Reply
  35. Hi! I’m 19 and have had both the Mirena (for two years) and Skyla (for nearly three years) IUDs. I am deciding whether or not to get the Skyla removed and where to go from here…

    With the IUD, I experienced:

    – long (7-10 days) (which was relatively normal for me)
    – heavy (also normal)
    – frequent (every 2-3 weeks) (NOT normal)
    – painful (NOT normal) periods
    – HORMONAL acne (NOT normal)

    Acne is a huge concern for me because. My doctor told me to try Ortho Tri-Cyclen while I still had the IUD in to see if it would help. During the first month, I had an extremely light period and no cramps, but the acne is still here. And I also think it was causing me to have bad motion sickness.

    I just wonder, what is the best option for me? In terms of my acne, periods, and pregnancy prevention.

    Reply
  36. Hi,
    I am on biodentical progesterone and just had an IUD placed. My doctor didn’t tell me to stop the daily progesterone and now I’m afraid my progesterone will be too high.

    Reply
    • It’s fine to use progesterone together with the hormonal IUD.
      There’s NO progesterone in the IUD. It’s the drug levonorgestrel.

      Reply
  37. Hi, I’ve been on Mireya coil for 7 years and it is painful to remove and insert but to stop heavy periods sort of worth it. The problem I have is that I am going through the early stages of menopause and because there is a high risk of breast cancer can’t take hormone replacement therapy so look8ng at herbal remedies such as maca but dr doesn’t know whether it will impact coil effectiveness cause she doesn’t know enough about maca …. if anyone knows it would be helpful to get some idea 🙂

    Reply
  38. I am 30 years old and I have polysistic ovaries. I want to stop my periods as I get allergic reactions to pads. Plus I hate having periods. I’m on the Depo needle but I’m still getting alot of bleeding can the mirena help me at all on your opinion??
    Any help would be wonderful

    Reply
  39. This has been really interesting to read, I’m glad to finally see an article about the Mirena from someone who isn’t just biased for or against, but simply gives the facts & then your own opinion and why. Thankyou!

    Reply
  40. I am 39 years old and I have been using Mirena for seven years (after the first five years I have changed and I have been for two years). I always had endometriosis and polycystic ovary. I believe that the IUD has alleviated these problems because the only problem I perceive is the hair loss. Lately I have opted for a more natural diet and supplementation of vitamins. I hear much talk about Lugol iodine, which cleanses the body of heavy metals, my question is, if I supplement Lugol it can cut the effect of the IUD? There are also those who apply Lugol directly to the uterine cervix to eliminate cysts ….

    Reply
  41. Hi, I am 50 with a history of serious mennoragia (heavy bleeding that went on for weeks at a time). I’ve also previously had surgery for fibroids (myeomectomy). For the past 2 years I’ve used the Mirena IUD. It stopped the bleeding and made life bearable, but this year my hair has been falling out at an alarming rate. I also have other hormone-related side effects. Are there natural options that could work for me? I have been led to believe that the choice I am facing is hysterectomy vs. baldness. Thank you for your thoughts!

    Reply
  42. Hi there – I am 48 and have recently been recommended to get a Mirena. My periods are very very heavy and last 10 days every month like clock work. I am a vegan for years and vegetarian for 30 years., eat lots of turmeric even but have been fighting anemia on and off and now it is very severe. I have become very diligent about my diet since my latest bout of anemia. My question is can I overcome this if I work extra hard at my diet without getting the Mirena? I am just not a fan of putting something in my body that has hormones. I do not even like taking Advil so this is over the top. I am super sensitive to all medicine too and feel that this would really be hard on me. Thanks for any input.

    Reply
  43. Hi Lara, I’m 46 and have been experiencing increasingly heavy periods, joint stiffness/pain, low iron, brain fog over the past few years. Two days ago I ended up in ED on the first day of my period, diagnosed with probable cervical shock brought on by clot passing, my heart rate and blood pressure were very low but recovered quickly. I experienced the same symptoms of much stronger cramps than usual, dizziness, vomiting, cold sweats, a few times in my 20’s, but didn’t seek medical help then and put it down to a ‘Period from hell’! The Gyno (NZ hospital) has recommended a Mirena (or the pill) to hopefully stop my periods and prevent this from reoccurring. I’m reluctant as I haven’t used hormonal BC since my early 30’s but trying to weigh up the options. Do you have any thoughts on my situation? I’m so glad I found your site and have been reading as much as I can the last 24 hours.

    Reply
  44. This is such a great post to read. I’m in the dilemma at the moment of choosing whether to try the Mirena or go on with symptoms of endo, adenomyosis and small fibroids – heavy bleeding, clotting, deep pelvic pain, painful intercourse, bowel and bladder issues and much more. I’m a natural health practitioner and understand the diseases quite well and using the Mirena is so against my beliefs/knowledge. However, I am seeing top gynaecologists and they all go for this method. And as a practitioner I’ve only dealt with negative experiences. I’ve tried a number of herbal/nutraceuticals working on the inflammation, oestrogen metabolism, liver support, gut support and some months are ok but most are not. Realistically, it’s very hard for me to live a 100% anti-inflammatory lifestyle. I’m so torn at the moment deciding on this. I’ve had a lap and removal of endo a few years ago. I was perhaps hoping to have this done again and start over with perfect diet and lifestyle (which will never be perfect). I’m asking myself the question – do I just try it out for 6 months unless the side effects are so bad, at least it can be removed straight away. This is a great post with the pros and cons. It’s nice to understand the pros that ovulation can occur as stopping the whole cycle is not natural. It’s also unknown yet as to the long term effects as I’m nearly 40 – menopause, hormonal cancers. Do I need more synthetic hormones in my body – obviously this one is a no? Thanks Lara. I’ve got a few weeks before my appointment with my latest results to make a decision.

    Reply
    • You could certainly try the hormonal IUD and then have it removed if it causes problems.
      I discuss other treatments for endometriosis and adenomyosis in my book Period Repair Manual including dairy-free, N-acetyl cysteine and micronized progesterone.

      Reply
      • Hello, this woman’s situation sounds very similar to my own. I am planning to try the Mirena too, asap, but have just recently started on Cerazette to try and stop my periods. I also started using cbd oil this week (non thc containing) and have noticed some reduction in pain. I had to stop using anti-inflammatory drugs altogether as I’ve got symptoms of oesophageal inflammation. I was just wondering how the original poster is getting on and whether she did try the Mirena with any luck so far? Thanks

        Reply
  45. I had the Mirena for 3 yrs and the entire 3 yrs I had spotting every single day. After I took it out which has been almost 4 yrs ago I’ve had irregular periods to where I spot bleed for appx 10-14 days and then nothing for 10 -14 days and in between both of those 10-14 days it can be one day heavy to the next day nothing and then spotting for 2 days. I saw an OBGYN and my prolactin level was 4.2 but she said its nothing to worry about and prescribed progesterone which I took for 1 year and did nothing to improve my irregular periods so I stopped. I’ve had a biopsy of my uterus and I do have polyps but I knew about the polyps before I had the Mirena put in place and never had spotting until the Mirena. I’ve had my thyroid checked and its normal along with a CBC and CMP. I’m considering getting several of my hormones tested and have been doing tons of research on the subject studying endocrinology medical journals etc. I don’t like just throwing a pill at something without really doing any testing to try and find the root cause. I found your blog and am curious as to any suggestions that you may have. Much appreciated for your time.
    Thanks,
    Amber

    Reply
    • During the first year when the levonorgestrel (steroid drug) dose is highest, it can suppress ovulation, so yes, reduces both estrogen and progesterone.

      Reply
  46. I’ve never used anything but condoms but after my daughter is born (7th child and I’m 31) I think I need to try something else. However, I have a history of PPD and plan to nurse (I’ve heard its more likely to perforate the uterus if you’re nursing)…so I’m very worried about using hormonal bc-even if it’s low levels. Any suggestions? Would this be a good choice? Are there better options?

    Reply
      • Doctors are very against removing the uterus without there being a problem/reason for doing so, unfortunately- They don’t see being done having kids as a good enough reason.

        Reply
        • Unfortunately I ran into this myself when I asked for one but thought 7 kids may be a compelling reason! I think some private medical associations here (UK) will do elective surgery if you ask for it (and pay of course)

          Reply
  47. I am scheduled to have my Mirena removed in two weeks. I have had it for two years. In those two years, I have developed anxiety, panic attacks, weight gain, painful bloating during ovulation (although I am not positive I am ovulating), fatigue, dry eyes, brain fog….and on and on. I am so excited to get it removed and hopefully return to my old self. But I am abosulutely TERRIFIED about the possible “crash”. Is there anything I can do now to help prep my body to help lessen or prevent the crash? I have recently read your book and believe that once it’s removed, I need to take supplements and eat foods that will help promote ovulation and progesterone. Correct? Can I start those things now, two weeks out from removal?

    Reply
      • Aurora, it went really well! The actual removal was quick and easy. Just a slight tug and a little pinch. Kind of felt like removing a tampon or menstrual cup with a slight pinch. SO much better than insertion for me.

        I was a little crampy for the next day or two and then I began bleeding three days post removal. I was due for my period in the next few days anyway. The bleeding was fairly heavy for two days, along with painful cramps. But by day 3 it slowed to a light flow and I stopped bleeding completely on day 5.

        My next cycle was textbook, 29 days long. Same thing, very heavy bleeding and cramps for 2-3 days and then light and done by day 5. The third cycle was a little longer at 38 days. So I have a feeling my body is just adjusting back to it’s norm. (My cycles were always long when I wasn’t on birth control)

        As far as my mental health, I felt a weight lift off my shoulders within a day or two of removal. Just a general sense of well being, which I haven’t felt in quite some time. I am still having small little bubbles of anxiety, but it is no longer a daily battle. I just feel like myself.

        I have had zero signs or symptoms of a “crash”. I am hoping that I continue to heal and adjust back to my normal self. Good luck with your removal!

        Reply
        • Lindsay,

          You’re so kind!! Thank you for replying, I’m so glad you’ve had a smooth transition! I had heavy periods and Mirena was the only option given to me or hysterectomy. However, I always feel bloated and my legs are swollen most of the time, I don’t feel myself. I want to try a more natural option, so hopefully everything works out for me after my Mirena is removed. Thanks again for your kind response!

          Reply
        • Hi Lindsay,
          so I got my iud removed December 2nd , I decided to remove it because the last few months prior my emotions where all over the place (not my normal)( had the IUD for 2 years) and before that (5 years) … totally agree with feeling better since the removal. but I am still struggling with the anxiety not every day seems to be worst before my period and ovulation. how is your anxiety now ? since its been a few months now? I do not want to get on any medication I rather work through it . I been taking vitamins. working out. but I need to know my body will go back to normal (prior to this never had anxiety )

          Reply
  48. Is hair loss on the hormonal iud due to the levonorgestrel or could it be due to switching from a levonorgestrel/ethinyl estradiol pill to the IUD? I am wondering, because the IUD doesn’t necessarily suppress ovulation, I was curious as to why hair loss might be occurring and if hair loss would decrease after a few months on the iud and with the return of ovulation. Thank you for providing such informative content!

    Reply
    • Levonorgestrel is androgenic (male hormone-like) and can cause hair loss, but of course, you were already on levonorgestrel with the pill. The estrogen might have been sheltering you from it. Or it could be withdrawal from the synthetic estrogen.

      Reply
  49. I tried to use the copper IUD twice, in the two I had to withdraw. The first time I had a suspected pelvic inflammatory disease and the second time my uterus expelled the IUD. Since this second attempt I feel that my uterus has never been the same, I have frequent infections, pains in the cervix and the vaginal canal that I have not been able to identify until now, apparently everything is normal in the exams. Is there any explanation for this?

    Reply
  50. Hello I m 33 year old..N having mirena from last 3 year(inserted to control heavy bleed problem).now from last 8 month I m not having period.i hv done sonography in every 6 month..And everything is well in that.but I got some side effects like breast pain.i want to ask should I do continue with mirena

    Reply
  51. Hi! My name is Josefina, i’m an argentinian woman, 24 years old. (sory my english, i’m trying hard)
    I’m studying which method is better for me. I´m evaluating between implant, hormonal DIU or cobre DIU.
    I want to keep ovulating.. but, i really don’t want to have children right now. Mirena is ok for me, but the implant is cheaper. And here in Argentina some places still offer Cobre DIU.
    What do you think about it? My doctor think is dangerous but there are other doctors that don’t think that way.
    Do you think is an option?

    Reply
      • Hi! Jessy. I´ve just seen this comment. I tried Mirena (for young woman) and i’m having really painful periods, hair loss, back pain and legs.
        Thinking on take it of and look for a natural option.

        How are you doing with the reserch?

        Reply
  52. Hello! I’m in my mid 40’s and was suffering from very heavy periods that were so terrible I was bleeding through my clothing and bed linens. After going to the gynecologist I was diagnosed with adenomyosis. I got the Mirena, and although it has not stopped my periods, it has made them extremely light, an absolute bonus considering before I was dealing with a monthly crime scene at my house which prevented me from going out at all. The issue is, now I am dealing with the weight gain side effect which for me is a danger since I control my blood pressure which is naturally hypertensive, through diet and weight management.(I have developed very bad reactions to medicines and cannot take them anymore with the exception of one, and I don’t want to do that if I can avoid it). I have gained 25 pounds on the Mirena wthin the period of 1 year and have not changed my diet at all. I feel stuck since if I remove the Mirena I lose the weight, and my blood pressure subsides back to normal levels, but the floodgates get re-opened. (Its been slowly creeping up and once again I’m suffering and struggling to manage it). I keep the Mirena, my blood pressure keeps climbing up into dangerous territory and the weight doesn’t seem to budge no matter what is done. Any suggestions as to what to do? I’m at a crossroads, and the choices I have seem bleak, from a conventional methods outlook.

    Reply
    • Please read my book Period Repair Manual, and in particular, the chapter “What happens in your 40s,” where I describe natural treatment for the heavy flooding periods of perimenopause including dairy-free diet, turmeric, calcium-d-glucarate, and micronized (natural) progesterone capsules.

      Reply
  53. I’m on compounded T3 for my thyroid, and compounded progesterone and testosterone. My Grandma is a natural path. I take all sorts of supplements and live a paleo/non processed food style. My periods are awful. I start with PMS during ovulation, and feel like I’m hit by a bus for 2 weeks. My cycles are REALLY heavy and I’m anemic. I have taken 29 mg. Of iron for the last several years along with EVERYTHING else’s I’ve tried. It’s getting to the point I never feel good cause my body barely recovers before it starts all over again. I have very regular cycles and my compounded progesterone helps, but my pms is still terrible. I’m considering the Mirena. My doctor has done two ultrasounds last two years and everything is clear. I have no cysts. They think I am dealing with endo or andenomyosis. Do you think the Mirena could help? I’m at a point of desperation. I don’t like doing doctor things, I’m all natural. But again, I’m at a point I need some relief, and so does my body and mind. I really don’t want to gain weight on it. I struggle with that with my thyroid already but maintain a 150lb. Solid figure. Let me know your thoughts! Thanks!

    Reply
  54. Brief history: I’ve been on birth control since I was 17 (20 years). I started on the pill and most recently had the mirena IUD. Well, in the last few years I’ve suffered from reoccurring chronic bacterial vaginosis and subsequent yeast infections after antibiotics. A year ago I adopted a whole-food, plant based lifestyle, working to remove all toxins from my body. The systems still come and go (although not as often or severe.) Yesterday I took the leap and had the IUD removed with hopes that finally letting my body produce her own hormones and have a natural cycle could help. Question: Is BV a side effect of an IUD? I’ve read some on the topic but am still searching for more insight.

    Happily
    Quin

    Reply
  55. Had to laugh when you said things would return to normal post removal – all my symptoms still remain 2 years after and I developed Hashimotos out of it. I wouldn’t recommend them to anyone, despite the fact that I have adenomyosis to deal with.

    Reply
  56. If you cycle, then how to you not become pregnant? The way I read this, is then you can conceive, but your uterus will not be able to maintain the pregnancy, so you just loose the baby?

    Reply
  57. Hi Laura, I tried Mirena about 8 years ago when I was in my early twenties. The procedure of having it put in was definitely painful, and my gynecologist also warned that there may be some dull pelvic pain the first few days of having it in… I, however had the device in for about three days before I had to have it removed because it was causing me so much pain. I wasn’t given an explanation as to why this occurred and am curious if you’ve encountered this reaction to the Mirena IUD before? Thank you! I just ordered your book and can’t wait to read it.

    Reply
    • I ended up in the ER with pain due to mine and the doctor refused to take it out. She said she had one and I’d get used to it. I’ve never felt more violated. I’m sorry you went through this.

      Reply
  58. Thank you so much for this post! I recently listened to the episode of Harder to Kill Radio that you were on and it really got me second guessing about my Mirena, which I have had for about 2 years now. I have been thinking about switching to the Copper IUD, but where my periods have always been VERY heavy and painful (like the rest of the women in my family) I have been hesitant to go back to that from the very light bleeds I have currently, especially with the knowledge that the Cooper IUD will almost certainly make them worse for a while. After listening to this podcast I had decided it might be worth it to switch regardless, but this article has made me much more comfortable with my current form of birth control, though I will almost definitely switch to the Cooper IUD once it is time to remove my Mirena. I look forward to diving into the rest of your site!

    Reply
  59. I just had my IUD removed after being in for about 15 months and I am going to be following FAM (already started temping and checking for other signs of fertility.) I haven’t gotten my period yet. I understand it may take some time to come back. Any suggestions on things I can do to help my hormonal health?

    Reply
  60. Hello Lara,

    I am 27 years old and I have been on birth control for 10 years now and have never been pregnant. I started with the Nuva Ring which seemed to worked well. I decided to try the pill 4 years ago, I tried three varieties for 3 months each. My period would not stop throughout that entire time. I switched back to the nuva ring hoping that my period would get back to normal. This did not work. I then decided to get the Mirena 10 months ago because I heard it could stop periods completely. This also has not worked. I have not had many days without some sort of bleeding for the last 4 years. Luckily, I never have had heavy or painful periods but constantly bleeding is really inconvenient. I know this is not normal, but my doctors keep telling me that it is. I asked my doctor about taking vitex and she said this is not a good idea because it increases ovulation and since I don’t want to get pregnant, I should not take this. I do not want children any time soon and therefore need to be on some sort of birth control. I just read about Daysy and FAM and would possibly be willing to try this, but I do not have any idea when my normal menstrual cycle is. I also thought that maybe turmeric or iron supplements could help. Or maybe trying the Paragard. I am completely lost and need some suggestions. I am willing to try anything at this point. Also, I started eating a healthy/clean diet consuming low carbs (almost ketogenic) 4 months ago.

    Reply
    • I forgot to mention my activity level. I workout 4-6 times per week doing cardio kickboxing (3-4X) and weight lifting(2X). I do yoga every morning and take magnesium and cod liver oil supplementation.

      Reply
  61. Hi, I am 22 years old. I had been taking Yasmin since I was 16 but last year my new doctor told me I could not take Yasmin (or any birth control with estrogen) because I get migraines. She gave me my very few options and I got the Mirena. Everything is fine but I almost immediately gained 15 pounds that I can’t lose, cystic acne, and a ridiculous oil problem (face and hair) and my hair was falling out for a few months. She gave me a topical to use for the acne but every few days it irritates my skin and doesn’t help with the oil at all. It has been almost 1 year since I got the Mirena implanted. I’m not sure what I should do or ask at my next appointment with her.

    Reply
  62. I am 26 and have had incredibly irregular (3-14 months apart), heavy (90-250ml, depending on how far apart they are) painful (in bed/non-functional for 1-2 days, but some form of milder pain for about 2 weeks) periods since age 13. I’ve seen 8 doctors in the last 10 years with only 2 willing to run blood work/ultrasound. I have been following your protocol for PCOS and Endometriosis (diet and supplements) for 1.5 years and have had some improvement, but not like I’d like to see.

    I got all hormones tested and a full thyroid panel before I started your protocol and after. Everything came back normal except my lh:fsh ratio was 1:2.5 both times. The ultrasounds said my uterine lining is thick (not sure how severe). I have acne, hirsutism, insomnia, fatigue and thinning hair. I am a perfect weight, no insulin/blood sugar issues, decent digestion, eat a VERY clean balanced diet and live a moderately active lifestyle. I have 4 older sisters with the same symptoms (they all chosen the pill). I practice FAM, so I know I ovulate and have a 14 day luteal phase.

    Most recently I was told by my doctor that it is all stress induced. He is recommending the Mirena to thin my uterine lining and slow my flow as a preventative measure (his concerns are uterine cancer and anemia). I am feeling pretty confused about what my next steps should be.

    My main question for you is this: Is natural progesterone an alternative that could help to thin the uterine lining and lighten periods in the same way as the mirena?

    I was also wondering if you have any suggested “next steps” I could look into?

    Since reading your book and making diet/lifestyle changes for the last 1.5 years my cycles have averaged at 62 days and 80-120ml. with significantly less pain. I know it’s not “normal” yet, but it is incredible improvement for me! Thanks for being an advocate and giving women hope for their health!

    Reply
    • One more detail that every doctor has told me is irrelevent- my folicular phase basal temp. is between 96.0-96.4 and luteal phase temp is 96.5-97. Doctors say it is irrelevent because my thyroid hormone panal comes back normal (TSH- 1.41).

      Reply
    • Thanks for sharing your story, Emily. That amount of pain does suggest endometriosis. Have you spoken to a Gynecologist who understands endometriosis? She could do a physical exam and maybe order a specialized ultrasound to see what is going on. And hopefully, the new saliva test for endometriosis will become available soon.
      Did you see my post When Period Pain Is not Normal.
      Finally, you might want to think about eliminating eggs. When I shared about eggs on social media a couple of weeks ago, many readers mentioned that their endometriosis improved a lot off eggs.

      Reply
  63. Hi, I had a Mirena inserted 5 years ago. I am 45 years old. Being pre-menopausal? Do I still need Mirena or could I take something else? I have been experiencing hair loss to a point I have 10 cent size baldness that comes and goes. Not sure if this is one of the side effects?

    Reply
    • The levonorgestrel drug in Mirena can cause hair loss. When you say “take something else?”, do you mean for symptoms or to prevent pregnancy?

      Reply
  64. Are there any theories or ideas out there about why, if Mirena hormones are supposedly localized and there’s less in the bloodstream, etc., there still seem to be systemic effects (like in the Danish study, where Mirena users had even higher rates of depression than women on the Pill)? I had the Mirena removed because of extreme mood swings, insomnia, heart palpitations, and really bad headaches, all of which went away within about a week after I had it out (and good thing, because I thought I was going crazy!). I’ve been doing FAM since then–it’s been about ten months–and though I started ovulating pretty much right away, I think I have issues with low progesterone because I have short luteal phases (though they are gradually getting longer!) and quite a bit of luteal phase spotting, which is something I never had pre-Mirena. I had some issues while on the Pill as well, but the side effects of the Mirena were far, far worse for me, and I don’t understand the whole “local” vs. “systemic” thing. Pretty much everything I find online about “recovering” from hormonal birth control is about the Pill and getting your period back, not so much about luteal phase issues. Anyway, thanks Dr. Briden, I have learned so much from your book and website!!

    Reply
    • Thanks so much for sharing your story.

      There definitely are systemic effects from Mirena, especially for some women. Which doesn’t make sense given it is a lower overall dose of the levonorgestrel compared to the pill. BUT it is levonorgestrel on its own, without the softening effects of estrogen, so it will feel worse. The things to compare would be Mirena versus progestin-only pill, and I think the progestin-only pills did pretty badly in the Danish study as well.

      I’ve recently learned that levonorgestrel may alter progesterone receptors. And that the effect can last past the time when the drug is stopped. Which could explain your ongoing spotting suggestive of progesterone deficiency.

      Finally, I have a theory (unproven) that some women have a nervous system reaction to having a foreign body in the uterus. Which could be why some women also develop anxiety on the copper IUD. But some women seem to be okay. I have no idea how scientists would even test this possibility.

      Reply
      • Perhaps these women are those that are highly tuned into the world around them or intiutive – hence why they done like the foreign device.

        Reply
  65. I just had a Mirena inserted after many years of suffering from heavy periods. I hesitated in having it because I did read many negative side effects of it. Also I didn’t want anything external to maybe upset the natural balance of my hormones. Although I am in perimenopause and was hoping that my period would stop on its own or get lighter, that hasn’t been the case.
    I love your article as it spelled out exactly the pros and cons and concerns that I have.
    I hope I had made the right choice and not experience some horrible side effects.

    Reply
  66. Hello! I have an Mirena IUD, placed about a year ago that has greatly helped with menstruation-related symptoms (mild endo/or adeno? and heavy bleeding). I’m just starting pelvic/abdominal pains again and want to track daily to report back to my doctor… but, as someone whose bleeding has disappear completely, it makes it harder to track symptoms alongside my cycle. What’s a good way to track female cycles when there’s no bleeding? Discharge, perhaps?

    Reply
    • Temperatures. Take your morning temperature with an ovulation thermometer. Temperature goes up after ovulation and then drops with the “period” (even if there’s no bleeding)

      Reply
      • Thank you! I thought of that myself but I have fibromyalgia++ so can be up frequently through the night.. Worth giving it a shot though! 🙂

        Reply
  67. Hi Lara,
    What a wonderful, informative site. I had the Mirena placed 8 months ago for heavy periods and birth control. I am 41 and have 3 kids. I am still having bleeding and spotting for about 15-20 days each month with a week or two break in between episodes. My OB/GYN suggested going on a birth control pill to “reset” my system or have the Mirena removed. I would rather not introduce more synthetic hormones so I am leaning towards removal. Do you have any recommendations for naturally balancing out things before I give up?
    Thanks

    Reply
  68. Hi Lara,
    I’m just wondering about using Vitex alongside the Mirena for endometriosis. Am experiencing many of the side effects like breast enlargement/tenderness, mood changes etc., so wondering if Vitex might help these symptoms and/or if it will be working against what the Mirena is doing for the endometriosis. I am currently not having a period with the Mirena and am unsure if I am ovulating.
    Thank you!

    Reply
  69. I recently went to my PCP with c/o chin hair, acne and irritability. Labs show an elevated bioavailable testosterone 7.5; but all other labs are normal including DHEAS, SHBG, LH/FSH, prolactin, thyroid panel. I had pelvic ultrasound which was normal. I have the Mirena x 2 years now. I get a light period every month, my periods have always been regular and I conceived 2x withouth difficulty so I don’t think I have PCOS (currently being worked up w/endo) My question is can the Mirena cause increased testosterone levels?

    Reply
  70. Hi Lara,

    I got the Mirena IUD two years ago and have had no issues with it. But I do not bleed at all now, and I would like to know how to track my cycles when I don’t get an actual period? I am very active, and would like to periodize my workout schedule around my menstrual cycle, so that I am protecting my natural hormone levels as best I can. Any tips or advice you have would be greatly appreciated!

    Reply
    • Hi Emma,
      The best way is to track your temperatures. Your temperature will go up after ovulation and then drop just before your “period.”

      Reply
  71. I’ve had the marina 4 months and have gained 11 pounds weight has never been an issue, but I use it for period control which I already see great relief is there anything I can use to counter act the weight gain, eating like a rabbit and. Dry active!

    Reply
  72. Hi Lara – This is a very informative and detailed article but does not answer my quandary and I’m hoping you may be able to. I went today to have a Mirena inserted. I have 2 children now aged 10 and 13 both delivered naturally with no complications. When trying to insert the IUD my OBGYN got less than 2cms dilation before I was crying, sweating in pain and he had to stop. I do not need the Mirena for birth control as we use withdrawal and have successfully for over 20 years (the 2 kids were completely planned). The Mirena is to reduce the amazingly heavy periods that I have been experiencing for the past few years and the irregular periods I have experienced for the past 9 months since turning 40. My doctor has suggested I have the Mirena inserted under a general anaesthetic in hospital and I am not sure that having him knock me out to stretch my cervix when it is obviously amazingly tightly shut to insert a device I am not sure I want is really worth it. Not to mention the $1000 out of pocket expense. Can you offer another suggestion for reducing my periods possibly something that is oral rather than inserted? Thank You

    Reply
  73. I’ve had mirena iud for almost 3 years now. I find that my cycles are longer and just as heavy. Is it possible that the iud isn’t releasing enough hormones?

    Reply
  74. i have had the Mirena for 2 and half years now and 2 weeks ago i started spotting. but mostly a brown like color spot. a week ago i have my PAP done and the doctor had said there was old blood there but my BC looked fine. why and how long should i be spotting this is getting real inconvenient..

    Reply
  75. I had Mirena inserted about two months ago. I turned to Mirena in the attempt to stop my monthly brown spotting which lasted for about 5-7 days before I’d get my period every month. This spotting started at age 39 (I’m 42 now). Birth control pills were the only thing that would stop the spotting; I tried so many natural treatments (vitex, magnesium, ashwagandha, progesterone cream, etc) after quitting the pill but none of them helped. So far I’m spotting EVERY day now with the Mirena. I’m hoping this will stop after I make it through the first 3-6 months. If it doesn’t I will be going back on the pill, unfortunately. Also, I want to add that the Mirena insertion was VERY painful. I think I’m more sensitive than most women, though.

    Reply
  76. I have searched for your advice on the so called “Mirena Crash” that happens after you have it removed and how to avoid it or make it more bearable. Have you written anything on this topic or do you have any advice? Your book mostly talks about coming off the pill, and as I understand it they have different effects.
    Thank you for a great book!

    Reply
    • I’m working on a new edition of my book and I’ll be sure to address the so-called “Mirena crash.” It happens when the ovaries kick back into full action after being partially suppressed by the levonorgestrel drug of the Mirena. So it can create an “estrogen storm” similar to what happens when stopping the Depo-Provera contraceptive injection. The solution is to support the healthy detoxification or metabolism of estrogen as I discuss in my book.

      Reply
  77. Hi Lara, it’s been 10 months since I’ve gotten the Mirena IUD inserted. However, since I’ve had the IUD, I’ve noticed that sometimes I will have low libido, breast tenderness, mood swings, and acne even though these never used to be a problem before. I guess this is due to the hormonal imbalance in my body and I was just wondering if it was safe to have Vitex while I still have my IUD. Are there other things you would recommend?

    Reply
  78. Hi Lara, I hope this finds you so well~

    So about the year before I got the Mirena, my periods had gotten quite debilitating and heavy which is why my gyno suggested it. A couple months before I got it (Aug-Dec), I started noticing depression/bad thoughts/issues that happened the week before I bled, and getting increasingly heavier/more severe as well. I also had some GI issues (nausea/vomitting), that were arising randomly as well. This was all concerning, but the thoughts disappeared as I started to bleed (PMDD like) and the GI stuff was random. I also got very fatigued and had symptoms of the common cold before my periods in the past. As it all felt like it was getting worse, and before a move, I thought about it, and finally got the Mirena Dec 2016.

    Ever since, my abdominal pains have definitely increased and so have the nausea/vomiting attacks and GI issues. I’ve also been experiencing anxiety, depression, panic attacks, and mental concerns I’ve never really had before. My acne has gotten worse for sure, the bloating and everything has been accumulating. I also developed allergies (seasonal I guess), which I’ve never had in the past either. Huge swollen eyes and other attacks like that and some random rashes, have been just another addition to the issues.

    Anyways, nothing seems to be helping and I am almost constantly bleeding or having a period it feels like every other week. The nausea/GI stuff FEELS like it’s connected to my “cycle” or hormones or something. I’ve had a couple normal ultrasounds and tests which have ruled out any gyno/GI issues. So looks like I have a clean bill of health, but I just don’t feel good at all. I have had 2 days this year where I felt normal.

    Any suggestions?
    I take vitamins, I eat vegan/low FODMAP when I can, I am very proactive in my health, which is why this is all so confusing!

    Reply
  79. Hi! I’m considering getting the Mirena but have heard a lot of stories about it causing infertility, which makes me nervous. Do you know how common that is? Is it something I should be worried about?

    Reply
  80. I am 39 years old & have 2 children. I do not want to have any more kids, but since we had fertility issues, I don’t think that will be a problem. I found out about 6 years ago that I had endometriosis (due to an endometrial cyst on one of my ovaries the size of a grapefruit that had to be removed, along with the ovary & the tube). I’ve always had VERY painful periods since I was 11 years old…until my oldest was born. The cramps went away & my periods weren’t as heavy. After the 2nd child, about 3 years ago, my periods have gotten worse than they were before my 1st. I have some cramping, but the worst part is that I go through an Ultra tampon in less than 2 hours & have to wear 2 pads to cover everything & make sure that I don’t get blood on my clothing…which sometimes still happens if the pads shift. I just had to go on iron supplements…most likely due to my heavy periods. My doctor suggested at my last visit that I try the Mirena & I stumbled across your website while looking for the pros & cons. I’d love to hear your thoughts on whether you think this would be the best course of action for me. Thank you & have a blessed day!

    Reply
  81. Lara,
    I am 42 and have had heavy, painful periods for over 15 years (since I came off of the pill). I have tried most (all?) of the natural treatments you recommend, but nothing has changed the flow or pain. I also have a thickened endometrium. I am considering the Mirena, but have a tendency toward anxiety/depression and am very worried that the Mirena will exacerbate that. And I don’t want to lose my sex drive. Curious if there were supplements to take to counteract some of the problems with the Mirena? Like B vitamins or others? Thanks for all you do!

    Reply
    • A bit of natural progesterone could potentially offset some of Mirena’s potential mood side effects.

      You could also consider progesterone as a treatment. My go-to prescription these days for the heavy menstrual bleeding of perimenopause is:
      1) dairy-free diet, 2) turmeric, 3) natural progesterone as a capsule like Prometrium (luteal phase only). But please speak to your doctor.

      Reply
  82. Hi Lara
    I’m a SLE patient and have a mild stroke history, I’m currently breastfeeding as well so would it be wise to use the mirena as any inflection could cause a the lupus to flare.

    Reply
  83. I have recently had the mirena inserted, as I bleed very heavily (always have) and periods last up to 9 days (plus had a 5cm pollop removed from my uterus). I’m hoping it might help with my menstrual migraines which are debilitating. It haa been two months and the migraines are shorter, but not gone . I take vitex and magnesium daily.

    Reply
    • I wouldn’t think that Mirena could be of any benefit for migraines. But magnesium can. And so can natural progesterone. There is a menstrual migraine section in my book.

      Reply
      • If I have menstrual migraines and the Mirena limits the days of the period, can’t that limit the time period for migraines? Right now, almost a year after insertion, I am still having long (but lighter) periods and corresponding migraines – now for a longer stretch of time.

        Reply
  84. Hi Laura, Just got done reading the pros and cons of the Mirena IUD. I’m still on the fence of having my obgyn put one in. I’m 50 years old, have Factor V Leiden and on Coumadin. Over the last 3-4 years I have had off and on bleeding many pelvic ultra sounds, biopsies and other test to show that I have uterine fibroids and ovarian cysts. My Dr. will not give me a hysterectomy because she says I’m close to menapause which this has been going on for about 5-6 years. And she says since I’m on Coumadin and the factor v linden there will be too much bleeding with surgery. Oh and did mention my mother died of uterine cancer at the age of 61. So she wants me to try the Mirena IUD to help stop the heavy bleeding that is non stop for months at a time. 2 months and 3 months with big clots. I’ve read the side effects of the iud, I already have alot of them without having the iud, why would I torcher myself and add to the misery. The Mirena IUD has hormones in it and with Factor V Leiden I can’t have any hormones. Another reason for not having a hysterectomy. Just confused as to what on earth to do. Need some suggestions or answers please. Thank you so much.

    Reply
    • of course, I cannot advise you specifically what to do because that is between you and your doctor. But I will say that I’ve had patients in similar situations, and I have recommended that they proceed with Mirena. It can be a real life-saver in difficult situations like this.

      Reply
  85. Hi Lara,
    I’m in the process of exploring my birth control options. I have PCOS that I am treating through supplementation and exercise. Though I know PCOS can cause infertility, I’m also aware that the steps I’m taking to manage it also increases my fertility, and I have no desire to become pregnant for quite some time.
    I tried tracking my cycles a while ago, but I have a very busy, slightly unpredictable life style and I also have fairly irregular, unpredictable periods, so that proved difficult for me.
    To your knowledge, would the Skyla IUD affect a woman with PCOS any differently than a woman without it? Would my PCOS put me at higher risk for complications than other women?
    In regards to the Daysy method that you also mentioned, can that work even for women with irregular periods?
    I get nervous about altering my hormones in any way, but I also get very nervous about getting pregnant, so I’m trying to find the best option for me right now.

    Please let me know.
    Thank you!

    -Liana

    Reply
  86. Hello and thank you for your post.

    What do you recommend to control yeast while on Mirena, other than strict anti-candida diet?

    Some herbs?

    Thank you very much,

    Rosa

    Reply
  87. Hello Lara!
    Im a Naturopath who also works with Womens Health & Hormones
    Recently i had a patient come in whose results show low levels of Oestrogen & Progesterone in the Luteal Phase
    My first thought was to give Vitex (alongside other female balancing herbs) to correct the ratio. However i was unable to find any concrete evidence that herbs for hormonal health can be used alongside the Mirena

    Consulting your blog was my next choice and i stumbled across this article. Could you please shed some light on this?

    Thank you, Chloe

    Reply
  88. Hi,

    What are your thoughts on the Jaydess IUD? https://www.jaydess.com/compare-your-options. It was recommended by my OB for heavy painful periods when I declined Mirena due to not wanting to lose my cycle or be on hormonal birth control. I’ve been on it for about 6 months and have a dramatic improvement in my periods while still bleeding. My OB told me that the medication in it is dosed at a much lower amount and that since it is acting primarily on the uterine lining that very little would effect the rest of the endocrine glands.

    Have you had any experience with this or is there an additional perspective that you can offer?

    Reply
    • Jaydess and Skyla are the exact some thing as Mirena. They’re intrauterine devices that releases the progestin levonorgestrel. As with Mirena, the levonorgestrel works mostly locally, but some of it will enter the blood-stream.

      Reply
  89. I appreciate the time you took and real information you put into this blog on: The PROS and CONS of the hormonal IUD (Mirena). This article has helped me and in fact, was almost exactly what I had typed into my search engine (“PROS and CONS of Mirena”). So I really like that it has answered a couple of questions, and calmed some of my known and “unknown” concerns. I have been thinking about getting the hormonal IUD for two years.
    Again, the article addressed a few concerns some of which were contemplated and others just slight curiosities and health questions. I fear for the perforation and expulsion. However, I have never become pregnant nor have ever breast fed. And I feel a little more comfortable with the idea of getting this form of contraceptive.
    I really like your distinction between pill bleeds and ovulation. I am mostly looking to reduce the flow of my periods, and the contraceptive portion seems to be a beneficial side effect. I have prided myself on being natural through most of my adult life, but as I have gotten into my 30’s my menstrual bleeding has increased and i am someone who use to have no- to very little periods when in the height of my athletics. To having normal cycle’s and then severe debilitating menstrual cramps.

    Reply
    • thanks for sharing your story, and if you do try Mirena, please feel free to comment again in a few months with your experience. I’m sure my readers would appreciate it.

      Reply
    • I have the Merina and it will be 5 yrs in 2017. I had it implanted because after having my second child (29yrs old) my period had become a very heavy 7 day period compared to my light 3 day period of the past. The first year was a bit yuck, once my period started it would last for ages but had changed to a different colour/consistency and less flow which was good and I thought I will give this a year before I decide to take it out. By that time things had settled down to mostly no period so I have kept it. I know when I have my cycle and get a very small amount of bleeding sometimes, some minor cramping (like right now) and normal hormonal grumpiness. All I use is the double layered pantyliner. I have been reading up on the matter because I’m deciding whether to have another put in or go natural for a while, I’m thinking of having another bub which will likely be the deciding factor. All in all it fixed my heavy bleeding with no real noticeable side effects.

      Reply
  90. Hi Lara
    I have been recommended to have the Mirena coil by my gynaecologist to thin the lining of the uterus. I am 47 years old. Do you know of a more natural (but effective) way of doing this? I’m concerned about the side-affects…. do you know if you experienced side-affects, if you removed the coil, would the side-affects revert?
    Many thanks

    Reply
  91. I have had the Miranda in for 4.5 yrs for the sake of excruciating painful periods, which turned out to be fibroids, the pain and cramping have stopped and minimal periods. I have had no problems at all with it and I am 47yrs of age also have my tubes tied be fore insertion.

    Reply
  92. I’ve had this Iud and although it did it’s job amazingly I unfortunately was one of the women to experience a symptom that isn’t talked about very much and some doctors says isn’t from the Iud.. I had been on it for about 6 months all was good, spotting had stopped I was a happy girl. Till one day when I got a cramp that literally dropped me to my knees. I went to the hospital Because the pain would come and go randomly. I had blood tests done, had an internal ultrasound and still no answers. Finally after 2 months of pain, sometimes putting me on ass I decided to have my Iud removed.. 2 weeks after it being taken out TADA no more pain, now after a year I’m still pain free!!! Doctors don’t understand what it did to me but we know it was caused by the Iud

    Reply
      • I had the same issue with the copper IUD and now have the Implenon. I am considering Mirena but still looking for answers about that random recurring pain we seem to have in common. If there’s any insight anyone can share about that, I’m all ears.

        Reply
      • I read some people complaining that Daysy was unable to get accurate readings when they drank alcohol the night before and it would give them mostly red days when it couldn’t figure out what to do. is this true? Also, it is very expensive. Are there cheaper alternatives? And how long does it take to be accurate? Does it need to be used to gather data for a while first or ?

        Reply
        • Daysy is accurate right away, but the number of green days increase with the number of cycles used.
          If you drank large amounts of alcohol the previous night, it is best to omit that reading

          Reply
  93. I had the mirena fitted 2 weeks ago my body rejected it over a few days it was like so painful and uncomfortable was still very sore for a couple days after then on the 3rd day I had 2 use maternity pads that were the thickest and still had 2 change every 10 min until my partner called am ambulance my baby girl was 26 weeks around 6mnths i would never recommend the mirena far from it i would honestly remind my family what i went through with it and try 2 suggest anything but x

    Reply
  94. Is there a good coil option for someone who bleeds very heavily, has a small amount of endometriosis and suffers regularly from migraine? Your advice is appreciated!

    Reply
  95. So glad I stumbled upon this post by chance. I have been considering the Mirena as two of my closest friends got it a few months ago and they love it. I, however, had an abortion around the same time. I had used cycle awareness successfully for 6+ years but did not realize the importance of monitoring temperature and I suppose must have made an error somewhere along the way. Ever since the experience I am extremely paranoid of ever becoming pregnant again and so have been considering the Mirena to put myself at ease. However, I don’t like interfering with my body or passively relying on technology to maintain my health, in addition to having bad experiences with hormonal birth control as a teenager.

    Through your site I found the Daysy and I’m interested in trying it out. Although I am simply not sure it is worth the risk and anxiety that I now find accompanies using FAM, even with a basal body thermometer. I trusted the method but now I am second-guessing whether or not it is for me. I have an upcoming appointment with my naturopathic doctor to discuss my options but I am so grateful to have found this post and your website for additional guidance along the way. Thank you for sharing your balanced insight.

    Reply
    • Thanks for your comment Katelynn. Do you mean you were attempting fertility awareness method without monitoring basal body temperature? It will be a completely different thing when done properly with something like Daysy. It has a high effectiveness rating.

      Reply
      • Dear Lara, i agree with what Katelynn mentioned above: fertility awareness methods are usually accompanied with a lot of anxiety due to the risk associated. At least for me! I’ve been reading about DAYSY but is too expensive for me at the moment as im on a long term travel situation.

        Would you say is possible to supplement fertility awareness methods (such as tracking your period wiht an app and journaling symptoms to get in tune with your cycles) with basal temperature daily measurements by ourselves? (is that possible? (i mean wihtout the DAYSY device).

        I’d love your input in this matter.
        Thank you !

        Reply
        • Yes, it’s definitely possible to do fertility awareness method (FAM) properly without Daysy, but rather with a separate basal body temperature thermometer. (It sounded to me like Katelyn hadn’t been using temperatures at all… and temperatures are the key to success with FAM ). You’ll want to get some training from an instructor (click here for a list or training sites), or a book like “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” by Toni Weschler.

          Reply
          • Dear Lara, thanks so much for your prompt reply, i really appreciate it 🙂
            I checked the list that you kindly shared but unfortunately they didnt have any info about this method in australia. I’ve done a quick google search already but would love your recommendations if you have any. Thank you so much! and have a great day!

  96. That the Mirena allows a woman to “cycle but not bleed” is new information to me! Do you know if there’s any data on what percentage of women continue to ovulate but don’t get a period? Or maybe the question is, what percentage of ovulations are not followed by a period? (Because maybe any individual woman might have some cycles with and some without a bleed?)

    Reply
  97. Hi, Lara,

    Does the Oregano Oil need to be enteric coated in order to kill off the bad bags in the bowel rather than be absorbed by the stomach or will it still reach the bowel without being enteric coated and being absorbed by the stomach? Thank so much!

    Reply
    • Hi, Lara,

      In addition to the above question, I was also wondering if it is ok to take medicinal mushroom extracts when you have a fungal overgrowth such as candida and have recurrent yeast infections?

      Reply
  98. Hello, I would like to know what causes the shortness of breath week before my period?
    How could I improve it? Breathing exercise does not help.

    Claire.

    Reply
  99. Dear Lara,

    My Serum DHEA results were 21 ng/mL and the reference was <6.6 ng/mL. Do you think this is indicative of an adrenal tumor? My doctor never mentioned it and this was drawn years ago. I later got diagnosed with PCOS, but never had adrenal scan.

    Reply
  100. 10,5 years use of Mirena has ruined my health. I had no idea that all the immune system problems which I had were caused by Mirena.

    Reply
  101. I had Mirena inserted Oct 2012 as soon as I finished breastfeeding. I was 24 and had had 3 pregnancies. Cycles my whole life have been super heavy and painful, so I hoped it would stop that part. I’ve just had it removed in May 2016.
    My mom had one in the 80s and it became embedded and had to be surgically removed. She warned me this might happen to me too, but the doc said it almost never happens.
    They cut the strings a little too short but assured me that would be fine.
    My mental health steadily declined to the point I had debilitating panic attacks daily. This could be circumstancial though.
    Sex was always painful and immediately followed by embarrassing bleeding.
    Discharge regularly grossed me out but docs didn’t seem to think that was unusual (they didn’t see it, though).
    Acne persisted the whole time and was painful.
    Sex drive vanished, and I packed on 50lbs this past year.
    Though it DID reduce (not eliminate) my periods I’d have heightened PMS and irregular, strange-looking spotting, especially after doing exercise.

    In 2014 I’d had enough and asked them to take it out, but they said they couldn’t find the strings, and said return in a few weeks because the cervix might change position. A few more attempts, still not out. They sent me for ultrasound, said it was positioned just fine and they can’t see a problem.
    My smear was due so asked the nurse “while you’re down there…” to take it out. No strings found. She said they might be tucked up inside, the doc would have to do a special thing with a special tool. So another appointment (bear in mind I’m a sexual abuse survivor so EVERY visit is traumatic for me) and doc uses special swizzle hook meant to capture strings and help pull it out. She can’t find strings. She thinks they’re tucked up inside but something seems to be blocking the entry of my cervix so she says she’s referring me to the hospital for a uteroscopy where they’ll remove it for sure.
    So hospital appointment happens, it was confirmed to be both embedded and sideways, strings and all. He got it out using local anaesthetic (which never works on me) but it hurt like birth, no joke. Worst pain ever because it felt nastier than other pain. Horrible, vicious pain.
    So now I’ve got the first period since and it’s reminding me how bad and painful these periods are, too. But I don’t ever want that awful thing inside me again.
    I was given the mini-pill to be taking now, I thought it might interfere with my moods less than Mirena did, but after reading your article it looks like that will not be the case.
    I’m not brave enough to face Mirena again. I want to want and enjoy sex, be able to work again (meaning stop the heightened anxiety I’ve developed) and all those things Mirena ruined for me.
    After reading this I think I’m going to start using a menstrual cup (I heard they’re amazing) and non-hormonal contraception (if I ever date again– Mirena’s side effects could have absolutely contributed to the breakdown of my marriage and I’m still dealing with that).
    Thank you for the info on this post. It’s helped a lot.

    Reply
    • hey wow that sounds full on being I got the merina myself I can relate a lil bit. I have heard the endocrine system can be affect lara have u heard that.? Anyway Kristen wish u all the best Sj

      Reply
  102. Hi, Lara. Your book says you recommend 1,000mg phosphatidylserine. Is this a typo? Did you mean 100mg? I can only find capsules in 100mg.

    Reply
  103. Hi Laura,

    Thank you so much for posting this. I had my Mirena removed about 2 weeks ago after having it in for a year. I believe that it suppressed ovulation for me altogether, as two of the side effects I experienced were weight gain and depression. I also feel like my lower abdomen was constantly distended with it in. Since having it out, I feel much less bloated, but have been very tired. Hopefully it is just my body adjusting back to normal. For those debating Mirena, I have a lot of friends that LOVE it, but every body is different. I am extremely sensitive to most medicines, and Mirena was not for me. Do you have any recommendations for clearing my system of any leftover synthetic hormones?

    Reply
    • The levonorgestrel should be out of your system fairly quickly. The best way to recover is to promote healthy ovulations so you can make some progesterone.

      Reply
  104. One other con is that it can on occasion move in the body and not be possible to remove without surgery! As I found out….however that was my third and I had no problems previously with the other 2.

    Reply
  105. I’m 34 and was diagnosed with endometriosis when I was 19 after crippling pain my entire menstral life. The only thing which has reduced both the number and size of my endo growths had been the mirena. Have had 9 laps to remove endo and adhesions and scar tissue and had my fourth mirena in four weeks ago. Yes I get hormonal acne, a bit furry (am blonde so doesn’t show too much), have terrible water retention and experienced weight gain with the mirena, but for me using natural therapies to counteract these side effects, provides me with a far better quality of life than life on the pill. The thing in life is sometimes you need to choose the lesser of two negative options and I’d rather take flaxseed oil, diuretics and exercise and have twice a year waxing than deal with crippling endo and period pain.

    Thank you for such a great article which is balanced. I often see articles slamming it or putting it up on a pedestal. The reality is each woman’s body reacts differently and women need to find what works best for them. A combined natural and medical approach works for me.

    Reply
  106. I am one of the women who had heavy flooding after 40. I had no idea what women meant when they mentioned flooding, I thought it was a heavy period and I had always had those.

    Nope Flooding was just that a flood of fluid and big clots, that no tampon, pad, cup, or combination could hold or absorb. No warning, I had to carry a change of clothes. Added to the flooding was incredibly painful ovulation.

    When I went to my MD I thought surgery was my only answer, but he said no I had other options. The Mirena was the option that works for me. I am pro hormonal solutions, but it is preferable to surgery. NO flow after 3 months, except a tiny bit of spotting for the first 3 years, a panty liner was enough coverage. Ovulation was no longer painful either.

    No noticeable side effects. I do have a few more whiskers under my chin, but that comes with age too.

    Reply
  107. I had the Mirena removed last December after having it for 2.5 years. I had a horrible experience. I didn’t really stop bleeding for the first 6 months – light bleeding, but bleeding none-the-less. I continued to have very short cycles. I gained weight, had anxiety issues, hormonal imbalance that affected my autoimmune disorder for the worse and I think it also threw my thyroid out of balance. I feel that I’m still struggling to recover in some ways. But finally, I have my regular cycle back again.

    Reply
  108. Hi Lara,
    I got the mirena iud and ive always suffered acne but it got much worse with the mirena and antibiotics which always worked couldnt even clear my skin and it got worse after i had it removed but minocycline cleared my skin again… then i got pregnant and had a baby and my acne was terrible throughout and is more cystic postpartum.. my doctor recommends going back on birth control to regulate my hormones… beyaz in particular and spironolactone. Is it possjble that having a baby 7 weeks ago permanently altered my hormones and ill always suffer cystic acne now?

    Reply
  109. A bit scary to see that Mirena is not recommended while breastfeeding. I had one inserted by my GYN at the 6 week postpartum check up after my 2nd child. I found the device extremely uncomfortable for at least 3 months- I could feel the “hair” really nylon wire that hangs down for removal. In retrospect, I think the low progesterone caused by breastfeeding was the source of the discomfort- thinning of vaginal skin etc. The feeling improved after 3 months, but in the 3 years I had it, I had absolutely no libido. A very common side effect of birth control that you don’t mention in the cons here. Also, I had to take extra progesterone top up pills a few times to control spotting. Never had any issues with milk supply but concerns me now to hear my son may have been getting the drug through my milk.

    Reply
  110. I am an endometriosis sufferer and have had the mirena coil. I’m 43 and was diagnosed when i was 26 although have suffered with painful periods throughout my teenage years and beyond… I have had many hormonal treatments and personally as I’ve got older I prefer natural remedies. The mirena coil made me put on over a stone in weight, I had cystic acne and felt depressed . I also suffered extreme cramping for over 6 months from time of insertion. In summary mirena coil was a definite no for me and I had a removed one year later.

    Reply
  111. I had the Mirena inserted 5 1/2 years ago. this suited my circumstances as I was 48 years old and the best option. I have not had a period for the last 3 years and have gone through menopause without any problems at all. I chose to have it removed last month and discovered it had never ‘opened up’ when inserted. quite bizarre. I highly recommend it to anyone.

    Reply
    • Great question. There’s a greater chance of IUD expulsion and uterine perforation while breastfeeding. Also, Mirena-users have a lower continuation of breastfeeding, compared to copper IUD users, so that might mean that it affects milk supply.

      About 0.1 percent of the maternal dose of levonorgestrel can be transferred via milk to the nursed infant, and infants have increased risk of respiratory infections and eye infections compared to infants whose mothers use a copper IUD. Also, there are concerns about infant’s liver and brain development if used in the first six weeks postpartum. There have been no long-term studies to assess the long-term effects on infants of levonorgestrel in breast milk.

      The FDA recommends against Mirena during breastfeeding, but Planned Parenthood says women can use it from 4 weeks post-partum.

      Reply
  112. I was helped with heavy and painful periods by taking b6 as p-5-p and calcium d-glucarate in addition to the DIM and EPO I was already taking thanks to your articles and book. So if someone was looking for relief from heavy periods it would be definitely something to try if they also weren’t looking for birth control. 🙂

    Reply
  113. I had my Mirena removed from me last year. First doctor was not able to get it out and I had to go to a university hospital and they too found it difficult to get it out. It was caught in the muscle of my uterus and the removal was very, very painful. I bleeded twenty days after the operation. I will never again let anybody put any kind of birth control device inside my uterus.

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  114. Dear Laura. I haven’t got my period for a year since coming off the pill. I’ve bought your book last autumn, followed your diet advice (for about 4 months strictly, now I try to live less restricted since it also affects my eating disorder to control food) taken Vitex and the other herbs you recommend for stress and so on. I even talked with you a bit on email about it and you said to wait and my period would come…that was in january after 3 months following your advice. I do not have PCO(S) or insulin resistance (I’ve took the tests you recommended). All the times I’ve got my blood sample my hormone levels were just really low (only influenced a bit by Vitex, but nothing to get a period going). And I still have no period today. I have a history of depression and binge eating, strict calorie counting, but I’ve been in repair the last two years with therapy, but I still work with these issues. My GYN want’s me to get a hormone IUD next month to ‘fix the problem’ of no period for a year. My question is if a hormone IUD the right for me to start my period again? I want to have children with in the next 3-5 years, but not now. Now I just want a natural period. I am 29 may I add. Hope for some advice on this. And thanks for a great book and blog! The topic of natural hormones is slowly appearing here in Denmark, but the public opinion is still very focused on the benefits of pills…

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    • Hi Julie, The hormonal IUD will certainly not start your period. I’m not entirely sure what your doctor has in mind there. Please send me a private message.

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