Monday, October 31, 2011

My Mirena IUD experience - Day before removal

Tomorrow I go and get my Mirena IUD out. Maybe that means tomorrow I get my life back.

So here's my story...

Back in 2009 I was in a serious relationship, heading towards possible marriage, and my significant other and I decided to invest together in some reproductive freedom for the time being and have an IUD put in. With some research I decided to get the copper one because I wanted to limit the hormones going into my body and go as natural as possible, but after visiting the clinic I was referred to I was told that one wasnt ideal for someone who hadnt had kids yet, and they recommended the Mirena. It was pricey to get in (about $500 or so at the time), and insurance didnt cover any of it. But after having paid for birth control for years and adding up the costs, I felt like it was a no brainer and it would definitely pay for itself within 2-3 years compared to most birth control costs. I guess I just didnt realize at the time that my body would be paying for it in so many other ways too.

The doctor hardly glossed over side affects, but I was assured it was all safe and that the recovery time was minimal, then voila! No more worry. Getting it out in was far more painful then expected, and the snap of it locking into place felt like what I can only imagine having a baby in reverse might feel like. Yikes! But still within 5 minutes I could breath again, and 10 minutes later, after begging an ibuprofen off a nurse, I was on my feet and heading out. I remember this so vividly because this became the start to a downward health spiral that I am hoping Im now nearing the end of.

I was told that usually there is some cramping for a few days and spotting for a few weeks, so I prepped for that. Then a week turned into two, and two turned into four, and so on, until it was over 3 months of daily cramps. I had things checked out to make sure it was all looking ok, and the doc seemed pleased and sent me along, so I thought "this is just how it goes I guess". I spent about 6 months with cramps all in all, with the last 3 being intermitten but still mostly constant.

Those next 6 months seemed ok physically I guess, but I lost interest in sex for the most part and when I did have it sex was painful which was definitely new and frustrating. It felt like my uterus was being jarred every time I was intimate, and I felt like less of a woman without my passionate side in gear. With all these struggles my relationship didnt last, but my IUD did, and more issues came on from there...

Through this whole time I went through some life changes and a lot of feelings of depression, which I attributed to the grey Seattle winters here in the northwest. Looking back though, I had been an attractive fun happy vibrant woman, and my zest for life was dissapearring with my sex drive by the day. I noticed some headaches happening more frequently, but again I thought that working about 2/3 of my day at a computer was to blame. There was always another reason, it couldnt be the IUD. Right?

So I went on with those feelings for about 2 years, just thinking it was me. Maybe I was in a funk, I thought. I had stopped being able to feel the strings of the IUD sometime around 8-9 months ago, but when my doc looked she said she saw them in there and said it was no worry at all. Then in the middle of this summer, about July 2011, I noticed this ringing in my ears had started and I could hear it when I laid down to sleep each night. It got louder and louder as I crept into August, and I started having issues through the summer every time I swam, feeling like my ears were stuffy and having some vertigo. I went to the doc again, who flushed my ears but said all looked great in there, and yet she couldnt pin down why the ringing.

At the same time as this ear ringing started I also had started feeling really really lethargic, depressed, unmotivated, sluggish and slow, low libido was even LOWER, Ive had aches in my neck, daily pain in my lower back, daily headaches and sinus aches, strange pressure in my head, no periods except I get cramps and spotting EVERY SINGLE TIME I have coffee (which has happened since the week I got my IUD, NEVER before), have low grade mild uterus pain or ache at ALL times now, my hair and skin looks dull, light sensitivity, noise sensitivity, terrible mood swings, difficulty focusing, difficulty losing weight, slow inconsistent memory, having a tough time being social and even making basic small talk, extremely sensitive and needing to cry a lot, this weird feeling of foggy brain and not being able to FEEL much of anything sometimes... I feel numb with so many issues now. Sounds impossible when I list it all, but I started making notes on my iphone about how Ive been feeling, and its all there.

This all may sound like too much to be the IUD, or maybe you wonder if I was riddled with issues before my IUD was put in. But no! Let me fill in a couple really important details here about my health background for you. I was 27 when "it" went in, and Im 29 now. No health issues to date. I had regular periods since starting my period at age 12. I was on NO other medications when it went it, and am not on any medications now. I was always a "sensitive" person, meaning I cared a lot about people, could sniffle at a decently believeable chick flick, and love animals. I had no history of headaches, back pain, etc etc etc.... I mean I was a clean slate ladies!!

The ear ringing is what did it though. That was my last straw. I knew I felt yucky a lot, but with such a brain fog going on I was having a hard time taking action. After trying to find answers to the ringing, and the ringing getting louder and louder, and the uterus ache just wearing on me, I finally turned to alternative healing. I started to see an acupunturist 2x per week, and when in the chair I actually have some relief. My acupuncturist says my pulse indicates all these symptoms stems from my gall bladder, as do many of my other issues apparently. Ive had blood tests done with my western doc to no avail, and no gall bladder issues.

On a hunch I started typing "gall baldder and IUD" into google, and I found a connection through several posts of other people who had gall bladder issues in relation to their IUD. So I started thinking that if the ear ringing (and headaches, and back aches, and so on...according to my acupunturist) is from my gall bladder, and the IUD can affect the gall bladder, then maybe its causing this entire set of issues and so many more. Maybe just maybe????

I only have a hunch, but as soon as I started looking up "ear ringing and IUD" online, and "gall bladder and IUD", a slew of so many others with similar issues came up and all the pieces seemed to fit. I am having my Mirena taken out tomorrow afternoon, and I plan to track my progress and try to share what I learn here. There are SO many side affects women are talking about from their IUD in forums that arent even listed on the Mirena website, and I feel so mislead about what I was getting myself into. Through this process Ive started learning about holistic whole body healing, and realizing that the body isnt a bunch of parts and pieces that we can treat seperately... it all works together. There is no free much ladies. What happens to part of you happen to the whole of you, thats my solid belief now.

I hope to empower anyone else struggling with this, or someone who knows and loves a woman struggling with this, to find their OWN answers and listen to their body. I am listening to mine, and its screaming at me to get this IUD out once and for all. I hope this helps someone out there. Ill post when I have it out to update you with progress very soon...

Until then, be well <3