Matthew Minner | March 19, 2021 | Product Liability
Many women who had the Mirena hormonal intrauterine device (IUD) removed have experienced problems after the removal. Some complications are short-term, while others involve long-term or permanent issues.
A Quick Overview of the Mirena IUD
The Mayo Clinic describes Mirena as a plastic device that gets inserted into the uterus, where it releases the hormone progestin. The purpose of the Mirena IUD is to prevent pregnancy by blocking sperm from reaching or fertilizing eggs and by partially suppressing ovulation. The contraception benefits for this form of birth control can last for up to five years.
Doctors consider Mirena a good choice of contraception for women who have fibroids, endometriosis, anemia, and painful menstrual periods with cramping or heavy bleeding. Physicians usually discourage the use of Mirena for women with uterine cancer, cervical cancer, liver disease, structural uterine abnormalities, pelvic infection, or who have current or a history of breast cancer.
What Can Happen After Mirena IUD Removal: the Mirena Crash
The Mirena IUD delivers hormones (progestin) directly to the uterus and interrupts the normal menstrual cycle. Although designed for prolonged use of up to five years, using the device for a year or longer can cause a woman to stop having periods. The body stops making its own progesterone.
If the device gets removed before the five-year point, it can take a while for the body to start producing female hormones again. The sudden lack of hormones can cause a cascade of unpleasant symptoms, called the Mirena Crash. Severe side effects can last for months.
Signs of Mirena Crash
If you had a Mirena IUD implanted and later removed, you might be experiencing a Mirena Crash if you have any of these symptoms:
- Breast tenderness
- Pain during intercourse
- Diminished libido (interest in sexual activity)
Emotional consequences are also frequently a component of the Mirena Crash, including:
- Mood swings
- Greater intensity of emotions than usual
- Loss of interest in everyday activities
The emotional toll of the Mirena crash can be life-threatening. Women who experience depression after removing the IUD have an increased risk of suicide.
Bayer, the manufacturer of the Mirena IUD, as well as members of the medical community initially denied that the device was the actual cause of the problems and claimed that women were exaggerating their symptoms. As complaints flooded into the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) about complications from the device and lingering problems after its removal, the denial rhetoric has changed.
Why Many Women Are Having the Mirena IUD Removed
Like any medical device, Mirena can have side effects and complications. The Mayo Clinic issues these warnings about Mirena:
- Although Mirena generally prevents pregnancy in more than 99 percent of the women who use it, the women who do become pregnant while using this IUD are at a higher risk of an ectopic pregnancy. In an ectopic pregnancy, the fertilized egg implants outside of the uterus, often in one of the fallopian tubes.
- The Mirena device does not prevent sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) or sexually transmitted infections (STIs).
- On rare occasions, the procedure to implant the Mirena IUD can perforate the uterus.
- The Mirena IUD can become unintentionally expelled from the uterus.
- Common side effects of Mirena include cramps, pelvic pain, breast tenderness, acne, and headaches. Also, some women experience irregular bleeding, but the Mayo Clinic says that this problem usually self-corrects about six months after implantation.
According to the Mayo Clinic, doctors remove the Mirena device after the patient develops any of these problems:
- Extremely painful and severe migraines
- Heart attack
- A significant elevation of blood pressure
- Cervical cancer
- Endometrial cancer
- Pain during sexual intercourse
- Pelvic pain and pelvic inflammatory disease
Sometimes the IUD migrates from its original position in the uterus and perforates the uterus or other internal organs. Also, the device can travel from the uterus to the vagina, where it does not provide any protection from pregnancy. If a woman gets pregnant while the Mirena is still inside of her, the IUD can cause birth injuries and cause wounds that permanently scar the baby.
A woman who experiences complications from a Mirena IUD might think the side effects will stop when she gets the device removed, but for some women, removal of the Mirena is only the beginning of their problems. The complications do not always resolve after getting the IUD removed.
FDA Warnings on Mirena Packaging
The FDA now requires Bayer to include these warnings on their Mirena IUD packaging:
- About half of the pregnancies that happen when a woman has a Mirena IUD in place will be ectopic. These pregnancies can lead to infertility.
- If the doctor leaves a Mirena in place when a woman gets pregnant with an intrauterine pregnancy while on the Mirena, the woman faces a higher than usual risk of spontaneous abortion (miscarriage) and preterm labor. Removing the Mirena increases the risk of a spontaneous abortion.
- A woman who becomes pregnant with an intrauterine pregnancy with an implanted Mirena IUD can experience a septic abortion, including septicemia, septic shock, and death. Also, there is a greater risk of premature labor, premature delivery, and congenital abnormalities of the offspring who survive.
- Within hours of implantation, a woman can develop severe pain, infection with Group A Streptococcal sepsis (GAS), and death.
- The FDA also requires that the packaging warn potential patients of the possibility of the loss of menstrual cycles, perforation of the uterine wall of the cervix, damage to nearby organs, expulsion of the device from the uterus with resulting loss of contraceptive benefit, ovarian cysts, and breast cancer.
The Mirena Crash is one of the reasons many women have initiated product liability claims against Bayer for their personal injuries from the Mirena IUD. The manufacturer can also be liable for other side effects and complications from this dangerous product.