Newest Review: ... to have symptoms of pregnancy (sore breasts, extreme fatigue, back ache etc) and my mood swings went through the roof. I put it down... more
Painful, heavy periods are a distant memory
Member Advice on Contraception
Member Name: best_deal_hunter
Member Advice on Contraception
Advantages: Effective contraceptive, stays in place 5 years, dramatically reduces period pain and blood flow
Disadvantages: Some discomfort when first inserted
About this Review
I am predominantly aiming this review at those who are thinking about Mirena and want to read someone's personal experience, but I also aim to give enough information to those who have never heard of it to enable them to decide whether to ask the doctor about it.
I'm therefore deliberately not going to go into a lot of detail here about what Mirena is and how it works, because to be perfectly honest you really need to be checking with a doctor whether it's suitable for you, and reading carefully through the information leaflet.
A layman's description (i.e. I am definitely NOT a health professional!) is that Mirena is a intrauterine contraceptive implant which works by very slow hormone release. It can remain in place for up to five years (with an initial checkup after a few weeks then annual checks thereafter) after which time it must be replaced. It is very effective as a contraceptive, but I, like many others, was recommended Mirena as a solution to very heavy, painful periods.
I had suffered from heavier than average periods for years, and always painful, but this had been getting noticeably worse - I'm talking 6-7 day periods on an average 22 day cycle, heavy-duty protection leaking within half an hour, and waking up at night every few hours as the painkillers wore off (always assuming I'd managed to get to sleep in the first place). So, I finally decided to go and see if the doctor could suggest anything. He recommended giving Mirena a try, as an extremely common 'side-effect' is a significant reduction in blood loss. I was given an information leaflet so I could go away and consider it properly.
Having it fitted
I believe it can be inserted by a practice nurse, but in my case because my symptoms had been getting worse my doctor wanted to rule out any other cause, so I had a hysteroscopy at the same time, all under general anaesthetic. All done and dusted in a few hours - although I was told to take the rest of the day off work - good advice as I definitely felt a bit sore and battered, although I have no way of knowing whether this would have been the case with the Mirena insertion alone.
I felt a bit sore still for a few days, but just like very minor period cramps - nothing much really. The hospital had prescribed some painkillers and these did the trick. I experienced some irregular spotting for a few weeks while it all settled down - but again, nothing to write home about.
Some lucky people find their periods stop completely - I was not one of them unfortunately, but I have certainly experienced major change.
The severe pain of the past has been replaced by minor discomfort.
The ridiculously heavy flow has been replaced by flow so light I rarely even need to use protection.
My cycle has got a bit more erratic to say the least, and my period can, strangely, last longer - but it's so light this is really not a problem. An 8-9 day 'barely there' period every 6 or 7 weeks is infinitely preferable to the 6-7 days every 3 or so weeks.
The other thing to say is that apart from the good effects, I wouldn't know it is there. I've never felt it and have never had any bad side-effects.
I really wish I'd known about Mirena earlier - it's made a huge difference. I wouldn't hesitate to recommend it, but it's obviously something you need to check with your doctor to make sure it is suitable. If you really suffer with painful, heavy periods, this is something well worth investigating.
Summary: An effective contraceptive with fantastic 'side-effects'