I’ve noticed this summer that when I log onto my WordPress site, previous posts about my experience with the Mirena IUD receive more traffic than most of my other posts. Actually, to be honest, there doesn’t seem to be any other interest in my other topics, but people are concerned about the Mirena, and some readers have reached out to me. It occurred to me that I haven’t written a follow-up describing how my health has changed in the year since having my Mirena removed. I’ve put it off long enough, and now it’s time to share.
Last March I had my IUD removed after using it the full five years prescribed. By that time, I had all the symptoms of what is referred to as the ‘Mirena Crash’: persistent fatigue, bloating, abdominal cramps, headaches, confusion, irritability, limb numbness, back pain, and more, all to the extreme. At that time, I didn’t know anything about Mirena’s side effects, but suspected it was the culprit. When I reached out to my doctor at the VA, I did not receive the kind of help that I expected or believed that I deserved. Instead of being supported by the medical community, I was left to my own devices, and I became very scared and angry. I had to figure out how to heal on my own, and it has taken me the at least a year to heal not only physically but mentally as well. The trauma caused by getting “sick” from the Mirena left me feeling isolated, crazy, untrustworthy, and unable to trust medical professionals.
My emotions, however justified, were part of the myriad of symptoms from my reaction to the IUD. Even after the device’s removal, toxins from the Mirena continued to circulate through my system, and my hormones could be best described as defunct. I was a mess! I felt as though I had been poisoned, and in a sense, I had. It was extremely difficult to drudge through the day pretending to be a “normal” person while my body purged the bad hormones and toxic build up. I felt like I was on a bad drug trip for months, yet I was in for a much longer ride.
It has now been about eighteen months since my Mirena was removed, since I was very ill, and I am so happy to say that I am not the same person. I am in extraordinary physical shape (comparatively), I feel confident about how I look, I have boundless energy, and I don’t suffer from as many aches and pains. I love to wake up in the morning and be active all day, because I know I will not become exhausted like before. I don’t feel emotionally sabotaged and my hormones are finally in balance for the first time since I started using the Mirena. Best of all, I never have to go back to IUDs, because better options are at my disposal.
But you are probably wondering what exactly I did to take care of myself and conquer the nightmare that left me so miserable, right? First, remember that there is no magical equation to follow in order to become well after the Mirena Crash. Your personal definition of well is not going to be identical to mine, and your biology, cultural and familial background, lifestyle, preferences, and external influences are not the same as mine either. So you must determine which plan is best on your road to recovery.
This is how I did it.
I. First I made a commitment — to myself. I committed to follow a strict diet and exercise plan to get my health back on track. I carefully considered how to reach my goals. This commitment was important because it was an investment in myself.
2. I took up an exercise routine (kickboxing) that helped me develop confidence as well as muscle tone. My routine became a catalyst in ridding my body of toxins and excess body fat, both of which had accumulated while I was using the Mirena. Bonus: I made new friends at the kickboxing studio!
3. I tweaked my diet as needed. For example, when I realized I was not eating enough protein to support my newly active lifestyle, I changed the diet to reflect my needs. This was critical in healing because the body has to be able to flush out toxins and regenerate new, healthy cells!
*I used the Standard Process products recommended by Dr. J (see the link to his site below) but only as long as I felt that I needed them. I used an extremely healthy diet to clean out my system because I believe that food is medicine, not the other way around.
4. I made time for myself every day to pursue a hobby, something just for me, and I didn’t feel an ounce of guilt. Sometimes I just took ten minutes to read a magazine and drink tea; other days I painted or caught up with a friend over coffee. Very beneficial to my soul!
5. I talked to my friends and family about my struggle and listened to the wisdom that they had to share. Their love and support helped me feel strong enough to move past my anger and frustration over the situation.
6. I let go. I acknowledged that there was really no one to blame in this situation — not me, not any of the doctors, and no one else. But I especially stopped blaming myself in hindsight. It’s a waste of energy.
I like to think that the last year and a half is a chapter in my life that I can close, and now it is time to look forward, move forward, and anticipate what lies in the future. I sometimes think that my Mirena robbed me of five years of good living, but that is not true. It was a minor setback, and if anything, I learned to take better care of myself, to be more kind, and to forgive the faults that we all cannot help but possess.
Best of luck to those fighting their battles.
The link to Dr. J’s site, where you can find his take on the Mirena Crash: