Tag Archives: IUD with progestogen

One Year After Mirena

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.

This sculpture reminds me of the struggle I've overcome. Sometimes we just have pick up the pieces.

This sculpture reminds me of the struggle I’ve overcome. Sometimes we just have to pick up the pieces.

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.

~G

 

 

The link to Dr. J’s site, where you can find his take on the Mirena Crash:

http://www.drjnutrition.com/

 

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First Mirena Detox: Wrapping It Up

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My vibrant purple detox smoothie. Secret ingredient? Red cabbage!

I had promised to keep better notes for the remainder of my Mirena detox, but I failed to do so (life and all…) However, I did make observations that may be beneficial to others thinking of doing a detox, for whatever the reason.  Here is what I learned while doing my first detox.

  1.  A high quality detox is what your body deserves.  Do research and planning, make broad as well as specific goals for yourself, and be willing to invest in the best possible plan for you.  Mine was expensive, but overall I am happy with the results and plan to detox again.
  2. Don’t beat yourself up if something goes wrong during the detox process.  Case in point: during mine, I spent a week with severe stomach flu and then ended up with bronchitis! Getting my body to simply accept Pedialyte  and rice became the highest priority for several days, so I had to put detoxing on hold.  Be flexible with the process; it is all about listening to your body.
  3. Get the most out of it.  You are going to spend money (presumably) on this, so don’t counteract the positive effects by eating double bacon cheeseburgers and fried pickles the whole time.  It doesn’t work that way!  DO treat yourself to the best fresh fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and complex carbohydrates.  Your body will respond.
  4. Get plenty of rest, drink a lot of water, stay active, and do things to reward yourself.  I like to make homemade cinnamon rice tea and stir fried vegetables to treat myself after a long day.
  5. Listen to your body during the process!  As toxins are released and the healing process accelerates, your body may begin to send more signals to indicate what it needs from you.  Go with it. Take naps, go for gentle walks, start doing yoga, try new and healthy foods for dinner.  Be open to the detox process and keep notes if you want to remember specific circumstances.  Above all, be patient and accept the fact that detoxing can take time and effort.

— G

 

Mirena Detox: Days 4 Through… I Lost Track

 

Dr. Schreiber of San Augustine giving a typhoi...

“At least I don’t have typhoid — yet.”  Dr. Schreiber of San Augustine giving a typhoid innoculation at a rural school, San Augustine County, Texas.Transfer from U.S. Office of War Information, 1944. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The first three days of my detox “diet” went well enough, but on Day 4 I managed to contract severe gastroenteritis, or stomach flu, which demanded all my time and attention through Day 11.  I wasn’t able to eat real food, much less do a body flushing detox.  Hell, I was barely able to get any liquids down for most of those days!  Apparently stomach flu is going around along with bronchitis, which I also now have. Great way to start the summer!  So I don’t really know what detox day this is supposed to be.  I consulted with my nutritionist and he encouraged me to get back on the detox horse, but half strength, until I feel fully recovered enough to go full throttle.

I visited my regular physician (again) because I had to get a doctor’s note to go back to work.  I was pretty cranky about having to drive an hour out of my way for permission to go back to work (and, more likely, proof that I was actually sick) when all I really needed was some rest and Pedialyte.  Ah, the bureaucracy of being employed!  I explained to my physician as much, and we had a good laugh.  He was interested to find out how my detox helps in treating and preventing future migraines, so I promised to keep in touch.  If I have to go back in for my bronchitis, it may be some kind of record.  I have visited this guy about five times in as many weeks!

Since I don’t have day to day notes on my detox, I can share a few noticeable changes.  While I am considerably weaker from being sick, I do feel better just from the initial few days of detoxing.  I am not trying to lose weight, but have lost about five pounds.  My hormones seem to be stabilizing and I’m not nearly as, well let’s just say it, bitchy as I was a couple of weeks ago.  My head is clearer, with sharper focus.  One notable disappointment is that I still feel as though I have no energy, even after a great night of sleep.  However, I am hopeful that with the return of my strength, my energy will also return.

The only changes made: starting the detox (clean food based, no chemicals or drugs) and stopping most if not all consumption of OTC drugs for my migraines.  I do still take daily prescriptions and vitamins, but nothing else if at all possible.  While I am not yet ready to sing the praises of this detox program, it would appear that using food to heal my body is beginning to work.  Hopefully I can get back on track with better notes in the weeks to come.  I am supposed to be doing a 21 day detox after all!

—G

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Mirena Detox: Days 1 – 4

Whether or not this ends up helping anyone else going through the same nightmare known as the Mirena Crash, I wanted to document my detoxing experience.  If nothing else, it should prove highly entertaining.

Day 0

Starting weight is 156.  My nutritionist  advised me to stop eating corn and any foods containing corn, because it is a sneaky migraine trigger.  He suspects that I have a corn sensitivity.  He also encouraged me to start eating as much cabbage as I can stand, since that is a ‘known’ treatment for migraines.  Huh, I didn’t know that.  Bye bye cornbread I love so much; hello cabbage in my salad.

 

Ross The Dog photo bombing my attempted close up of my smoothie powder.

Ross The Dog photo bombing an attempted close up of my smoothie powder.

Day 1

The Smoothies taste terrible, but between them and the dozens of highly concentrated food based pills, I feel full.  I lost about 5 pounds of water weight, cried all day, and was terribly cranky.  I wasn’t very nice to my children, but to be fair, they were kind of acting like assholes too.  We had to get groceries at the commissary.  It was a death march up and down each aisle, and I required a long nap after all the food was “put away”.  Some of the non-perishables are still on the kitchen floor.  I don’t care.  Although the detox specifies that protein shouldn’t be consumed, I could not make it past 10:00 a.m. without withdrawal hysteria.  I also realized by late afternoon that I’d neglected to consume enough calories to support a shih tzu puppy, much less a medium-sized human.  Oops!  It is hard to keep eating when those pills make me feel so full.  I will have to try harder tomorrow.

Ending weight 151

 

Day 2

I still struggled to eat enough calories.  Fighting a nasty head cold and especially cranky, I cried while making coffee, while fixing lunch, and while angrily cleaning my house.  I say angrily because while cleaning, I was stewing over my husband’s ‘insensitivity’.  The bastard didn’t even have the decency to call me last night and check up on his poor, sick wife.  Who ACTS that way?!  He was probably bar hopping with his brother all over the California coast, not giving me a second thought.  About twenty minutes later I felt guilty for thinking such mean thoughts about him, because he probably will bring back all sorts of gifts from California and present them as a gesture of his undying love and support.  Probably?  He BETTER.  Another twenty minutes passed and I was crying into my green tea while panicking over my phone logs, which indicated that it was I who had to call him two nights ago, PROVING that he didn’t care about my illness or my crazed hormonal state at all.  Ah Ha!  Is it any wonder he has been avoiding me?

And, hot flashes, cold flashes, sob, sob, sob.  My husband did call (and apologized for not calling the night before) and I was mildly icy to him, then I cried after we got off the phone because I miss him.  And, hot flashes, cold flashes, sob, sob, sob.

Ending weight 149

Day 3

The girls goofing around in the exam room during another visit to see my physician about my headaches and illness.

The girls goofing around in the exam room during another visit to see my physician about my headaches and illness.

My weight is 149 again today, so I think I leveled off a bit after the initial toxin dump.  I feel tremendously better today.  In fact, I feel so much better that I harbor a feeling of goodwill towards the general public — a huge change!  I don’t feel like crying, I don’t have hot or cold flashes, and my stomach doesn’t hurt. Hey, neither does my head (aside from a mild protein withdrawal headache)!  I feel…like myself for the first time in months!  And do you know what I want to do, folks?  Change the batteries in my weather radio and do a supply inventory in the tornado shelter.  It’s that time of year!  Yep, I am starting to feel much better.  The girls went with me to another follow-up for my migraines, and I got a referral to see an endocrinologist.  My physician is interested in the results of the detox and asked me to keep him posted.

Day 4

Sick, sick as a dog!  I have some kind of virus running rampant through my body.  I had to halt the detox for a day of chills, thrills, and frequent visits to the porcelain throne.  It was uneventful other than a very sweet card made by my youngest child, wishing me speedy recovery.  My ending weight is 148, mostly from dehydration and lack of food.  I can’t even think about food right now, much less the detox…maybe tomorrow.

—G

 

A Get Well card from my daughter -- so sweet!

A Get Well card from my daughter — so sweet!

 

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My Mirena Tried to Kill Me!

English: Mirena IntraUterine System Deutsch: M...

English: Mirena IntraUterine System Deutsch: Mirena Hormonspirale (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Okay, apology disclaimer right off the bat for any reader — but especially to any males who may have stumbled across this post innocently.  Unless you really want to read about the horrors that I have endured because of an intrauterine contraceptive device that was eh, installed for medicinal purposes, then you may prefer to read something more benign from a happier time in my blogging days.

There is currently a class action lawsuit because the Mirena is a defective and extremely dangerous product.  The company that developed and marketed it allegedly did so knowing that the device would likely cause numerous side effects, many of which that would be detrimental, some that could be fatal.  If you  are using or have used a Mirena, then you very likely have experienced the same ‘illness’ that I am going through.

Now like most women, I trusted my healthcare professional, who probably had every good intentions.  My reason for getting the Mirena was not to prevent pregnancy but to “control my hormones” so that  my migraines would be kept in check for up to five years (since the IUD had to be taken out after five years’ time).  And like most women, for five years I really didn’t think about my IUD because it didn’t seem to be doing anything.  I wasn’t having very many periods, and when I did, they were lighter, less annoying, and more convenient.  Who wouldn’t want that?

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Me during one of my MANY visits to the doctor during my hellish Mirena Crash. It’s blurry, but that’s how I feel. Taken By Annie

I started to feel like something was wrong about six months ago, and although I wasn’t sure, I suspected that my hormones were to blame.  We women usually know, right?  I could feel that something was wrong and started to wonder if the Mirena was causing hormonal fluctuations.   Four months from my five-year removal date, I was climbing the walls with uncontrollable migraines and excruciating hormonal mood swings.  By that time I was certain that the Mirena had something to do with my very severe decline in health.  The VA clinic didn’t take me seriously when I called and requested an appointment to have the device removed, which destroyed my already shaky trust in the staff.  Luckily, my physician on the Army base saw me immediately and removed the device as an in-house procedure without giving me any grief.  You see why I left these details out of my previous posts about my migraines?  Too much information, and very traumatic!

I thought my problems were over and that I would start to feel much better in no time.  But I became more sick than I had ever felt in my entire life.   Oh yes, the Mirena Crash!  It is well documented and even has its own special name.  I started doing research online, and the more I discovered about the negative side effects of the device, the more betrayed and  I felt.  My Mirena had caused much more damage than initially realized!  The list of possible offenses to my body went on and on, everything from pseudo-hemorrhaging during periods, to anemia from blood loss, to early menopause, to depression, to liver failure, to various types of cancer.  The list went on, and if that wasn’t bad enough, apparently the Mirena had also leached silicone into my body, essentially poisoning me slowly over time.  SILICONE POISONING.  Are you fucking kidding me?

Angry doesn’t begin to describe my feelings.  At the time I made this unsettling discovery,  I didn’t have anyone to talk to because my healthcare providers either weren’t educated or just plain weren’t sympathetic to what was happening.  My husband has been out of town for several weeks — the worst part of this living hell — and in retrospect that may have been a blessing in disguise — for his safety.  With out of control hormones, I was definitely in a vulnerable state, just hanging on from day-to-day.  I would cry myself to sleep, begging God to make the headaches stop, just for one day, so that I could have some relief.  Then in the morning I would wake up with a worse headache, and cry again while making tea.  I could feel my body shutting down more each day, and it was terrifying.

I still don’t know if this story has a happy ending.  Luckily, through what I can only call Divine Providence combined with my Web surfing abilities (Divine Surfidence?), I found out that there is a nutritionist specializing in treating survivors of the Mirena Crash (the official name given to the specific yet numerous symptoms associated with use of the device) in Great Bend, Kansas, which is really just a two-hour drive from where I live.  I almost couldn’t believe it — maybe this is the real reason we have lived in Kansas all along!  I had been begging God to stop the pain for weeks now, so I took this as an omen that I MUST get in touch with the doctor, who is by happenstance a nutritionist and chiropractor.

Okay, so to wrap up this story, I will skip over our long phone conversation because it turns out I didn’t have to even drive the Great Bend.  He does phone consultations with women from all over the country who are suffering from the side effects of their Mirena IUDs, and are not getting adequate support from healthcare providers.  Hmmm.  Long story short, he recommended a whole foods based detox diet selected  by him, and tweaked over the years to heal the body as much as possible.  The detox is designed to flush five years of toxins out of my body and liver, and hopefully get the liver functioning at full capacity again.  The silicone may or may not flush out.  I am also going to be using a bio identical progesterone oil to ‘reactivate’ my natural progesterone since the Mirena stopped production of my natural hormone.  This should halt the pre-menopausal symptoms I am experiencing (hello, hot flashes!) and hopefully turn back the aging process (I already have a lot of gray hairs!).

It could take months or even years to undo the damage caused by the Mirena.  Right now I am looking at my entire summer as a recovery time, and I may not be able to go back to work at the school.  I am immensely saddened by this turn of events.  Summer was supposed to be fun time with my family, everyone happy while traveling and having adventures.  I am no longer the wife or mother I was six months ago, and it isn’t fair to my family.  I am very angry that a tiny device could make me so sick, and that in five years, NO ONE in my medical community raised a red flag about it.  It goes to show that you and only you must be diligent about your health, because doctors don’t know everything, and pharmaceutical companies don’t want to make you feel better.

On the bright side, today I started my detox.  I took my pills (all food based, no chemicals or toxins) and made my smoothie with the special food powder blend.  It tasted disgusting!  I like my homemade smoothies better, but it is important to follow the plan.  I have to do something, be proactive.  This is the way to get it done.  I feel optimistic knowing that I am using food to heal my body.   And maybe soon I will be who I  used to be.

— G

 

 

Another blogger whose life was affected substantially by Mirena, and who refers to the same nutritionist from Great Bend in her posts:

http://mylifeaftermirena.blogspot.com/

 

Another survivor of the Mirena:

http://mirenaandra.blogspot.com/2013/03/mirena-iud-is-poisonous-hashimoto.html

 

 

 

 

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