"I feel like I'm going to be in trouble the rest of the day," my husband says with a smirk, as he picks me up from my OB-GYN's office. The look on my face was not pleasant. I had just had a new IUD inserted. The Mirena, to be exact.
"Let's just go home," I say. Aside from the pretty painful 30-second insertion, I was enthusiastic about this new birth control. After having heavy and painful periods for years, my doctor suggested this device. It's known to lighten periods, ease cramping and it works well for women who have previously given birth.
Sign. Me. Up.
My husband and I have had three beautiful daughters. We're fairly sure we're done having children, but still feel like we're too young to do something permanent, like a vasectomy. So an IUD seemed like the ideal solution.
Within two weeks time, I noticed myself being increasingly anxious and extremely moody. I began having panic attacks daily, something very new to me. Heart racing. Chest pounding. Room spinning. Entire body shaking. Am I going to throw up? Have diarrhea? Pass out? Die? What the heck is going on with me?
I surely did not know. But I was terrified.
These symptoms only got worse as I found myself in a constant state of panic. I could barely eat. I was incredibly nauseous. I began to have a major depressive episode, something I had not experienced since postpartum. I couldn't function. One day after dropping off my kids at school, I actually envisioned myself driving across the road into oncoming traffic. It seemed like a good way to escape—to go away. Everyone would surely be better off without me.
Countless women claiming the exact same thing. Panic attacks. Depression. Suicidal ideation.
When I got home a few minutes later, I realized how dangerous my thoughts were. Shaky and sobbing, I called my husband and my therapist, letting them both know how bad things had gotten.
The next day, my husband had a lightbulb moment. "Could be a side effect of the Mirena?" he asked. He noticed that these anxious and depressive symptoms had only begun after I had the Mirena inserted a few weeks before. To be honest, it hadn't even crossed my mind. After all, my doctor never mentioned these types of side effects to me. But, it wouldn't hurt to check.
I got online and looked at the Mirena website. No mention of psychological side effects. No mention of anxiety or panic disorder. No warnings to those who struggle with depression. But then I decided to do some searching on Google and what I found was quite astounding. Countless women claiming the exact same thing. Panic attacks. Depression. Suicidal ideation. I scrolled and clicked and found an endless number of women whose stories sounded just like mine.
I immediately called my gynecologist and asked to have my Mirena removed. I suspected my doctor would deny my assumptions about the Mirena. However, the nurse I talked to on the phone actually said, "You know what, I have seen this before. It's not common but anything can happen when you put hormones in your body. Let's get that thing out."
Two hours later, I was IUD-free. In a few days, the perpetual shakiness had stopped. In a week, the depression was nearly gone. The nausea had disappeared and I was able to eat again. The panic attacks were no more. Little by little, the symptoms eased up until I finally felt like my normal, productive self once again. Thank God.
If you, too, are experiencing psychological side effects from your Mirena IUD, know you are not alone, and please, please, please go see a medical professional immediately. There's truly no time to waste.