Mirena Side Effects

by on July 26, 2012


The most commonly reported side effects resulting from the use of Mirena (Levonorgestrel) include changes in menstrual bleeding and the development of cysts in the ovaries. If the patient experiences any of these symptoms, it is important for them to notify their doctor as soon as possible.

Common Mirena Side Effects

Approximately 5% to 10% of women who made use of the Mirena reported the following side effects while using this contraceptive device:

  • Headaches
  • Depression
  • Acne
  • Tenderness or pain in the breasts
  • Back pain
  • Stomach Pain
  • Respiratory infections (such as the commom cold)
  • Lowered sex drive or libido
  • Ovarian cysts

While not every woman who uses this device experiences these side effects, they can be more severe in some women than in others. Although the abovementioned side effects do not always require medical attention, it is important for the patient to contact their doctor immediately if these side effects become worse or if they experience discomfort as a result of these side effects.

Serious Mirena Side Effects

While fewer than 5% of women who use the Mirena device may experience serious side effects, it is important to note that if they experience any of the following, they should contact their doctor immediately:

  • Vaginal discharge
  • High blood pressure
  • Unusual hair growth or loss
  • Anemia
  • Swelling of hands or feet
  • Painful sexual intercourse
  • Nausea
  • Vaginal or cervical inflammation of any type
  • Decreased sex drive
  • Weight gain
  • Bloating
  • Hives or other skin irritations
  • Bloating
  • Pelvic pain during menstruation
  • Prolonged or irregular menstrual bleeding
  • Yellowing of the skin or eyes (jaundice)

Safety Information Regarding the Use of Mirena

It is of extreme importance for the patient to discuss the use of the Mirena device with a doctor, because it is not suitable for everyone. After the device has been inserted, some women have developed ovarian cysts, but in most cases these have disappeared after the device is removed. Women who suffer from frequent infections in the pelvic area should not make use of this device. In rare cases, the Mirena device has been known to attach itself to the wall of the uterus and also penetrate it. This can lead to complications.

Preexisting Conditions

Patients who suffer from any form of kidney or liver conditions should not use this contraceptive device. If the patient has cancer or has been previously diagnosed with cancer, it will not be safe for them to use the Mirena device. Patients who are susceptible to infection in the pelvic area, who have had more than one sexual partner or who currently have an intrauterine device inserted should not use the Mirena device. This contraceptive device is not suitable for patients who have had a stroke, heart attack or other heart conditions, diabetes, high blood pressure or who use corticosteroid medications. Patients who suffer from migraine headaches should also refrain from using the Mirena device.

Mirena and Pregnancy

No form of birth control is guaranteed to be 100% effective. If the patient falls pregnant while the Mirena device is inserted, it can pose serious health risks to both the mother and the unborn baby. The most serious risk when using the Mirena device is that of ectopic pregnancy, where the fetus begins to grow outside the uterus. Ectopic pregnancy can pose serious health risks because it can lead to internal bleeding, infertility and even death in extreme cases. If the patient suspects that she may have fallen pregnant with the Mirena device inserted, it is important for her to contact her doctor immediately. Patients who are breastfeeding should also not make use of this contraceptive device.

Patients who have previously experienced an ectopic pregnancy or who have recently given birth should under no circumstances make use of the Mirena device, as the risk of it occurring again is extremely high. Patients who have had an abortion should wait for at least three months before having this contraceptive device inserted. Up to 50% of pregnancies which occur while the Mirena device is inserted are ectopic pregnancies. If the patient experiences unusual menstrual bleeding and/or severe abdominal pain while the Mirena device is inserted, they should contact their doctor immediately.

Other Medications

If the patient is currently using any other medication, it is important for them to advise their doctor before having the Mirena device inserted. The following medications may react with the Mirena device and decrease its levels of effectiveness:

  • Aminoglutethimide (Cytadren)
  • Various seizure medications including Epitol, Tegretol, Dilantin, Lamictal and Felbatol
  • St John’s Wort (a herb used in the treatment of depression)
  • Any antibiotic medication
  • Barbiturate medications such as Nembutal, Seconal, Mysoline or Amytal

If the patients experiences any side effects relating to other medication that they may be using while the Mirena device is inserted, it is important for them to contact their doctor immediately so that alternative options can be discussed.