Uterine Perforations And Other Complications

The Mirena IUD has become increasingly popular, and while most women experience trouble-free use, the number of lawsuits against the company seem to be on the rise.

IUD Mirena risks

Mirena, a hormone-based intrauterine device (IUD), is a popular form of birth control for many moms -- it works by thickening the cervical mucus, thinning the lining of the uterus and partially inhibits ovulation. However, as with any medicine or medical device, there are risks, and the company is finding more and more lawsuits headed its way.

Worry-free birth control?

Moms often opt for Mirena because once it’s inserted, they don’t have to worry about taking a daily pill. It can also make periods lighter (or disappear altogether) and ease cramping. It’s estimated that there are 2 million Mirena users.

There are side effects, however, that affect some users. They include headaches, dizziness, acne, breast tenderness, breakthrough bleeding and other symptoms similar to hormone-based birth control pills. There is also a risk of the device expelling, and while rare, the device can migrate, perforate the uterus or cervix and need surgical removal.

Investigators with ABC15 out of Arizona obtained complaints about Mirena from the FDA. There were a total of 59,229 complaints, many of which were of the mild side effects listed above, such as headaches and acne. However, there were 12,047 complaints of expulsion, 3,774 of abdominal pain and 1,322 reports of uterine perforation.

Current litigations

Bayer (the Mirena parent company) and the FDA both gave statements indicating that the device is still safe to use, as serious side effects are rare and are in the labeling. Doctors should also cite potential risks and side effects with patients before inserting the IUD.

There are currently 50 federal cases filed against the company, and attorneys estimate that there are potentially 900 more. Users of the device say that there is even more to the story -- commenters on ABC15’s article cite many more side effects, from silicone poisoning to “The Mirena Crash.”

In any case, most users experience little to no problems, but the big problems are the ones that worry us the most. If you’re considering an IUD, talk with your doctor about side effects and risks and decide if Mirena is right for you.

More on birth control

Permanent birth control: Making the decision
Birth control for the busy woman
Breastfeeding and birth control

Tags: women's health

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