Mirena IUD

Is anyone else using this?

My first OB/GYN visit after I got engaged, he recommended it for my horrible, long, extremely painful periods. I said “Uh, aren’t you Catholic? I’ve seen you at Mass”, to which he replied “Birth control is okay for medically necessary situations, which you qualify for. You’re learning NFP, right? If you still avoid during the fertile times your chances of conceiving and miscarrying would be nil.”

I really thought that you had to have a child first before they would let you use it, but apparently not if you’re using it to reduce extreme menstruation. I was on various different Pills off and on for years and I never really got any relief … the other side effects made me too miserable to continue. My doc says he’s having great success with Mirena on patients who could not get relief from the Pill.

This of course is aside from the class-action lawsuits that are being filed against the makers of Mirena by users having side effects that were not disclosed or published as being very rare. I don’t see any reason why you can’t just have it taken out if you start having side effects. Everything has risks.

I suppose I’m torn between getting relief and the general distaste at the idea of preventing a child. We’re not TTC at the moment, but neither one of us would be particularly upset if we did. I’ll be 33 this year and I realize my childbearing years are limited. As more of my friends are having trouble getting pregnant, I’m not wild about the idea of having an impediment to a surprise. Also, if my cycle is affecting my day-to-day life right now, I can’t imagine feeling this way and having a toddler while we spaced kids.

Why hasn’t someone thought up hormone therapy that eases symptoms but doesn’t reduce fertility? I see a huge market in this.

Your doctor sounds like he has convinced himself that just about anything qualifies for a “medical” reason to use contraception.

He is sorely mistaken.

First, using treatments that have a secondary effect of sterility is permitted but should meet the criteria of the Principle of Double Effect. Certainly there are other treatments for painful periods that are much more proportionate to the level of the problem than inserting an abortifacient device into your body.

Also, you cannot practice NFP while on such a device because it interferes with your signs of fertility. Your doctor doesn’t seem like much of a doctor.

I suggest you learn Creighton NFP and consult with Doctor Hilgers or someone he has trained via the Pope Paul VI Institute if you have female issues.

I would not trust an OB/GYN whose first course of treamtent for “painful periods” is to put you on an IUD. That’s crazy.

There’s absolutely NOTHING wrong with getting second, third, and fourth opinions… you don’t have to see this as the only option just b/c your current doc has said so. I would feel the same reluctance as you if I was in your shoes. :sad_yes:

I live in a smallish town with a few OB GYNs, four of which are “Catholic”, none of whom would think twice before offering to their patients contraceptive pills, IUDs, or sterilization procedures .

It seems rare to find a Catholic doctor who practices their faith. But they are out there, if you look hard enough.


It was not his first choice. He knows I am Catholic and that I would not take a decision such as this lightly. I’ve been on and off the Pill since I was 18 to control my menses, prescribed by six different doctors. I have other health issues now that make the Pill too risky to be a viable option.

Truly, this is not some quack doctor prescribing something weird. This has become standard treatment now rather than radical birth control. Mirena is specifically marketed to be the most effective in reducing extreme periods. I know more people with that little device than I know people refilling the Pill every month. I was a little freaked out when I discovered how blase’ so many of my friends are about it. Of course, none of them are Catholic, but that’s beside the point.

I don’t know how PP VI Inst. would work, as it is over 20 hours from here.

First of all, I feel your pain, literally. I suffer some the same symptoms as you. It is awful and I have to take BC pills. If I didn’t I would not be able to function on a day to day basis. I have been on BC pills since I was 16 years old because of these problems and the current ones I take are the only ones that work for me anymore. I am scared that I will get to a point where I am immune to BC pills.

I have a question. Have they ever explored why you have these bad menses? I have talked about my problems extensively with my OBGYN and there is a huge reason to believe that I have endometriosis and that is what causes my problems. The only way to diagnose that disease is by laproscopic surgery. Not only is it an invasive diagnostic test but even if they find it and pull it out, the endometriosis will come back so I have chosen to treat instead of go though surgery. I have a very good friend who had to keep having surgery after surgery because of her endo and she ended up having a complete hysterectomy in the end. Anyway, the reason I am telling you about this is I am wondering if there is a possibility you might have a similar problem that is causing your bad menses. Maybe you can get it taken care of.

Also, with endo, it really makes having children very difficult. I ma dating a wonderful man right now and I am in my upper 30’s and we plan to be married and I would like to try to have kids so I am probably going to go through the laproscopic surgery this summer to see if I do have endo and to have as much of it taken out as possible.

Also, I understand how BC pills work and I understand how they help with bad periods.But isn’t Mirena a piece of plastic in your uterus. How does that help with your periods? Are there any hormones involved or does it just keep the lining of your uterus thinner so you don’t hurt as much. I have never heard of using an IUD for bad periods. And I don’t know if I could personally do that. The thought of having anything foreign in me really gives me the heebeegeebees. But if it will help you and the pills don’t help you anymore I say do it. What is the difference between using that and taking the pills? I totally understand how you cannot function without help like this. If you are anything like me, it’s more than a monthly problem. I went off BC pills for a while a few years ago and my problems came back with a vengance. And the problems were for the entire month, not just a week out of every month. It was terrible and unless people have experience these kinds of problems then they will never understand.

It’s got hormones in it that are slowly released, but not as much as you would have systemically with the pill. I thought it was nuts when I first heard it too … I’m guessing they noticed the reduced period side effect was common for most women and realized how much money they could make marketing it that way. The “foreign object” part is a whooole 'nother ball of wax. I honestly can’t decide which frightens me more: the possibility of it embedding / doing something horrid or the fact that it’s birth control.

Finding out “why” would be helpful. He ran a complete endocrine panel and there does not appear to be an obvious cause (like thyroid). He said that most insurance companies won’t allow for additional testing unless there’s an infertility issue. This makes sense because why would they pay for unbelievably expensive testing when it can be treated with a Pill or internal widget? The cold hard fact of the matter is that we do not have the money to go into investigative testing.

He did suggest getting knocked up and staying that way (or nursing) for the next 10 years, so I wouldn’t have a period to worry about. I think he and his wife chose that option, they have seven children. I wonder if he’d ever encourage her to get the IUD if she were in my situation. Maybe I’ll ask him that next time I see him.


Since we cannot give medical advice, I just want to say that I work with patients who get this cr*p and their periods become worse and terribly painful (btw, this is supposed to stop your period). So your doctor is WEIRD. If you have such bad periods, I suggest you look into the Creighton Model of NFP. There are underlying conditions there, dr’s just like to mask the problem instead of fixing it. Dr Hilgers could be the dr who could help you.

Oh, and there is always the risk of that thing creeping through your tubes and going into your abdomen (I’ve heard dr’s say this at work) and it can rupture your uterus (yes, even though it’s a soft plastic) and leave you infertile. Why would anyone in the right state of mind want to get this? Oh and if you got pregnant, you could miscarry or that thing can get implanted on the baby…

Just some things for you to think about.

My doctor (at a Big Ten University Hospital) said that if I was looking for a form of birth control that was non-abortive (due to my understanding that life begins when the sperm meets the egg) then Mirena was not for me.

If you read their literature, it says that they aren’t sure how it works but it may ‘prevent the egg from implanting in the uterus’. Well (as they are well aware), eggs don’t implant in a uterus only fertilized eggs implant in a uterus. Their advertising material is misleading and leading to many, many spontaneous abortions and the women may have no idea. What a horrible tragedy. I can’t believe there isn’t more discussion around this issue!!!

Educate yourself before choosing an IUD as a method of birth control.

My obgyn confirmed this as well.

Since you and your husband want to have children I would suggest trying to get pregnant first. Your Dr is correct that getting pregnant could help . Not just because then your don’t get your period–but because simply being pregnant and delivering changes your whole hormonal make up. Even after you have a baby, you may not go back to the same type of periods.

Also, please get a copy of Fertility, Cycles, and Nutrition. It is extremely helpful and may help you enough until you are pregnant.

There is some natural hormone therapy available that doesn’t limit fertility; it’s available through the Pope Paul VI Institute for medically appropriate situations. They would have to know much more about your situation to be of assistance with appropriate therapy - but you can call them directly and speak with a nurse to get more info. Contact numbers are on their website.

I found this thread helpful as my wife and I were recently agonizing over whether she should use a Mirena IUD. I thought I would try and return the favor by describing the results of a great deal of research and discussion.

As background, my wife and I are both Catholic and are the parents of four children. After #3 was born, my wife had “idiopathic menorrhagia,” or heavy bleeding with no identifiable cause. In her case, it meant that she bled for close to half of her cycle and that on the heaviest days, she had to use double protection (tampon + heavy pad). She was reluctant to leave the house on those days. After #4, we began to explore treatment options. My research revealed, and the doctor confirmed, the following options:

  1. Take NSAIDs (e.g., ibuprofen) in heavy doses just before and during one’s period. My wife had been doing this without much relief.
  2. Take tranexamic acid (aka Lysteda), which has been shown to provide significant relief of heavy periods. Unfortunately, it has also been shown to cause stomach upset, and my wife has IBS.
  3. Take prometrium, a natural progesterone that is derived from yams. This is hormonal but does not normally prevent pregnancy. The most common side effect is extreme drowsiness, which causes some doctors to recommend taking it just before bed. This option had an appeal, but the drowsiness was a problem - my wife is still breastfeeding and needs to be able to get up in the night to attend to our infant.
  4. Take progesterin-only pills or “mini-pills.” This is hormonal and contraceptic. There is also research which suggests that it is not particularly effective.
  5. Insert the Mirena IUD. This is hormonal, but much less so than the prometrium or mini-pill - it releases about as much synthetic progesterone in a week as prometrium or the mini-pill would deliver in a day, and it delivers it to the uterus and not to the bloodstream, so side effects are typically either not present or only modestly present. The main problems with the Mirena are: a) it is contraceptive; and b) it is a foreign object that can very seldom cause severe problems (e.g., perforation of the uterus).

My wife’s doctor strongly recommended that she take one of these treatment options, and recommended that she take the Mirena given her circumstances. We were reluctant to do this. So I researched the issue and found out the following:

  1. Use of Mirena can be permissible under the doctrine of double effect (i.e., if you take it to treat heavy menorrhagia, it is morally acceptable). There are articles to this effect on the internet by Mark Repenshek, Ph.D., a Catholic ethicist at the Columbia St. Mary’s health care system, and by Msgr. James Mulligan, a medical ethicist for the Diocese of Allentown, PA.

  2. The biggest problem with Mirena from a Catholic perspective is the potential that it acts as an abortifacient. Mirena treats heavy periods by thinning the lining of the uterus. That prevents heavy periods, but it also makes it difficult for a fertilized egg to implant. The doctrine of double effect requires some proportion between the problem being treated and the problem that the treatment causes. If Mirena prevents fertilized eggs from implanting, then there is no proportion: the problems of heavy periods are not proportionate to the evil of causing a potential life to be aborted.

However, research indicates that the Mirena does not in fact have an abortifacient effect. This seems counter-intutive - if it thins the uterine lining, then it will create an abortifacient effect if the egg is fertilized. The Mirena materials say that the manufacturer isn’t sure how it works: it may work by preventing fertilization (which is not abortifacient) and may work by preventing implantation (which is abortifacient).

However, the uncertainty on this issue appears to be caused by the fact that research into how IUDs worked was limited when the Mirena was approved for use - the doctors back then knew that it worked but weren’t sure how. Research since then (consisting especially of a number of tubal flushing studies) indicates that in women with Mirena IUDs, eggs almost never get fertilized: the Mirena IUD primarily acts by preventing fertilization, so there is typically nothing that could implant and thus no actual abortifacient effect. Dr. Repenshek refers to some of this research in his 2006 article. Additional studies, done after 2006, confirm this. As a result, the Mirena is eligible for double effect treatment because there is some proportion between what it does (prevent fertilization) and what it treats (heavy periods).

  1. There appears to be some confusion about whether a woman who is using a medical treatment which has a contraceptic effect MUST refrain from sex entirely. I’ve seen things all over the place on this issue on the internet and no clear answer. It is clear that a woman who is not having sex can use a contraceptic medical treatment with no ethical problem - a nun could use Mirena without issue. The question is whether and to what extent a married couple must abstain from sex if the wife has Mirena.

My impression is that a married couple must abstain as needed to prevent the possibility of abortifacia: i.e., the couple should use NFP and abstain during what would otherwise be a fertile time, but they may have sex during what would be non-fertile times. Mirena tends to eliminate periods in some women, making NFP difficult to use, but couples should make some effort to abstain so as to further preclude the possibility (even though the research indicates that it is slim to none) of abortifacia.


I did a great deal of research about Mirena. I discussed it with a deacon and a priest and sought spiritual direction from them. Both indicated that given our circumstances (extremely heavy periods, but openness to life as exhibited by four kids to date), we could use the Mirena in good conscience.

You don’t go to the pp vi institute. You find a doctor that has been trained by them.

A napro doctor will find out the causes and treat that. This doctor is playing reckless.

go to omsoul.com and find a doctor there. People drive from states away to go to my docs due to the good care rather than medicating symptoms.

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