March 9, 2012 8:40 PM   Subscribe

[BC filter] Will an IUD (Mirena) be a good option when I didn't like the Nuvaring? Particularly, it lowered my libido and gave me mood swings.

As a follow up to this question I'm looking at getting an IUD. The things I didn't like about the Nuvaring were that I had an almost non-existant libido and mood swings. I'm currently on a low-dose BCP, which is the best I've found so far for those things, but I'm looking at getting an IUD for the higher protection rate.

1) Have you switched from the NuvaRing to an IUD (hormonal)? What side-effects changed?

2) Have you had an IUD without having had a pregnancy? Good? Bad?
posted by DoubleLune to Health & Fitness (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I had an IUD with hormone, and I've tried Nuvaring. My experience with Nuvaring was very similar to yours; I had no bad side-effects with the IUD.

I have also never been pregnant. My first insertion went well - painful like a bad toe stubbing, followed by mild cramps over the next week. My second insertion (new IUD after 5 years) was more painful, but I wonder if it was being inserted incorrectly as it came out a month later (this can happen with your first period on the IUD).
posted by jb at 9:11 PM on March 9, 2012

Why not try a non-hormonal IUD? They are extremely effective and have no hormonal side effects.
posted by latkes at 9:13 PM on March 9, 2012 [2 favorites]

I made this exact switch, and I have never been pregnant.

- It absolutely helped me feel more like myself again.

- It was absolutely worth the trouble and expense

- Getting it inserted was one of the most painful things that has ever happened to me, and I had moderate to severe cramping on and off for a month or so afterward.

My understanding is that my experience is unusual -- my mother had similar problems getting an IUD, must just be the way we're built -- and I would do it again in a heartbeat regardless. Most women have less trouble than I did, but I am still really glad I made the change.
posted by Narrative Priorities at 10:19 PM on March 9, 2012

I never used any kind of HBC, then got a Mirena, and I had mood swings for a year. I may just be super sensitive to the hormones though. I wonder what the proportion of hormones in the Nuvaring is like compared to the Mirena?
posted by feets at 10:26 PM on March 9, 2012

I had an IUD after never being pregnant and I found the insertion briefly very painful (like one really fast horrible menstrual cramp), but very worthwhile considering I didn't have to pay for BC for a year and it was fully covered by my insurance. I had it removed because I thought I was having hormonal side effects with it (hair growth, acne), but as it turns out, now that I went off Nuvaring I have those same side effects again and have been diagnosed with PCOS, so I suspect that is a part of it.
posted by treehorn+bunny at 10:49 PM on March 9, 2012

I had an IUD before I had children. It was the Gynefix, a frameless IUD, which is not available in the US. I got it in the UK. Was not pleasant but not horrible. I suspect it was easier than most IUDs because it was very small: it is attached to the top of the uterus rather than relying on a big T-shape to hold it in. I actually traveled back to the UK to get a second one after 5 years, though after inspecting it the doc at the Marie Stopes clinic told me I could keep the same one another 5, which was awesome.

Had IUD removed to have my first child (via c-section), and then had a Paragard put in since it wasn't convenient to go back to the UK. Also not pleasant but not horrible. Did same for second child.

So, all were non-hormonal. Very good. Never tried Nuva-ring, but was way better than Ortho Tri-Cyclen pill, which wasn't great for my libido.
posted by CruiseSavvy at 10:53 PM on March 9, 2012

My libido was gone when I took BCP. I did the low dose thing and I was not myself at all. Got my Mirena inserted almost 4 years ago and it was the best decision I made. I was much more willing to get funky and I am not feeling the side effects at all. I don't get my period anymore (aside from the occasional moodiness and period pimple! Gah!) and I am successfully un-babied.

Insertion was painful and it took me awhile to have the Mirena get settled, but I am so thankful I made the switch.
posted by beloveddoll at 11:02 PM on March 9, 2012

I had problems with Nuvaring as you describe, had huge problems with Paragard and haven't had any with Mirena. Plus I haven't had a period since I got it which is amazingly awesome.
posted by fshgrl at 12:13 AM on March 10, 2012

I had a Mirena inserted last year, but I have never had a Nuvaring. Insertion--actually the measuring of my cervix--was very very briefly painful, and then it went fine. I did have some sharp, intermittent cramping for the next month or so which worried me, but my follow-up check-ups have all went well. Periods have become very mild and short. No mood swings whatsoever.

My own caveat: I have used different variations of the pill before and stopped because they all destroyed my libido (and caused wild mood swings), now matter how "low-dose". I'm actually having a similar, though much milder effect from my Mirena. I think that next time I will switch to the copper IUD to avoid this because it has put an unnecessary strain on my relationship. Perhaps if you're prone to having that side effect from hormonal bc, then it's hard to avoid even with low doses?

Other than that, it has been a pretty good investment and I try to recommend it to people on the lookout for good birth control.
posted by sundaydriver at 3:55 AM on March 10, 2012

fshgrl: "I had problems with Nuvaring as you describe, had huge problems with Paragard and haven't had any with Mirena. Plus I haven't had a period since I got it which is amazingly awesome"

Same here, minus the Paragard. No periods, no problems!
posted by theredpen at 3:55 AM on March 10, 2012

Sorry--I meant the measuring, or sounding, of my uterus, not my cervix!
posted by sundaydriver at 3:56 AM on March 10, 2012

The mirena has different hormones than the regular pill and less hormones than the mini pill, so there's every reason to be optimistic about side effects.

I've had two IUD insertions (first for a copper that unfortunately made my periods super annoying and then for a mirena, which has been fabulous despite my initial concerns about hormonal meddling). The insertions were painful like a really excruciating cramp, but over so fast I didn't really mind. The first was followed by a couple of weeks of cramping that was annoying but controllable with Advil. The second was completely smooth sailing.

(Some of my friends had worse pain than I did, but none regret it).

The most important thing is that your provider have a lot of experience inserting IUDs, if at all possible.
posted by Salamandrous at 9:46 AM on March 10, 2012

This is reassuring! Thank you for much for the anecdotal evidence :)
posted by DoubleLune at 3:05 PM on March 10, 2012

I really had a lot of problems with hormonal birth control. I have a nonhormonal Paragard, which is awesome. Never been pregnant, insertion hurt like crap (do not plan to go back to work/school that day), felt crampy and bled for a few days afterward, heavier than normal periods for about six months afterward.

If you are nervous about the hormones, why not try switching to a pill that uses the same progestin as the Mirena and see how it affects you first? All birth control pills use the same estrogen formula but very in the type and amount of progestin that they use. This is why different pills affect you differently. (Curious what your pill uses? Here's a breakdown.)

Mirena releases 20 mcg of levonorgestrel, a different progestin than Nuvaring uses. So your side effects may be different. Maybe try Alesse or Levlite, which offer the same dosage of levonorgesterel. That way you can stop easily if you don't like the side effects.

But honestly, if you like the way you feel without being on the pill, the nonhormonal Paragard is just as effective.
posted by elizeh at 5:41 PM on March 10, 2012 [2 favorites]

I was on BCPs after the birth of my daughter for about 3 years until I just couldn't do it anymore, for the reasons you cite on Nuvaring. My libido was nothing, and I was just... rage-y. I really worked on this for about a year: I switched pills, and also tried using the brand name instead of the generic. Nothing would take away the rage. It was frightening to think that I felt like I had absolutely no control over my mood. Oh, and I am pretty sure I was ovulating whilst on the pill... but that's a different story...

I had Mirena inserted in June 2011 and it has been fantastic. I have given birth, but I was way more freaked out and anxious about the insertion than I needed to be. My doctor used lidocaine to numb my cervix (rubbed it on--like at the dentist before you get a shot in your gum!), and I was totally up front with her about being nervous about the procedure. However, I honestly didn't feel anything. I took an Ativan and some ibuprofen about 30 minutes before. It was over before I knew it. I agree that a doctor's experience with IUDs will make a big difference in insertion.

I was expecting to need to take it easy over the weekend (I had it inserted on a Friday afternoon), but I felt like myself that night. No cramps. Nothing! Just a bit of spotting, if I remember correctly.

It did take several months before my skin stopped breaking out and I am on regular cycles again, but I suspect that has more to do with my PCOS than anything. I love that my periods are light, quick and virtually pain-free now. It's such a difference. And, I actually want to have sex now.

I did ask my doc about Paragard instead of Mirena. She told me Paragard tends to produce more bleeding. One of my goals was to reduce bleeding, so I opted against the non-hormonal version.
posted by FergieBelle at 6:02 PM on March 10, 2012

Well as a follow-up, I decided to go with the Mirena. Insertion was a breeze and far less crampy than I expected.
posted by DoubleLune at 9:36 AM on March 17, 2012 [1 favorite]

Yay! I hope it continues to serve you well!
posted by Salamandrous at 9:07 AM on March 19, 2012

For anyone looking at this in the future... A++ would do again.
posted by DoubleLune at 1:03 PM on January 1, 2013 [1 favorite]

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