Mirena And PID
All contraceptive IUDs (intrauterine devices) carry the risk of certain side effects for women who use them, and the Mirena IUD is no exception. But, because the producers of Mirena are dedicated to protecting the health of Mirena users, extensive research has been done into the possible side effects of this convenient form of contraception. As a result, we know that Mirena users have a very slightly increased risk of developing pelvic inflammatory disease, or PID. Bear in mind while reading the information below that less than 1% of women develop PID while they are using the Mirena contraceptive device.
Pelvic inflammatory disease is a bacterial infection that spreads from the vagina, where it usually enters the body, to the uterus and the organs in the upper reproductive system. Basically, the sufferer can end up with an infection in the uterus, fallopian tubes or ovaries. In some cases, symptoms of PID may not be noticeable, but in others, they may be severe. Particularly in cases of PID that present no symptoms at all, the condition can result in serious damage to reproductive health, because the patient is likely not to seek treatment until the condition reaches an advanced stage.
Infertility Caused By PID
PID is often caused by sexually transmitted infections such as gonorrhea or chlamydia, if these infections are left untreated. The PID can result in scarring or distortion of the fallopian tubes, uterus or ovaries, which may impede ovulation or the implantation of a fertilized embryo in the uterus lining - the end result is reduced fertility.
The Mirena Connection
There is more than one way in which having a Mirena IUD fitted can cause infection and eventually PID.
- Because Mirena must be inserted into your uterus via your vagina (by a trained medical professional), any infection already existing in the vagina can be spread to the uterus and other reproductive organs. This may go on to develop into PID.
- The process of inserting Mirena, may, in very rare cases, introduce some infection into the body. There is also a small risk of infection developing just after insertion or within 20 days of insertion. After 20 days have passed, the risk of infection decreases.
Preventing Mirena-Associated PID
To reduce the chances of the unlikely event of a PID infection after having Mirena inserted, make sure you talk to your doctor first about any unusual symptoms you may be experiencing. If you have symptoms of a vaginal infection or an STD, don't have the Mirena fitted until you have been tested and treated. If you have or suspect you have an infection, make sure you tell the health professional responsible for inserting Mirena.
Symptoms of STDs or vaginal infections include:
Unusual vaginal discharge with an unpleasant smell
Bleeding between periods or irregular menstrual cycles
Itchiness or irritation in the genital area
A rash or unusual lumps in the genital area
Pain or a burning sensation when you urinate
Pain in the lower abdomen or lower back
Pain during sex
Fever, fatigue, diarrhea or vomiting
Remember, most infections of this kind can be treated relatively easily with antibiotics. Even if you don't have symptoms, but you have had unprotected sex, it's worth your while getting tested for STDs. After all, it makes a lot more sense to be treated now than to risk developing PID later on.