Friday, March 9, 2012

Mirena Side Effects: Depression, Weight Gain, Hair Loss

In the early summer of 2007, I was finally diagnosed with depression. I was put on Effexor 75 mg and immediately felt amazing. The difference was unbelievable; I felt like I'd spent my life with sunglasses on and was finally taking them off. I had no idea what normal felt like until then. Up until this point I had also had bulimia, which also immediately went away. I ended up losing about 10-15 lbs, completely effortlessly (just because I wasn't occasionally bingeing anymore). I felt better than I have ever felt in my life. I never needed additional medications or to up my dosage.

In very late December 2007, I got pregnant with my daughter. I had a pretty icky pregnancy; constantly sick/nauseous, exhausted, no sex drive AT ALL. I had my daughter in September 2008 and almost immediately got a Mirena put in. My sister, a nurse practitioner in women's health, told me it was amazing, effortless birth control with NO side effects. I had no trouble getting it inserted. I was exclusively breast feeding so I wasn't having a period anyway, but I never started one or have had any bleeding at all since getting it in.

In the past 3 1/2 years, I have been continuously plagued by worse and worse depression. I went from Effexor 75 to 150 to 300. Then added Prozac 20, 40, then 60. Then switched to Pristiq, full dosage, then back to Effexor, then added Abilify. Then off Effexor and Abilify and on to a cocktail of Cymbalta, Lamigtal, and Prozac--all highest dosage. So before Mirena, I was on one medication on almost the lowest dosage and as of today I'm on 3 medications, all on the highest dosages. Not to mention, I've been rotating and trying everything under the sun trying to get my depression under control.

I've also never been able to lose the "baby" weight. I've had success with weight loss twice since my daughter's birth. The first time was fairly early on and I had to diet like crazy (HCG, South Beach, hypnosis, Nutrisystem, etc.) and work out constantly (hot yoga for 1 1/2 hours and running and weights) and as soon as I slowed it down (I work and, obviously, have a daughter), it all came back and more.

The other time, I literally just starved myself. I would eat one meal a day and make it as small as possible. I lost about 30 pounds doing that but it's a struggle to maintain my weight and I'm 45 pounds above my healthy weight!!! And I'm not bingeing, eating fairly healthy, and working out. WTF???

My breasts also went from a C cup (since I was 12) to a DDD. They are huge. I know I'm fat but good Lord!

I've also been tired all the time. I feel like I would always rather be asleep. If I can nap, I DO. I want to go to bed as soon as I've put my daughter to bed (even at 6.30pm).

Then recently my hair started falling out in big clumps. I have really thick hair so it's not too noticeable, I guess but it's shocking. My ponytail holders will be covered in hair, I have to constantly clean out my shower drain and when I brush I get an entire handful of hair. It's crazy.

So honestly I had no idea what was causing any of this; or even that these things might be connected. For the most part, I really thought that pregnancy had destroyed my body and mind. The post before this one is me lamenting that I can't have another child biologically. That's because I thought all these things were caused by pregnancy; I thought I couldn't risk my anti-depressants not working again. I had never heard of anyone being so effed up from pregnancy but I couldn't figure out what else could be the culprit.

So yesterday, my sister on a whim decided to google (remember she's a nurse practitioner--that's a freaking master's degree!--specializing in women's health) Mirena IUD + depression. And bam!!! All these stories of women with my exact same symptoms. Most of them hadn't even suffered from depression before and now were taking meds. Furthermore on Mirena's Canadian website there is a warning that Mirena is not recommended for women who have depression or mental illness. That information is no where on the American website or in the literature given to patients.

Reading these stories, that are all so similar to each other and mine, was so shocking. I never, ever would have connected my issues with my Mirena. The thing that pisses me off is that healthcare workers don't even have the information. If I, or my sister, had seen the warning about women with depression, I never would have even tried the Mirena.

So all this is to say I am having this thing taken out. I will continue posting my progress because when I found all this, I wanted to know if things would get better. I am so angry that no one knew about these problems, that no one suggested my Mirena might be the problem.

I guess I just want to help any other women out there that might be in a similar situation.

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Anonymous said...

I had the mirena fitted 2 years ago. Im 22 now and had it after my 2nd child. I gained 2 stone, and it was impossible to lose any weight. I had constant vaginal infections, sorry if tmi! Lol these would come every 3 weeks, go for a week after treatment then come back again! I began feeling depressed and highly suicidal but doc refused to give me any medication because of my age.which is ridiculous I was fobbed off with numbers to call...i had chest pains, sight in one eye went funny, optician suspected a catarax, but revealed nothing.numbness in legs and hands.itchy skin... I had it out yday and within an hour or 2 my thrush and all other symptoms have totally gone!! GET IT OUT..if U haven't already done so! I realise my post is years too late .i just hope you have it out already.most symptoms you can take but the depression it causes, and I have no doubt it was the cause, is not normal!!!!! ;;