Intrauterine devices (IUD) are a constant source of conversation on MyEndometriosisTeam. Many members on MyEndometriosisTeam have turned to IUDs as a treatment option, or are currently considering it. Members have a broad range of experiences with IUDs. For some women, IUDs are effective at reducing pain and heavy bleeding. Other women say their IUD made symptoms worse, especially at first.
IUDS are contraceptive devices that can also be used to treat endometriosis symptoms. Some IUDs contain progestin, the synthetic version of progesterone, which can shorten and lighten a woman's period or stop it altogether. Mirena (Levonorgestrel) is the most frequently talked about progestin IUD on MyEndometriosisTeam.
IUDs can be game changers for MyEndometriosisTeam members who experience less pain and whose periods become more manageable or stop altogether. “I’ve had Mirena for two years, and for me it’s been a miracle,” a member wrote.
Another member on MyEndometriosisTeam wrote, “The IUD has really helped me to prevent my recurring bouts of severe anemia. My periods are much less painful and symptomatic.”
Lots of members are happy with IUDs even if they don’t completely stop their endometriosis symptoms. “I'd be lost without the Mirena,” a member wrote. “It isn't completely effective. I still get regular pain, but it controls and minimizes bad flare ups.”
“The IUD has saved me from so much pain and heavy bleeding,” a MyEndometriosisTeam member shared. “It wasn't always 100 percent, and sometimes I did need pain relief, but it was only painkillers such as Ibuprofen.”
Like any endometriosis treatment option, there are drawbacks to IUDs. According to MyEndometrosis members, two of the primary downsides are time needed to acclimate to the device and discomfort or pain during placement.
Some members find it can take several months or longer to get used to an IUD. “The first two months adjusting to being on Mirena were not fun,” a member wrote. “I felt like I was pregnant again, and had the crazy hormonal swings that go with it.” MyEndometriosisTeam members also reported cramping, spotting, irregular periods, and acne.
While the initial acclimation period can be challenging, many members are eventually satisfied. One MyEndometriosisTeam member shared, “After about three months of sporadic pain and bleeding, my Mirena has really helped.”
In general, IUD placement can cause cramping and discomfort that can last for a few days after insertion. Some women with endometriosis have more difficult placement experiences.
“I know my placement was challenging enough - it took her many tries due to tilted uterus,” a MyEndometriosisTeam member wrote. “I am just having trouble telling what pain is normal and what isn’t. I don’t know how long to wait post insertion to see if the pain improves.”
Sometimes a local anesthetic or sedation is used for IUD placement. “I got mine placed under sedation,” shared one MyEndometriosisTeam member. “I have severe pain on pelvic exams, so the doctors agreed sedating me was the right call.”
“Yesterday I got a Mirena fitted under anesthesia,” another member commented. “It was like night and day from the last time! My gyno said that this should be done on everyone that has endometriosis.” Talk to your doctor to determine if a local or general anesthetic could be right for you.
IUDs Aren’t for Everyone
While many members are satisfied with their IUDs, they aren’t an effective treatment for everyone with endometriosis. “The IUD did not stop my bleeding,” one member wrote. “It actually made it worse. I also had severe cramping worse than it was before.”
One MyEndometriosisTeam member described negative experiences with two types of IUDs. “Both of them significantly increased my pain on a daily basis and with sex. Both increased my bleeding,” she wrote.
Another member’s daughter had her IUD removed after a few months. “She put up with it for four months before she had it taken out,” the member wrote. “The uterine cramping was unbearable!”
The broad range of possible reactions to the IUD can make the decision process overwhelming and sometimes scary. Members often turn to others on MyEndometriosisTeam after a doctor recommends an IUD. “I have a prescription for an IUD, but I am still in doubt because of all the negative experiences I have read. On the other hand, my body tolerated all other birth control well,” one member wrote.
Members share their personal experiences, some positive, some negative, but remind each other that everyone is different. In short, as one member counseled, “I think it really depends on the person if the IUD helps.”
On MyEndometriosisTeam, the social network and online support group for women living with endometriosis, members talk about a range of personal experiences and struggles. IUDs are one of the most discussed topics.
Here are some question-and-answer threads about IUDs:
Here are some conversations about IUDs:
Do you have an IUD or have you in the past? Share your experiences on MyEndometriosisTeam or in the comments below.