My IUD Story
(This should maybe read “My IUD LONG Story” lol ~ sorry it’s so long but not sure what to leave out)
“I feel like a CRAZY person.” ~me
This is often how I’ve described myself in the past two years to family, friends, doctors, and my therapist.
I’ve said “You think I’m crazy, don’t you?!?” to my hubby more than once.
I can’t remember the last time I went through an entire day without thinking it.
And, I’ve said, “I feel like I’m sucking at life” to my gynecologist and therapist very recently.
I’ve felt like a terrible mom, wife, friend, coach and employee.
I’ve been undependable, scattered, forgetful, and more.
I’ve felt like a fraud, a hypochondriac and a hypocrite.
AND, I’m not sure I’ve EVER felt more relieved than I do as I write this post!!!!!!!!!!!
For a little more than two years now, I’ve been dealing with an array of health issues.
I’ve gained over 35 lbs.
My acne is worse than it ever was in high school….even cystic at times….and it often covers my chest and my back.
I’ve been dealing with often debilitating depression and anxiety.
I’ve had digestive issues, extreme fatigue, sleeping too little or too much, brain fog, forgetfulness, occasional blurred vision, hair thinning, hair growing in places it never was before, lower back pain, abdominal pain, breast tenderness, pain lower than my abdomen, nausea, shortness of breath, difficulty breathing in the mornings, puffy face and ankles, heart palpitations, sugar cravings, headaches and bloating to the point I can look like I’m 7 months preggo by the end of the day. I even felt like I had lost my creativity. My whole life I’ve been creative and was noticing that even if I did have a good idea for a fitness challenge or a blog post one minute, I would forget what the idea even was the next….
I went to a family doctor last spring after going through almost a month of extreme pain and uncomfortableness and needing to lay down basically the minute I would get home from work. We did countless blood tests, tried at least three different medications known to help IBS symptoms, an abdominal ultrasound, a CT scan….all of which came up empty of answers….with the exception of my blood tests showing that my body was fighting something…fighting some type of infection according to my family doctor.
After several months of this, my doctor basically said we can’t find anything, prescribed a really expensive antibiotic and Naproxen, diagnosed me with reactive arthritis (I at one point woke up one day with a swollen toe which would end up wreaking a ton of havoc on my ability to exercise…even walk without pain. Apparently reactive arthritis can happen in your joints when your body is fighting an infection in some other part of the body. Crazy, huh??), diagnosed me with IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) and suggested a gastroenterology referral. I declined the referral at the time because I was exhausted from trying and I honestly just didn’t think it was all because of my digestive system. I had used all my flex money and more, even though having good health insurance.
My abdominal pain and several of my symptoms were MARKEDLY better after the short course of that antibiotic. In fact, there were several months after that I didn’t really notice much in the area of pain at all…but the acne, mental issues and the rest never went away….and seemed to only be getting worse. (My toe would be a source of pain for months but the Naproxen definitely helped. To this day, it still often throbs and aches).
I honestly think I just resigned myself to the fact I was just gonna feel like this. They couldn’t find anything really wrong with me. I was trusting what my dr. said and decided to just try to treat my IBS symptoms.
And, even more honestly, I started to think I was MAKING myself sick. Ha, yes, the whole hypochondriac part. I felt guilty about complaining about it to anyone. And, I do believe the more we fixate on something, the worse it can seem.
I would try many nutritional approaches and changes to my diet. I avoided high FODMAP foods for a while. I went gluten and dairy free for a while. I have tried low fat and low calorie. I have tried high fat and low carb. I have tried plant-based. Losing weight would happen a few times in this period but only with following the lower fat & lower calorie approaches and when I loosened up my nutrition, the weight would pile back on and FAST.
I’ve also been seeing a therapist almost this entire time. I’ve tried two different anti-depressants but was REALLY stubborn and wanted to try overcome with nutrition and exercise. I did an 8-week course for anxiety and depression last fall with some definite improvement but after the course was over, much of at least my anxiety returned.
Now, I won’t say I didn’t have any “good” days in there because I definitely did! There were days I felt like glimpses of the “old me”….days where I was very excited and positive….days where I was on-task and productive….days when my tummy felt ok and the pain more of just a dull ache. But many not-so-good days when even the littlest thing on my to-do list would completely overwhelm me….to the point I just wouldn’t do ANYTHING….almost as if I was paralyzed….days when I didn’t wanna get out of bed….and days when even the biggest clothes in my closet felt too small.
I reached another breaking point a few months ago and decided I was NOT ok with the quality of life I was living.
I was tired of feeling like a lazy, sub-par mom and wife because I was too tired and unmotivated and felt icky and quite honestly….BITCHY, short-fused and overly sensitive….a majority of the time. Real quality time was few and far between and usually involved watching TV together in bed lol. I was tired of living in a brain fog at work and the blurred vision many days a week left looking at my computer screens and numbers all day difficult. I was tired of barely being able to eek out a half hour workout. I was becoming more and more self conscious of my acne. And, I was tired of feeling like I was failing my coaches and my clients.
Enter in one of my “God things.”
I got an email from Chalene Johnson one random day about being invited to join a beta test group she was doing for a nutrition program she will be releasing to the public later this year.
I love my girl Chalene! I love her as a trainer and mentor. I have worked out live with her and she has presented at several conferences I’ve attended and she gets me excited and inspired about entreprenurial possibilities.
In I think maybe even her first video within the group, she said something about how you should be your own detective when it comes to your nutrition…..and ultimately your health!
So, I started playing detective again but not only with my nutrition….
Now, of course Google can be your best friend or your worst enemy.
But, I started Googling my symptoms.
And, one day, I found a blogger who was sharing her battle with PCOS.
Many of my symptoms seemed to fit PCOS….so I kept researching to eventually find that there was a potential link between PCOS and the Mirena IUD…..which I ironically had inserted in February of 2015. (Interestingly, we found my symptoms and the weight gain started in the few short months after I got it!) I called my OBGYN’s office right away to make an appointment to talk about my options and see what she thought. It would be over three weeks before I was able to get in but it would turn out to be an appointment I should’ve made more than a year ago.
It seems PCOS can be difficult to diagnose but she said I definitely had signs of a “pcos metabolism.” Weight gain and weight loss resistance are right up there with PCOS, so she ordered a pelvic ultrasound and asked if I wanted her to remove the Mirena. It can stay in for 5 years, it was expensive and I was “only” halfway through those 5 years so she asked if I wanted to take some time and think about it. But, I didn’t hesitate and we removed it in that very appointment. A few days later, I was found to have a cyst in one of my ovaries. Cysts are common but ideally our female bodies break up the cysts through our menstrual cycle. The is also a correlation of cyst formation with the Mirena and cysts can be painful if they do not resolve on their own….which could explain my chronic abdominal pain, the pain in my pelvic region and even the lower back pain.
After the Mirena was gone, I started to dive more into the possible side effects of it. I had almost EVERYTHING on the list! Of course I read about them before I got it but I think it’s one of those things where you think, “Well, those things won’t happen to me….and how common are they anyway.” There are hundreds….maybe even thousands….of women who didn’t do well with this thing. There have been many lawsuits filed against Bayer, the pharmaceutical company that makes Mirena. Even Erin Brockovich had at one point started a movement for “Mirena survivors” to pursue litigation. And, there are women out there who even feel it should be taken off the market. I even found a book called the “Mirena Detox” that talks about how to help the transition off it and to stabilize your hormones sooner. There are even many sites that talk about a “Mirena crash” as your body starts to regain control.
Most doctors seem to say they still believe Mirena is a safe form of birth control. And, most doctors do not agree with any correlation of weight gain and the Mirena.
But, the personal stories you would find don’t lie.
Here are just some I found (not the best grammar lol but interesting none-the-less):
And, I’ve watched several stories on YouTube ~ my heart hurts for many of these women!
When my doctor was leaving the exam room that day, with a comforting smile and a hand on my knee….”I wish you had came to see me sooner.”
And, it’s hard for me to think back to over a year ago when I was first doctoring. Not even once did my family doctor mention this could be hormone-related or anything to do with the Mirena or suggest a referral to my obgyn. And, even the ultrasound techs who did my abdominal were surprised my doctor didn’t order a pelvic as well. But, doctors are human, too….and many of my symptoms were indicative of a digestive problem AND I suppose it’s called “general medicine” for a reason.
Now, of course part of me thinks maybe it’s just too soon to say YES this was all because of the Mirena. BUT, sometimes you just know your body, too ~ it’s only been about 9 days since it’s been gone and I already feel like a different person. I’ve felt a little bit better with each passing day. I feel this almost eery calmness…..as if my body just knows we are back on the right path to health. I’ve dropped 6 lbs. My bloating is CRAZY better…..not gone but so much better. My active acne last week seems to quickly be scabbing over. I haven’t had even one day of blurred vision since it’s been gone and that was happening at least 2-3 days a week and often more. I feel like much less of a crazy person (let’s be real, I’ll always be a certain level of crazy lol). I’ve been actually waking up before my alarm and not having to pry myself out of bed in the mornings.
I really believe those blood tests that showed my body was fighting an infection over a year ago was really showing my body was fighting the Mirena. And, I also feel like my reactive arthritis was because of it as well.
Now, consider this more of a cautionary tale or a PSA (public service announcement lol) 🙂 If you have an IUD, I’m not suggesting you run out and ask your doctor to remove it. But, if you are noticing any of the things I’ve talked about since you got it, I definitely believe it’s worth consulting with your doctor about! And, I’m also not trying to talk anyone out of getting one. I have a few friends who have one and have not had any known issues. AND, as far as birth control goes, it sure makes life easier for us women lol! But after reading so many stories about women who have had terrible experiences with it, I had to share my story as well. I’ve already had one person reach out to me because I was talking to a friend about this whole ordeal. Her friend was experiencing many of the same symptoms I was and after having hers for four years, within a week she chose to have hers removed as well!
I think I said this in one of my last posts but we have one body and one life, right? Take ownership of your health! Listen to your body. Don’t be afraid of going to your doctor or getting a second opinion!
And, to leave all the women in the house with a #fridayfunny about the things we go through 😉 A friend shared this this morning and since I had several people ask me if I was going into early menopause through all this, I found it especially funny. My OBGYN assured me I’m not….ha, YET anyway lol 😉 Always something to look forward to for us…..gosh, what us women go through, right?!? Can I get an amen?? #menhaveitsoeasy #donttellmyhubbyisaidthat