Saturday, February 13, 2016


I wanted to share my experience with the birth control IUD Mirena because finding other people's stories were the only reason I didn't feel so awful and crazy.

I had Mirena inserted in mid December, 8 weeks after giving birth to my son and had no problems with the appointment. I experienced some cramping and bled for a little over a month (which I was alarmed about because I wasn't told that it was normal to experience a month of heavy bleeding) but other than that, nothing abnormal.

My first indication that something was off was that I had been working out, first mildly with yoga and then strenuously with high impact cardio for, at the time of my concern developing, 7 weeks and eating a very strict diet with a calorie intake that never exceeded 1500. I had not lost one pound. I could feel I was getting stronger but my weight didn't move at all. My measurements weren't changing either and then I found I was  actually gaining. Now I know, this is everyone's favorite argument, "muscle weighs more than fat, you're gaining muscle". Yes. I know, But what I was expereincing just made no sense. So I kept working and weighing and waiting and the scale never changed.

In the beginning of January my scalp became so intensely itchy. I smeared coconut oil on it every night and tried to shower as sparingly as possible hoping the natural oils my scalp produces would balance out or something - I have no idea I'm not a hair doctor. For a year before I was able to wash my hair once every three days and then with this I suddenly found myself needing to shower everyday because of THE DANDRUFF. Huge flakes, guys. I could provide the snow for a stage production of A Christmas Carol. It was terribly embarrassing. I asked my friend, who could be considered a "hair doctor", as I officially stated earlier and she suggested Aveda's scalp benefits shampoo which I bought the next day.

(Sidenote guys: it took me a LONG time to convert over to the fancy shampoo and conditioner crew but it is so absolutely worth it. I don't have to use as much and my whole family uses it. I know the price tag is stroke inducing but our family used an $80 bottle of condition her A YEAR. And my hair feels better than it ever has. *cue shiny hair toss over the shoulder, laughing to the heavens* )

So, I'm overweight, trapped in overweight mode, itching my head like I have fleas, danderry (which is a word now) and also very, very depressed. There were life situations happening at the time but I could never quite pinpoint why exactly I was so down. It got bad enough I went in to see a doctor about it.
Those life situations also led me to think that they were causing me stress headaches as well. These headaches would come on suddenly and were sharp. I experienced them probably every other day.

I chalked every symptom up to another issue, which it could have been. But as I was researching how to cure my dandruff problem, I found a likely culprit to be a hormone imbalance. Wait a sec. Hormones. Ok. So I Google birth control and dandruff. Lots of hits. I Google Dandruff and Mirena. Lots of people experiencing the exact same thing I was. Itchy scalp and some had the dandruff too. The weight gain or inability to lose any weight. HEADACHES.

I had been keeping tabs on the weight gain and Mirena debate. I say debate because every health care professional and medical website says that birth control, and Mirena specifically, does not cause weight gain. However, hundreds of women, including myself, are experiencing it. Women were gaining 20lbs since Mirena and their doctors were dismissing it. Every woman I saw that expereinced weight gain and had it removed said they did begin experiencing weight loss after, some rapid and some slow going.

I had my Mirena removed a little over a week ago and my dandruff is gone. My scalp is only a little itchy but pretty normal for it being the middle of winter. My depression has eased quite a bit (to be clear, I didn't know depression was a side effect until after I had it removed. It was yet another "aha" moment.) No headaches anymore. And I've lost one pound. Whoopee. I'll take one pound over the ZERO pounds I've lost in 12 weeks of diet and exercise. (That's another blog, though.)

So I wanted to write this to be another voice in the sea of voices saying I know my body and I am right. You know your body, you know when something is off despite others telling you you are wrong. My nurse and doctor both appeased my reasoning for removing the Mirena after 6 weeks of it but were careful not to tell me I was right. I don't mean that in a rude way, I love my doctor, but I also know what she's learned is not matching up with what's happening to me and that's ok but I know I am right. 

I want to be very clear that I am well aware that Mirena works great for some women. Two women close to me use it and love it. I am totally not against Mirena. It just doesn't work everyone and that's totally okay. It just really, really sucks to be one of those women and to have people more educated than you telling you you are wrong and continue suffering.

Freakin uteruses, man. They're so powerful. Mine is definitely winning in the war of control and totally giving me the finger.

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