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My Dilemma With Mirena- A 5 Year Birth Control Solution


According to StatsSA, 58.3% of South African women are using some sort of contraceptive. In the hope of minimizing my chances of falling pregnant (right now), I have become one of them. I have been on the injection for some time now and despite the ‘guarantee’ it offers, it has also brought on a myriad of side effects including irregular bleeding and exacerbated mood swings. It’s been horrible. My emotions have been abnormally heightened: I feel fragile AF and am often down without reason. I have also been plagued with inconsistent yet incessant bleeding, especially following any rigorous activity. These struggles have continued for some time now and upon a visit to my gynae, I discovered that this was due to the intake of the Depo-Provera. When asked WHY I had chosen the 3 month solution, I realized that besides the convenience held in it not involving the nuance of taking something everyday, it was really only one of the two options I ever considered. Perhaps it is the rate at which the traditional pill and injection are widely adopted but I have never really considered anything else. My gynae introduced me to an alternative solution, “Mirena” and since the injection is clearly not working for me, I am considering my options. As I ponder on what may work best for me, I have shared some information shared about Mirena from my Gynecologist Dr Sefanyatso.

Mirena is a T-shaped Intrauterine System (IUS) which, like the loop, is inserted into the vagina but instead releases progesterone (levonorgestrel) which thins your endometrium and thus reduces the chances of falling pregnant.  As a result, it is ideal for women who struggle with dysmenorrhea (heavy, painful periods) as it leads to a lighter (or no) period. The most compelling benefit is that it is a once off solution that prevents pregnancy over an extended period of time and thus does not include the nuance of consistently needing to take an action to ensure pregnancy is kept at bay. It appears ideal for someone who has no intention of falling pregnant anytime soon (me). My gynae insists that it can be ejected at any time if one wishes to fall pregnant within the five year period and unlike the other contraception methods, fertility returns within the next menstrual cycle.

Birth Control

Insertion requires a consultation and examination by a gynecologist and because it is fitted, the process necessitates the measurement of your uterus. The red T-shaped device is inserted in the cervix through the use of the plastic tube (pictured below) and the pulling of strings (really simplified explanation from my understanding).

Insertion can occur when one is due for the next contraceptive.

Birth Control

The insertion process is said to be uncomfortable and likened to period pains which can be alleviated through the use of local gels (or even sedation according to

I have read that it can potentially get dislodged which affects its efficacy (uhm?). I am not quite certain what the impact is during sex but it appears to not have an impact at all (neither you nor your partner can feel it).

Cost: It can range from R 2, 000 –  R2, 800 depending on your gynae, medical aid, the use of sedation and consultation rates.

Since it releases progesterone on a daily basis over the five year period, my concern still remains the seemingly unavoidable side effects that need to be taken into account. Nausea, bloating, depression, dizziness and mood changes are still an uphill battle here. So I am not quite sure if it is worth it. The price and the insertion process are huge barriers to trial for me. But it seems, on the quest to find a solution whose side effects are manageable for me, my best bet is trial and error (which I am not too excited about).

Have you heard of or tried Mirena? Please share your experiences with me.

By Lerato 

21 comments on “My Dilemma With Mirena- A 5 Year Birth Control Solution”

  1. Hi, I did my research last year about Minera when i was considering going on a contraceptive. I had used the pill before and the side effects were awful. So I thought maybe I should look at alternatives, i found information about Minera on a website and when i read that it would have to be inserted by a Gynae, i knew it wasn't for me. personally, i am afraid of pain and the article did mention sedation for the insertion process. so i opted against it at the time and just went back on the pill. I am currently using Diane35 prescribed by my dermatologist for my acne. its been working well, except i do experience vaginal dryness. i haven't experienced the mood swings, bloating, tender breasts or nausea that i did when i was on Yaz.

    1. Thanks for sharing Mimi. I guess, like my gynae says, it's all about finding what works best for us individually. I hate the pill 100% and i am going to stop the innjection for a while until I've figured out what to do

  2. Hi ladies,

    My experience with the IUD(5yrs) is that the insertion wasnt bad at all just a little uncomfortable because i wasnt relaxed. It took less than a minute. The 1st 3 months were a nightmare of heavy flow (which i was warned about). I was clotting so much i thought i would suffer from aenamia(sp) .however from month 4 was bliss..Now I even look forward to a pain free PMS. The flow is side effects whatsoever (I just hope am one of those who will get a break from periods yhu!! Am seriously enough. Just grateful that I no longer suffer from period pains. I used to bunk work because of them.

    1. OMG i hate periods too. I wish they would stop. Do you suffer from PMS? i have heard a few stories about IUD and because it doesn't involve hormones, it could work for me- because the hormones are buccckkk

  3. Hi Lerato, I have been using Mirena for the last 8 years (took out the first one after 5 years, the one I have is the second one). I really have no issues with it, the only down side is that I still experience 'period' pains once a month (although no period)and suffer from PMS around the same time. The removal and insertion is a little uncomfortable, it feels more like slight period pain. The discomfort lasts a day or 2. The are no issues either when being intimate with a partner, he doesn't feel it and neither do you. I have 2 kids and don't want another one. I would recommend to anyone who has no interest in falling pregnant.

    1. Ah awesome. eish I am not sure hey. I guess i'll have to find out what works best for me. I hate period pains :(. But atleast there is no period. Thanks for sharing

  4. Im on the implant,the side effects were bad at the beginning .Horrible mood swings,weight gain,depression,but a year later I'm good and not pregnant.Ive become more aware of my moodswings and what I eat and I lost some of the weight through gym as well.

  5. Hey Chicas!
    Just to add salt to the wound.. I was recently made aware of a terrifying side effect to our contraceptive methods- especially the injection and pills...They actually contribute to Osteoporosis!!!!
    This I discovered as I'm taking my mom for her hospital treatment, after discovering the bones in her spine towards the neck are disappearing
    The doctor basically said that long duration of use on these contraceptives leads to this side effect.
    I then question: WHY aren't we made aware of this bad side effect and also, how then do we prevent falling pregnant (as we know condoms do burst) and not knocking boots is not an option???

  6. Mirena is the best thing since sliced bread, I had it inserted a year ago. Best decision I made, the process wasn't painful at all, just a little bit uncomfortable. I still wish and pray that my periods would disappear for good, I still have them, not as heavy and painful as before. I love Mirena. I have decided that I'll have another one after this this one.

  7. I'm not on any contraceptive (yet)... I only started engaging in (as Lerato puts it) knocking boots recently. From my friends and aqcuaintances the pill and injection are characterized by horrid mood swings. But with contraceptives that stop periods all together; isn't that dangerous, biologically th excess stuff is supposed to leave your system, so if one doesn't bleed where does that stuff go?

    And I haven't tried the app myself but Particia Bright (she's a youtuber) says tracking your cycle and knowing when you are ovulating as well as when you are fertile and knocking boots during "safe" times is an alternative form of prevention... I haven't tried it myself though. But you can check out what she has to say about it on her video

    1. I wouldn't trust rhythm if I were you. Whilst most people are not aware of this you can fall pregnant outside the ovulation period. If you are not keen on taking pills, injections which I do not personally recommend I suggest you use the glove all the time when you are knocking boots

  8. Hi,
    I am using the copper IUD, i love because it has no hormones. The only issue i have with it is that it gives me really horrible period pains and i never used to get the untill i got the IUD. The insertion was painful for me. Otherwise i have no issue with it

    I would recommend due to my personal experience.

    1. MissT I am looking for the CopperT, actually I am in desperate need where can I get one to buy or have it inserted. I am terrified of anything hormonal. Thanks to the injection Nur-isterate I was diagnosed with savere hormone imbalance, I had to go on hormone therapy. Queens please help

  9. I've been using the Mirena for almost 3 years now and it's the best contraceptive that I've ever tried. It was uncomfortable to have it put on but it's worth it as I don't experience period pains anymore & I just have a light flow compared to my periods before having it inserted.

  10. Mirena insertion does not require for you to be put under. The procedure takes less than 2mins. Be relaxed, go see a gynecologist that you are comfortable with, it makes all the difference. It works. I am also aware that most medical aid cover the full cost you may just need to verify this with your service provider.

    Medical Practitioner

  11. Hi Lerato

    I inserted mirena on the 15th June 2018 through my gyne, it was a painful experience no lie there, I experience light bleeding and the brown discharge which are not so nice, I hate periods. I was using Qlaira pills which caused my breast to enlarge and terrible mood swings hence I opted for another method of prevention.

  12. Hello!

    I know this dilemma very well! I was on Yaz for almost four years, and while it was mostly brilliant - no weight gain, no mood swings, no period pains, lighter shorter periods and much better skin- I eventually seemed to require something a bit stronger (If I took my pill at a slightly different time, my period would start). I started Yasmin towards the end of last year and immediately had some side effects - my boobs doubled in size, weight gain and some skin problems- but besides this is did a decent job.
    However the amounts of hormones are quite a bit higher in yasmin and remembering to take a pill every morning on a busy schedule can be frustrating. So after some debate I had my mirena inserted- it's only been a couple days so not much to report yet but I think it looks promising! Much lower dose of hormones and no babies for 5 years!

  13. I have had the Mirena now for 10 years. Going for my 3rd one in January. I have had no problems with it at all. Previously I was on the injection for 15 years and was advised to stop due to the risk of osteoporosis that very common after long term use of the pill and depo provera. The inserting of the mirena is nothing to worry about only slight discomfort so my suggestion is take 2 painkillers before your appointment to relax and take them again when you feel you need them. Because of changing from depo (with no periods) to Mirena my periods were still kept away thank goodness. It is only now co.i g to the end of my 2nd Mirena that I am having g eratic periods but not heavy and this may also be due to the fact that I am 49 and quite possibly going through the change . Anyway to anyone considering having it implanted I would say do it. If it's not for you then just have it removed but give it some time at least to settle.

  14. I am on my 4th Mirena - had it inserted shortly after my daughters birth (fell pregnant whilst have a copper T) 20 years ago. It is sheer bliss - I went from heavy periods lasting 20 days coupled with anaemia to no periods at all! I cannot thank my gynaecologist more for introducing it to me. I get 2 tables to swallow 12 hours before insertions, and the nice thing is that removal and insertion is in one go - done and dusted!

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