In the United States, intrauterine devices (IUD) have become a popular form of birth control. An IUD is a small, T-shaped device made from plastic. The device is either wrapped in copper or contains hormones, both of which prevent pregnancy. A doctor inserts the IUD into the uterus. A plastic string that is attached at the end of the IUD hangs down through the cervix and into the vagina. The doctor will use the string to remove the IUD. It is also used to make sure the device is in place.
There are two types of IUD’s: hormonal and copper. The hormonal IUD, such as Mirena, releases a progestin hormone called levonorgestral. Hormonal IUD’s are slightly more effective at preventing pregnancy than the copper IUD. The hormonal IUD’s can work for either three or five years. Copper IUD’s are the most common from of IUD. Copper wire is wound around the stem of the T-shaped device. This type of IUD can stay in place for up to ten years and is also considered a highly effective form of birth control for women.
How Do IUD’s Work?
Hormonal IUD’s like Mirena prevent fertilization by killing sperm and causing cervical mucus to become thicker and stickier, which prevents sperm from making its way to the uterus. These IUD’s also prevent the lining of the uterus from becoming too thick – an integral part of egg implantation. The hormones in these IUD’s can reduce menstrual bleeding and cramping.
Copper IUD’s prevent pregnancy because copper is toxic to sperm. Copper makes the uterus and the fallopian tubes produce fluid that kills sperm.
IUD’s can be inserted by a doctor at any time as long as you are not pregnant or have a pelvic infection. The insertion procedure only takes a few minutes. Sometimes a local anesthetic is injected into the area around the cervix to prevent any pain, but it is not always needed.
After insertion, you may experience cramping and bleeding. In four to six weeks, your doctor will want to have you come into his or her office to make sure the IUD is still in place.
How Effective Are IUD’s?
With hormonal IUD’s like Mirena, about two in every 1,000 women will become pregnant within the first year. When using the copper IUD, about six in every 1,000 women will become pregnant within the first year. Most IUD pregnancies occur when the device is pushed unknowingly out of the uterus. IUD’s are most likely to dislodge within the first few months of insertion or in women who have not had any children.
Risk of IUD’s
Risks of IUD use includes:
- Menstrual issues – The copper IUD is known for increasing menstrual cramps and bleeding. Women may also experience spotting in between periods. The hormonal IUD may reduce menstrual bleeding and cramping.
- Perforation – One out of every 1,000 who receive an IUD will experience a perforation, or puncture, of the uterus. Perforation is rare, but it almost always occurs during insertion. The IUD needs to be removed if perforation occurs.
- Expulsion – About 2 – 10 IUD’s out of 100 are pushed out from the uterus and into the vagina in the first year. Expulsion usually happens within the first few months after insertion. It’s more likely to occur after childbirth or in women who have never been pregnant. If an IUD has been expelled, you are no longer protected against pregnancy.
Minera and its Side Effects
Mirena is a hormonal IUD that is effective at preventing pregnancy for up to five years. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved Mirena, manufactured by Bayer Pharmaceuticals, in 2000. It is currently one of two hormonal IUD’s on the market today. In 2009, the FDA approved Mirena to treat heavy menstrual bleeding in women who already had an IUD. Mirena has a 99 percent effective rate of preventing pregnancy.
Although Mirena is highly effective at preventing pregnancy, women can experience severe side effects from the device. Along with perforation of the uterus, which was mentioned above, women can experience pelvic inflammatory disease and ectopic pregnancies (pregnancies that occur outside of the uterus).
Mirena can also spontaneously move from the uterus and imbed itself into other parts of the body, such as the uterine wall, abdomen, pelvis wall, bladder, or blood vessels. Migration can cause pain, infection, and damage to the intestines and other organs. This is one of the most dangerous side effects of Mirena, and the IUD migration requires surgery to remove the device.
Bayer claims Mirena migration is rare, although a study conducted by Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center found that migration is a “frequently encountered complication.” Once the device migrates, the device can only be found through ultrasounds or X-Rays. In some instances, women have had to undergo several surgeries just to locate and remove the device.
In late 2009, the FDA sent a warning letter to Bayer demanding that they stop their misleading advertising that downplayed the risks and side effects of Mirena as well as claimed women could improve their appearance and sex lives.
As of September 2014, more than 1,500 Mirena lawsuits have been filed against Bayer Pharmaceuticals. One of the plaintiffs, Jennifer Martin claims that after she had Mirena inserted in 2012, she received a positive pregnancy test two months later. Her ultrasound did not show the IUD in her uterus. Martin miscarried soon after. After several surgeries to locate and remove the device, Martin’s doctor found the IUD after a rectal exam.
Martin is seeking punative damages for defective manufacturing, defective design, failure to warn, and negligence.
The Mirena device is effective as a contraceptive, but women report experiencing dangerous or life-threatening side effects such as pelvic inflammatory disease, pregnancy that occurs outside the uterus (ectopic pregnancy), and device migration. Numerous women have already filed lawsuits against the Bayer Company for Bayer’s failure to warn the public about the serious dangers related to the product.
You do not need money to pursue justice against Mirena device corporations. We take litigation cases on a contingency basis. There is no cost to you unless we are able to recover for your harms and losses. We will aggressively investigate your Mirena claim and fight on your behalf. Please feel free to contact a Mirena lawyer by calling 855-55-BAD-DRUG.