I’ll start this post by saying I love the mirena IUD. After getting pregnant with Max while on the pill, the IUD was a welcome alternative. I loved not thinking about birth control and I loved not getting a period even more. So after Zoe was born it was a no brainer to get another IUD.
The difference the second time was when I went for my IUD follow-up, my doctor couldn’t find it. She did an ultrasound to see if it was floating around in my uterus. It wasn’t. She explained that it most likely fell out, but in extremely rare cases the IUD can perforate the uterus. To rule out the latter, I needed an abdominal X-ray.
At this point I wasn’t worried. I assumed if the IUD perforated my uterus I would be in a lot of pain. The more likely story was it fell out and I didn’t notice. I did have a 2 month old at home, so I wasn’t exactly at my sharpest.
The day I got my X-Ray I was in a sour mood. I had waited much longer than I wanted and the hospital seemed to be moving in slow motion. So when the X-Ray technician said she was done after only taking one quick image, I immediately questioned whether she had done a thorough enough job. She casually responded, “there is no need for more images, the IUD is right there.”
Unfortunately, if your IUD perforates your uterus, the only way to get it out is through surgery. I liked my OB, but she was the one who put me in this situation and I wanted someone with more experience to take it out. I scheduled the surgery with my previous doctor, who even with years of experience explained that he had only seen this happen 2 or 3 times.
The surgery was an outpatient procedure, but still required general anesthesia. Three ~5 mm incisions were made – one in my belly button for the laparoscope and two on either side to locate and extract the IUD. The plan was for my doctor to insert a new IUD once the “lost” one was removed; however, the tear in my uterus, where the IUD went through, wasn’t completely healed so a new one couldn’t be put in. My doctor assured me the tear was minor and would heal on its own. The danger of putting an IUD in too soon is that it could go through the tear and have to be surgically removed again. My doctor suggested waiting a minimum of 6 months, but he strongly recommended I consider an alternative form of birth control.
What I learned about Mirena IUD uterine perforation from my doctor
Even though I initially blamed my OB who inserted the IUD, it was not necessarily practitioner error. Although most cases of an IUD perforating the uterus occur during insertion, there have been plenty of cases where it occurs after 2 or 3 years. Basically there is not enough data to say why or how an IUD does this.
The other important thing I learned was that the IUD is not an effective form of birth control if it is not in its proper place. This information led to a minor panic attack, while I sat in the doctors waiting for the results of my pregnancy test (not pregnant!).
Why I’m sharing my experience
Before this happened, I didn’t realize it was possible for an IUD to perforate your uterus. I’m sure it’s listed as a complication in any IUD pamphlet, but I honestly didn’t look twice at it. And even though this happened, I still love the mirena IUD and plan on getting another one in a few months.