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Mirena and Ectopic Pregnancy

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Ectopic pregnancy is a rare but serious complication of the Mirena IUD. If Mirena spontaneously migrates out of position and perforates the uterus, it may fail to protect against pregnancy. About half of all pregnancies that occur with Mirena are ectopic (outside the uterus). An ectopic pregnancy is life-threatening for the mother, it may require surgery, and it can cause infertility.

Mirena and Ectopic Pregnancy

Mirena is a type of contraceptive that is implanted directly into a woman’s uterus. It releases hormones locally in the uterus and prevents most pregnancies for up to five years. However, in some cases, Mirena can spontaneously migrate out of its original position in the uterus, perforate the uterus, and move into the abdominal cavity. If this occurs, Mirena will not protect a woman against pregnancy, and ectopic pregnancy can occur.

Pregnancies that occur while an IUD is inserted are very serious. About half of all pregnancies that occur with Mirena are ectopic pregnancies (or “tubal pregnancies”) which are outside the uterus.

Mirena must be removed if pregnancy occurs (both ectopic and intrauterine). However, if the Mirena has punctured the uterus or become embedded in the uterine wall, it can be very difficult to remove Mirena. Surgery may be the only option for removing Mirena.

What is an ectopic pregnancy?

An ectopic pregnancy is a rare but life-threatening condition that occurs when a fertilized egg implants and grows outside the uterus. Normally during reproduction, the ovaries produce an egg, which moves through the fallopian tubes, becomes fertilized, and grows in the womb. Ectopic pregnancies are almost always located in the fallopian tubes (also known as “tubal pregnancies”). In rare cases, ectopic pregnancy can occur in the cervix, ovary, or stomach area.

An ectopic pregnancy is life-threatening for the mother and the baby cannot survive to birth (full term). One of the most serious complications is a rupture in the area where the ectopic pregnancy is growing. A rupture can cause severe bleeding, organ damage, and shock. It requires emergency medical treatment.

A long-term complication of ectopic pregnancy is infertility. About 1/3 of women who have an ectopic pregnancy are still able to get pregnant later.

Side Effects of Mirena

The Mirena IUD can migrate (shift position in the uterus), perforate the uterus, and move outside the uterus into the abdomen. If this occurs, Mirena may not protect against pregnancy. Ectopic pregnancy or intrauterine pregnancy may occur. Mirena must be removed if pregnancy occurs, but this surgery can be complicated if the Mirena has migrated in the body.

Serious complications of Mirena include:

  • Migration of the device in the uterus
  • Abscesses
  • Infertility
  • Infection
  • Perforation of the uterus
  • Perforation of the intestines
  • Intestinal obstruction
  • Abdominal pain
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
  • Ectopic pregnancy
  • And more

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