Spontaneous migration of the Mirena IUD is one of the most serious side effects of this hormonal contraceptive implant. If this occurs, the edges of the device can erode into the uterus and cause a perforation. Mirena can also migrate outside the uterus, with potentially severe complications including intestinal perforation, pregnancy, infertility, infection, and more. Bayer is now facing lawsuits from dozens of women, including many lawsuits that allege the company failed to adequately warn about the risk of “spontaneous migration,” and only warned about migration immediately after insertion of the IUD.
What is Mirena?
Mirena is an Intra-Uterine Device (IUD) — a type of implantable contraceptive that slowly releases hormones, which greatly reduce the chances of pregnancy for up to five years. The hormone in Mirena is levonorgestrel, a synthetic version of the hormone progesterone. The hormones in Mirena act locally inside a woman’s reproductive system, and make several changes to a woman’s uterus and cervix. Additionally, Mirena greatly reduces the length and volume of menstrual periods.
Mirena is sold by Bayer, and it was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in 2000. At least 2 million women use Mirena in the U.S.
Mirena and Spontaneous Migration
Migration of Mirena is a complication that occurs when the device moves from its optimal position. The Mirena is a T-shaped, flexible piece of plastic that is designed to sit inside the pear-shaped uterus. Two plastic “strings” hang outside the uterus, which is important for removing the device and checking its placement. One of the first symptoms of migration is “lost” strings. This symptom should always be investigated by a healthcare professional, because spontaneous migration of the Mirena can have life-threatening complications.
One life-threatening complication is perforation of the uterus and potential migration of the Mirena outside the uterus and into the abdominal cavity.
The prescribing information for Mirena includes the following warnings about migration of the device: “Delayed detection of perforation may result in migration outside the uterine cavity, adhesions, peritonitis, intestinal perforations, intestinal obstruction, abscesses and erosion of adjacent viscera.”
Case Studies of Mirena Migration
Physicians published this case report in the Journal of Emergency Medicine in August 2011:
“The extrauterine migration of an intrauterine device (IUD) can be life threatening and require emergent surgical intervention and treatment. Migration is usually the result of IUD expulsion or uterine perforation. … [Migration is] an uncommon but potentially dangerous outcome of IUD placement and use.”
Side Effects of Mirena
Some of the most severe side effects of the Mirena IUD include:
- Migration of the device in the uterus
- Perforation of the uterus
- Perforation of the intestines
- Intestinal obstruction
- Abdominal pain
- Pelvic Inflammatory Disease (PID)
- Ectopic pregnancy
- And more