Why I Chose the Mirena IUD

Mirena is a brand name for a type of intrauterine device (IUD) that contains the hormone levonorgestrel. It is a T-shaped plastic device that is inserted into the uterus to provide long-acting, reversible contraception.

Starting around age 40, I experienced perimenopause symptoms (night sweats, restless legs syndrome, PMS migraines, shorter but more intense menstrual cycles)  that I managed with a grin-and-bear-it attitude and big pads. Then in 2016, I had a few heavy periods that lasted more than a week and I decided to see a gynecologist for medical care. 

After telling her my medical history and symptoms she performed an endometrial biopsy and sent me for blood tests and transvaginal ultrasound. The biopsy came back negative. However, the ultrasound found that I had endometrial hyperplasia (thickening of the lining of the uterus) and a fibroid, and the blood tests showed I was anemic. My doctor prescribed me medroxyprogesterone for 1 month to handle the heavy bleeding (or as she put it to close the tap) as well as iron supplements for the anemia. 

It was most likely that my ovaries were making less progesterone and causing my perimenopause symptoms such as heavy bleeding. With that in mind, we decided that a Mirena IUD would be the best treatment to keep the endometrial hyperplasia at bay. It would provide my body with a small amount of progestin hormone consistently. 

The Mirena IUD would be hormone replacement therapy (HRT) and protect me from developing endometrial cancer. Now I did get endometrial cancer in 2021 but that story is for a future post.

Note: There is no test of your hormone levels that tells you if you are perimenopausal as progesterone and estrogen naturally fluctuate each day of the menstrual cycle, but certain symptoms can inform us.



What is a Hysterectomy?

A hysterectomy is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of the uterus. In some cases, the ovaries, fallopian tubes, and cervix may also be removed during the procedure.

Hysterectomies are performed for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Uterine fibroids
  • Endometriosis
  • Uterine prolapse
  • Abnormal vaginal bleeding
  • Chronic pelvic pain
  • Gynecologic cancers

Kinds of Hysterectomies

  • Total hysterectomy: This procedure involves the removal of the entire uterus, including the cervix.
  • Partial hysterectomy: Also called subtotal or supracervical hysterectomy, this procedure involves the removal of the upper part of the uterus, while leaving the cervix in place.
  • Radical hysterectomy: This type of hysterectomy is typically performed for the treatment of gynecological cancer. It involves the removal of the entire uterus, cervix, and the upper part of the vagina, as well as the surrounding lymph nodes and tissue.
  • Laparoscopic hysterectomy: This procedure is a minimally invasive approach to hysterectomy, which involves making several small incisions in the abdomen to remove the uterus.
  • Vaginal hysterectomy: This type of hysterectomy is performed through the vagina, without any external incisions.
  • Robotic-assisted hysterectomy: This is a type of laparoscopic hysterectomy that is performed using a robotic system to control the surgical instruments.

The specific type of hysterectomy recommended will depend on the individual’s medical condition, age, and overall health.


Endometrial Cancer

What Is Endometrial Cancer?

Endometrial cancer is a type of cancer that affects the lining of the uterus, called the endometrium. It is also known as uterine cancer or cancer of the uterus.

The exact cause of endometrial cancer is not known, but it is thought to develop when the cells in the endometrium start to grow and divide uncontrollably. This can lead to the formation of a tumor, which can spread to other parts of the body if left untreated.

Endometrial cancer is the most common type of gynecological cancer in women and typically occurs after menopause. However, it can also affect younger women, particularly those who have a family history of the disease, are obese or have certain medical conditions such as diabetes, polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), or Lynch syndrome (a genetic condition that increases the risk of certain cancers).

Symptoms of endometrial cancer may include abnormal vaginal bleeding or discharge, pelvic pain, or pain during sex. However, some women may not experience any symptoms until the cancer has advanced.

Endometrial cancer is typically diagnosed through a biopsy, which involves removing a small sample of tissue from the lining of the uterus for examination under a microscope. Treatment may include surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or a combination of these approaches, depending on the stage and extent of the cancer.


I Had Cancer

On December 6th, 2021 I had a laparoscopic total hysterectomy (removal of the uterus and cervix) and bilateral salpingo-oophorectomy (removal of both fallopian tubes and ovaries. I had stage 1 endometrial cancer and this was the recommended treatment. This procedure meant I experienced surgical menopause.

What Is endometrial cancer?

What is a hysterectomy?

What is surgical menopause?