Mirena And Cancer Risk
Many studies have looked at the link between combination birth control pills and the risk of breast cancer. Less research has been done on the breast cancer risks of progestin-only birth control, like the Mirena IUD.
Some research on progestin-only birth control suggests that it doesn’t raise your chance of breast cancer. Heres what one large study found:
- Breast cancer risk was slightly higher in the average population than in women ages 40-54 who used IUDs with levonorgestrel. That’s the hormone in Mirena.
- Breast cancer risk was slightly lower in the average population than in women ages 30-39 who used these IUDs.
- Regardless of age, there was no major difference in breast cancer risk between women who used this type of IUD and those who didn’t.
- How long women used the IUD did not seem to affect their breast cancer risk.
How Do Hormones In Birth Control Work
The hormones in some methods of birth control are similar to the ones female bodies makeclose enough that the body recognizes them as estrogen and progesterone. There are multiple kinds of hormonal birth control, each with unique ingredients that are released differently.
The IUD, the implant, the shot, and the mini-pill
Hormonal IUDs release a small amount of a progestin hormone called levonorgestrel. Levonorgestrel is one of the longest-studied types of progestin, and all the scientific evidence to date shows it is super safe. For example, this chart shows the average amount of levonorgestrel measured in the blood of women who have used Mirena or Skyla for about a year. These are averages, and individual IUD users may have higher or lower amountsthats what the ± means. The amount of levonorgestrel released by these IUDs stays very steady day to day, but declines slowly to even lower levels after the first year. Almost all of the levonorgestrel stays in the uterus the chart below shows how little is in the blood stream.
How does this amount of levonorgestrel impact the body? Most women using Skyla have their usual changes in estrogen and progesterone each cycle, and most release an egg each month. Many women using the Mirena are having their usual hormonal cycles after a year and still releasing an egg. The main way these IUDs work to prevent pregnancy is by keeping cervical mucus thick so sperm cant get through the cervix to meet with an egg.
Progestin Based Iud And Hormonal Imbalance
The use of the Mirena, Skyla, Liletta, and Kyleena hormonal IUD supplies synthetic progestins in the gonadal area which are going to suppress the body’s production of progesterone dramatically. As a result, the rest of the body begins to suffer from insufficient progesterone thus, estrogen dominance hormonal imbalance.
Acne in part can occur when high androgen levels such as testosterone get turned into its more potent form called dihydrotestosterone or DHT, via the action of an enzyme called 5-alpha reductase. DHT then causes sebum production to increase, leading to oily skin, clogged pores, and acne. Balanced levels of progesterone act directly by inhibiting the activity of 5-alpha reductase and prevents it from converting testosterone into DHT. When progesterone levels are balanced, it results in DHT levels staying low. However, when estrogen is high, and progesterone is low, your sebaceous glands produce an enormous amount of sebum!
An extensive study in Europe looked at the most frequent reasons women chose to discontinue use of their hormonal IUD . At five years, 8.4% of women had abandoned the use of the IUD. Acne was the second most common reason for stopping, accounting for 2.3% of women. Therefore, although the number of women who discontinued its use due to side effects is small, 1 in 4 women who stopped using the IUD did so because of acne
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What We Know About Iuds
Theres a lot of misinformation about IUDs, and a lot of horror stories regarding the long-term effects of IUDs. Many of these horror stories are worst-case scenarios. Here are the statistics regarding the complications women are apprehensive about before getting IUDs inserted:
- Fewer than 10% of women will experience their IUD falling out of place, with some estimates as low as 0.5%. Sexual partners should be able to feel the strings on the IUD and can check the IUDs placement before intercourse if theyre worried about it.
- The scariest complication of IUDsthe risk of the IUD puncturing the uterine wallis also extremely rare, occurring in 0.1% of women.
However, the best part of having an IUD is the fact that they are effective over long periods of time but can easily be removed if and when a woman decides to start trying for a baby. The procedure to have an IUD inserted is a brief outpatient procedure, and its no more invasive than a gynecological exam.
While some women find the insertion process to be painful, the procedure takes less than half an hour to perform and lingering pain that day is no worse than typical menstrual cramping. The benefits of an IUD is that, unlike condoms or the pill, no one has to remember the contraceptive on a regular basis. Once an IUD has been inserted, its effective for several years.
You Might Be More Likely To Develop Yeast Infections
Whether it’s hormonal or non-hormonal, having an IUD inserted puts you at a higher risk for contracting a yeast infection at some point. A 1988 study of over 200 women showed that 20 percent of the women with IUDs had a significant accumulation of yeast, while only 6 percent of those who didn’t have IUDs had a major yeast accumulation. None of the participating individuals had any predisposition to contracting yeast infections in the past.
Of course, this doesn’t guarantee you’ll develop a yeast infection if you choose to get a copper IUD. Just keep in mind that it’s common for Candida to accumulate on the tails of IUDs, so your likelihood for getting an infection increases, even if only slightly. But don’t get too nervous.
Actually, that holds true for all the other side effects of the copper IUD, as well â though all of these side effects are common among copper IUD users, none of them are 100 percent guaranteed to occur. Talk to your OBGYN if you want to know more about how this form of birth control will work for you, and whether your vag will be happy with the commitment.
Images: astrosystem/Fotolia Giphy
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I Spent An Entire Year Thinking There Was Something Wrong With Me Afraid That I Might Never Again Be Able To Have The Healthy Relationship With Sex Id Enjoyed For Most Of My Life
And it turned out the solution might be as simple as removing the hormonal device that was taking up space in my uterus.
So I did. I removed my IUD and switched back to the pill in hopes that my sex drive would go back to normal. I even went on a type of birth control that had both progestin and estrogen in hopes it would boost my desire.
But unfortunately, no dice. Switching from the IUD to the pill did nothing to fix the sexual issues I was struggling with. Eventually, I got to the point where I was so frustrated that I decided to go off hormonal birth control completely which turned out to be the right move.
The only remedy from fixing these hormonally induced sexual issues from HBC is to stop using them and allow the bodys normal hormonal system to resume functioning and provide the estrogen and progesterone necessary for normal sexual functioning, says Dunston. It can take up to three months for a womens natural ovulation to resume and her hormonal levels to normalize after stopping HBC.
I threw away my last pill pack about four months ago, and since then, my libido has been on the rise . And while theres no way to prove that my sexual dysfunction was directly related to my HBC, the anecdotal evidence Ive observed in my sex life is pretty overwhelming.
What Are The Side Effects Of An Iud
Both hormonal and copper IUDs do much more than prevent pregnancy. For example, Mirena treats heavy bleeding, which benefits those who experience endometriosis-related pain. ParaGard, the copper IUD, is also used as emergency contraceptive since it begins working immediately.
Side effects of intrauterine dosage forms, like the Mirena IUD, are typically less severe than those seen with oral contraceptives, according to Dr. Madison.
While IUDs are 99% effective, there are some common side effects to be mindful of, including:
- Cramping and back pain after placement
- Irregular bleeding and spotting during your menstrual cycle
- Irregular periods, which may become lighter or even stop
- Ovarian cysts, which usually disappear
- Heavy menstrual bleeding or longer periods with copper IUDs
Rare but serious side effects of IUDs could include the following:
- Potential risk of pelvic infection within 20 days after insertion
- The IUD may slip or move and will need to be taken out by a professional
- Expulsion of the device from the uterus
But Hormonal Birth Control Has Contributed To Womens Sexual Liberation
This is indeed true. Certainly, women wanted hormonal birth control because any kind of control over fertility was preferable to the slavery of having endless children. But this freedom also belies the realities that women experience every day on hormonal birth control.
If the health effects and negative effects on mood and libido are great, it begs the question what is liberating about hormonal birth-control. Perhaps more appropriately we should recognize that these methods liberate women from the fear of pregnancy, and in that they are clearly effective. But freedom from fear of pregnancy and pregnancy itself is not the same thing as sexual liberty. This is a hard trade-off, for sure. The problem is that many women arent fully informed of the trade-offs they are risking when they start hormonal birth control.
I like what Lisa Hendrickson-Jack has to say about it:
Althought the pill has been associated with womens liberation, numerous issues associated with HCs need to be put out in the open. After all, the heart of the womens liberation movement is freedom. For me, freedom is the right to exist in the world exactly as I am as a woman. I recognize that theres more to being a woman than simply having a uterus and being able to menstruate, but as a biological woman with a menstrual cycle, I dont want to be part of a feminist movement that doesnt allow me to cycle naturally.
And none too soon. As Holly Grigg-Spall points out in her book ,
They Are Highly Effective
The IUD is one of the most effective types of birth control currently on the market. The pregnancy rate for IUD users is less than one percent. In fact, its as effective as tubal ligationgetting your tubes tied. For this reason, its often recommended as an alternative to tubal ligation since it has the benefit of being easily reversible.
What Does Estrogen Dominance Feel Like
To sum up what estrogen dominance feels like I want to tell you about my patient, Denise. Denise was a 36-year-old mom of 2, married SAHM. She came to see me because she was feeling awful and was tired of trying multiple birth control pills for her symptoms. Especially considering her husband had a vasectomy, they didnt need a form of birth control. Denise was puffy all the time. She had multiple sizes in her closet and wore lots of skirts because of her daily weight changes. She told me, I have never had a stomach, and now I have a gut! Diane had long heavy periods, and she would plan her vacations around her periods. She always felt melancholy and nostalgic, but in an instant get mad over nothing. Denise could not sleep through the night. She would keep a notebook by her bed to write the worried-middle-of-the-night thoughts in. And she often could be found watching TV at 2:30 am. She said her mom had a hysterectomy at her age and her old sister just had a total hysterectomy recently.
What Are Typical Female Hormone Levels
When you say raging hormones, most people think about those awkward teenage yearscomplete with sprouting hair, inconveniently timed periods, and zits. This makes sense since its during the change from childhood to adulthood that the ovaries start making the sex hormones estrogen and progesterone in large amounts.
For the average female between ages 15 and 40 who isnt using hormonal birth control, heres what the sex hormones estradiol and progesterone do each day of a menstrual cycle.
Both hormones increase about 10-fold over a few days around the time an egg is released from the ovary. The amount and timing of estrogen and progesterone an individual makes changes from cycle to cycle depending on lots of factorsincluding age, health, stress level, and whether their body will release an egg that cycle or not. Between different individuals, there can be even bigger variations in the amount of these hormones they produce and when.
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Is It True That Migraine Is Associated With Stroke Can I Still Use The Contraceptive Pill
In general, women with migraine with aura are believed to have a 2 to 4-fold increased risk of stroke compared to women with migraine without aura. Many things might explain why migraine and stroke are related. Estrogen also increases the risk of stroke in young women. For this reason, contraceptives with estrogen are better avoided in women with migraine with aura. Luckily, there are many other available options.
It is understandably scary to think about this risk, but you should consider that the overall risk for a woman of reproductive age to have a stroke is about 1/10 000 per year. If you triple that, it increases it to about 3/10 000 per year which is still very small.
However, this rate does go up with every additional risk factors like age, high blood pressure, smoking, and diabetes. In women over 50, it appears that migraine with aura is not a risk factor anymore as other factors become more important.
Hormone Levels After Puberty
After puberty, a woman enters a premenopausal phase . This is considered peak fertility age, and hormone levels fluctuate based on where a woman is in her menstrual cycle. During the menstrual cycle, hormone levels fluctuate in the following way:
The follicular phase . This phase represents the development of the follicle , prior to the release of an egg cell. The follicle is stimulated by rising follicle-stimulating hormone levels.
- Early in this phase, estradiol levels are low.
- Anti-mullerian hormone plays a role in choosing which follicle will become the dominant follicle, which will release an egg at ovulation.
- The dominant follicle begins producing estradiol. Estradiol levels rise gradually at first, and then sharply rise two to three days before ovulation.
- Estradiol levels peak just before a surge of two other important hormonesâluteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone âtriggers ovulation.
Ovulation. This phase begins with a surge of luteinizing hormone and follicle stimulating hormone , which triggers the release of an egg from the dominant follicle.
- Estradiol levels decline during the ovulation phase, which lasts about 16 to 32 hours.
The luteal phase . After ovulation, the luteal phase begins.
What Birth Control Doesnt Cause Weight Gain
Should an IUD prove to be not the best birth control method for you, there are plenty of other contraceptive options to consider. Consult your healthcare provider about what would work best for you. Some common birth control options include:
- Depo-Provera, or other birth control injections
- The contraceptive implant, like Nexplanon
- Vaginal rings, like NuvaRing
Hormonal birth control methods get a bad reputation for causing weight gain. Any weight gain reported while taking birth control is likely natural, like aging or your metabolism slowing down.
Only one form of birth control has been linked to weight gain, and thats the injection Depo-Provera. If youre looking to avoid weight gain, stay away from any injectable contraceptive. These injectables have been shown to activate signals that control hunger, resulting in weight gain in some patients.
As you consider other birth control options, keep in mind that some, like the pill, injections, the patch, and vaginal rings, have 10% yearly failure rates due to human error.
Choosing the best contraceptive product is very individualized, says Dr. Madison, so make sure to speak openly and honestly with your gynecologist about which birth control method is right for you.
What Is A Normal Estradiol Level In Women
Normal estradiol levels in women vary based on factors like age, pregnancy, and menstrual cycle phases. In adult women who experience regular menstrual cycles , normal estradiol levels range between 15 and 350 picograms per milliliter . Levels can fluctuate significantly during the menstrual cycle and may be as high as 800 pg/mL and still be considered normal. During pregnancy, normal estradiol levels can reach 20,000 pg/mL. After menopause , estradiol levels are typically below 10 pg/mL for women who arenât on estrogen therapy.
Thereâs one key thing to keep in mind when it comes to normal levels: estradiol reference ranges can differ depending on the laboratory conducting the test. This is a normal part of the lab testing processâso itâs best to interpret your estradiol test results using the reference ranges provided by the laboratory used for testing.