As a woman, it is normal for you to use some form of contraceptive if you have decided to avoid pregnancy. Birth controls are one of the most commonly used types of contraceptives by women.
An IUD or intrauterine device is basically a T-shaped birth control apparatus that is inserted into the uterus of a female with its main purpose being the prevention of pregnancy. This method is said to be 99% effective when used.
Intrauterine devices are under the category of LARC (long-acting reversible contraceptives), which are birth control methods that typically provide an effective contraception for a lengthy period of time. Types of long-acting reversible contraceptives generally include intrauterine devices (IUDs), injections, and subdermal contraceptive implants.
What is Mirena?
One of the most popular and widely used intrauterine device is called Mirena. It has become a very famous IUD because of its effectiveness and also its tendency to cause severe cases of acne breakouts in women.
A small daily amount of levonorgestrel, a type of birth control hormone, is released by Mirena on a daily basis to help prevent pregnancy for as long as 5 years. Levonorgestrel primary function is to increase the cervical mucus to the point that the sperm cells will not be able to reach and unite with the egg.
This specific birth control hormone also thins the lining of the uterus, which would make it difficult for a fertilized egg to become self-implanted on the wall.
Side Effects of Mirena
Tubal pregnancy (a pregnancy in the fallopian tube instead of the uterus) is probably the worst possible side effect of using a Mirena IUD. If ever feeling severe pain in your side or lower stomach, it is advisable to seek emergency assistance.
The Mirena IUD could also become ingrained into the wall of the uterus, causing a hole to form in the uterus, which is very dangerous. If ever this occurs, it can cause scarring, damage, or infections to other organs. A malfunction with Mirena could lead to a mandatory surgical procedure performed by a doctor to remove the IUD.
Other common side effects of Mirena include:
• Extreme dizziness
• Heavy vaginal bleeding, vaginal sores, watery vaginal discharge
• Pale skin, easy bruising, weakness, chills, fever
• Severe pelvic cramps
• Pain during sexual intercourse
• Jaundice( yellowing of eyes and skin)
• Difficulty with breathing
• Vaginal itching or infection
• Irregular menstrual periods
• Stomach pain, nausea, vomiting
• Depression, headache
• Sensitivity to light
• Breast tenderness or breast pain
• Back pain
• Weight gain
• Swelling of feet, ankles, hands, or face
• Acne breakouts
Other Causes of Acne Breakouts
As mentioned earlier, one of Mirena side effects is the possible formation of acne breakouts. Acne formation as a whole can be blamed on clogged hair follicles or skin pores.
These pores are often clogged up by dead skin cells, sebum (oily substance produced by sebaceous glands), bacteria, and dirt. However, there are various factors that could contribute to the blocking and inflammation of skin pores.
Sugary food- In order for your body to consume sugar properly, a hormone produced by the pancreas named insulin, is required to be present. Its main purpose is to allow your body to use sugar, but little known by others is that insulin can also cause acne formations because a variation of insulin called IGF-1, causes the sebaceous glands to excrete sebum, which means that high sugar intake could affect your overall sebum production and increase your chances of having an acne breakout.
Spicy food- The consumption of spicy food will cause you to sweat a lot and that sweat could also lead to the clogging of skin pores. Spicy food also typically contain acidic lycopene that could make some people irritated and lead to their skin’s pH levels getting disrupted and cause acne breakouts.
Dehydration- Dehydration is a state of our body that typically occurs when a significant amount of bodily fluids lost exceeds the amount of water intake. Some examples that can cause dehydration are excess tears, sweat, urination, and respiration. Getting sick could also lead to a great amount of fluids being lost, such as diarrhea and vomiting. Becoming dehydrated will increase the risk of having a number of skin problems, one common example being skin acne.
The skin tends to become overly rough and dry because of dehydration, which causes the skin to peel off. Dead skin cells will likely become increased in number because of the dryness of the skin, which increases the possible risk of your skin pores becoming clogged. It could also become worse with the addition of skin debris, dirt, and the dead skin cells.
Hormones- Androgens and testosterone are the hormones which are responsible for most cases of acne breakouts because these hormones affect your sebaceous glands’ sebum production.
The most common people to experience this kind of skin condition are the ones with high amounts and levels of hormonal activities happening inside their body. That’s the reason why during your early teens and early stages of puberty, you will be very prone to skin acne.
Women that are pregnant, having their menstrual periods, and who are taking birth control are also prone to acne breakouts because of the high hormone related actions of their respective situations.
There are 2 kinds of intrauterine devices that can be used by a female. These two intrauterine devices are:
– A non-hormonal IUD creates an environment that is hostile to sperm without the use of hormones. These are usually made of copper and could work for up to ten years or more.
– Similar to birth control pills, hormonal IUDs usually secrete a daily dose of hormones that are designed for the prevention of pregnancy. These IUDs work for about 5 years.
While both of these IUDs are effective with birth control, hormonal IUDs are more likely to cause acne breakouts because of the fact that hormones play a huge part in acne formation. Based on factual studies and researches, women that use Mirena are more likely to have an increase in acne breakouts because Mirena is considered as a hormonal IUD.
Considering the fact that copper IUDs don’t work with hormones, they don’t have the risk of giving the user a hormonal imbalance that could cause acne. Plus, copper IUDs last almost 2 times longer than hormonal IUDs. If you take a closer look, a copper IUD has its fair share of advantages that makes it seem that it would be a better choice.
Although there are some advantages, there are also disadvantages for using a copper IUD. Non-hormonal IUDs tend to make your cramping and bleeding worse during your menstrual cycles, while some are allergic to copper which would automatically prohibit them from using a non-hormonal IUD.
Since the use of Mirena is a factor that can affect your hormones, it means that it can cause acne. The risk of having an acne breakout are higher particularly if you had already experienced past breakouts during your adolescent years and if you are already breaking out before the use of this contraceptive.
Keep in mind that a Mirena IUD contains Levonorgestrel. Other than the prevention of pregnancy, Levonorgestrel will also stimulate your androgen hormones which will then trigger your sebaceous glands to produce more amounts of sebum.
Your sebaceous glands will become more overstimulated as long as this kind of hormone keeps on getting triggered. Once that the sebum production becomes too much, the chances of your skin generating acne will significantly rise.
The risks of taking Mirena don’t stop with simple variations of acne. Some side effects of this specific IUD could possibly go as far as painful lesions, nodules, and even cysts. According to some studies, the chances of acne breakouts happening could actually even increase over time.
How to Stop Acne Breakouts While Using Mirena
One of the best options when treating acne is using a good skin care regimen. Although there is a high risk of acne breakouts when using Mirena, it would never hurt to at least try preventing and treating your acne.
Regularly washing and cleansing your oily body parts is already considered as a big step towards acne-free skin. Exfoliating at least once a week is also advisable in order for your pores to become regularly fresh and clean. Using proper clothing to help your skin breathe and be comfortable also helps with preventing irritating skin.
Your diet also comes into play when talking about ways of preventing acne because as we now know, spicy and sugary foods are factors that can cause acne breakouts.
It’s best for every woman to be aware of what advantages and disadvantages their decisions have, especially with something as important as the use of contraceptives. Each person has their own unique build and bodily reactions. Some are sensitive to hormonal IUDs, while some are not.
If you are already prone to acne breakouts, be sure to have a checkup with your doctor or any expert before taking any form of IUD to ensure a safe and healthy decision.