This article is Part II of “Did My IUD Trigger My Depression.” You can find Part I here.
As a person with bipolar disorder, I have to work constantly to monitor my symptoms and recognize any triggers that may induce a depressive or manic episode. Several months ago, something triggered a severe depressive episode that still hasn’t fully dissipated. I initially thought the trigger might have been travel or seasonal change, but recently remembered that about two weeks before my depressive episode really got going, I had my intrauterine device changed from the Mirena IUD to the Kyleena IUD. I went to see my nurse practitioner to discuss whether the IUD change may have been the cause of my depression.
I knew beforehand that birth control can cause depression, but I was switching from an IUD with 52mg of levonorgestrel to one with a much lower dose of 19.5mg. I thought the drop in dose would help more than it would hurt. I was wrong.
When I told my nurse practitioner about my situation and asked directly if my new IUD could have caused this period of depression, her answer was “Oh, it absolutely did.”
She then told me that when IUDs are first inserted they cause a spike in progesterone, which is what can lead to depression. This can cause moodiness and acne in anyone, let alone people with mood disorders. These symptoms usually last for about a month. In my case, it’s been five.
Because it’s been so long, and even though I’m especially prone to depression because of my bipolar disorder, she thought that it’s likely that there are other factors involved. Basically, the IUD change started the problem, but other things are keeping me down.
Depressive symptoms can appear for many reasons. In this case, she thought that it might be nutritional deficiencies. Low vitamin D, vitamin B complex, and iron levels can all cause depressive symptoms. Thyroid disease can also cause depression. So, she had my levels tested.
It turns out that my vitamin D is low and my iron levels are just below where she wants them to be. So I’m taking a vitamin D supplement and cooking everything in cast iron to raise my iron levels. I’m already feeling better.
The lesson here is if you get a new IUD or any sort of hormonal birth control, carefully monitor your symptoms and keep in contact with your doctor. Also make sure that you talk to your psychiatrist and PCP about monitoring nutrition levels. Depression can be managed, but it is a complicated and often frustrating process.
Image credit: Wikimedia Commons