Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Mirena Removal Update

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A while ago, I wrote about my struggles with the Mirena IUD. It's still one of the most popular posts on this blog, and for good reason -- birth control is a big deal, and can pretty much make or break your life. Even if there are no slip-ups that result in an unplanned pregnancy, your hormones govern much of your life, and even a slight shift can make living in your own body an absolute hell.

I got my Mirena removed two years before its expiry date because of unexplained weight gain, excessive hair-fall, inexplicable tiredness (and even more inexplicable sleeping problems), a persistent, tingly numbness (aka "pins and needles"). It's been a year since removal, and I've noticed some changes. If you are thinking about removing your Mirena, this is the post for you -- I had no idea what crazy stuff my body would pull on me afterwards. But let's start with the good things.

Pros: Everything is better

Firstly, weight loss. There was no dramatic change in my weight immediately after removal, but I did notice a very slow and subtle reduction of the fat that had bothered me so much beforehand. I also noticed that my energy picked up dramatically -- I no longer go through period of utterly crushing tiredness and the accompanying feelings of despair that used to make me feel even more exhausted. Because of this, I also feel more capable when I do my workouts.

My hair pretty much immediately stopped falling out the way it used to in the past. Hairdressers tell me how healthy it is. A cousin of mine was giving me a French plait and mentioned that my ponytail felt like a thick rope. Basically, my hair is flourishing and happy again. I still have to clear out occasional clumps from the shower drain, but there are no longer home-grown tumbleweeds blowing around the house.

The super-weird pins and needles feeling that used to plague me after thirty seconds of regular sitting doesn't happen any more. Why would pins and needles be a problem, you ask? Because it happened constantly, whether or not I crossed my legs or was in an odd position. It was so painful that I wouldn't be able to move, and sometimes it genuinely felt worrying -- you start wondering about your circulation when your extremities feel perpetually in danger of falling off entirely. I don't know what about the Mirena caused it (and the doctors I spoke to dismissed the correlation), but my life is honestly so much better without the near-constant tingly pain.

Cons: Weaning off the Mirena

Obviously, my life has improved without the constant hormonal influx from the IUD. It did take a while to get there though. Cutting my body off from the sweet, sweet progesterone it had become so accustomed to had some very gory consequences. Content warning: if you are freaked out by blood 'n stuff, you might wish to stop reading now.

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an accurate representation
My first post-Mirena period lasted eight days and happened pretty shortly after removal, but it was no regular eight days. It was the gender-bent equivalent of 300. I couldn't always handle the regularity of the Mooncup changes -- with perhaps two hours between emptying, my sleep was interrupted and I stopped changing my sheets when I couldn't keep up with the laundry loads. Ditto pants. Sometimes, you just have to cut your losses and make peace with the fact that you'll be sitting in dried blood for a few days. I started popping a spare pair of undies along with a Ziplock baggie into my handbag when I was out for the day -- not that it mattered; the new ones would be soaked within hours anyway. My body was freaking out and using hormonal time-travel to shed uterine lining I hadn't even generated yet, and it was horrifying. When you see fleshy chunks about half the size of a golfball fall from your body, you start feeling like you've inadvertently assumed the lead in the new Alien film.

After that carnage, I didn't have another period for 43 days. My regular cycle lasts 26-28 days in total (thanks Clue!), so this was abnormal to say the least. Other than the excessive gore, it was a fairly symptom-free period -- no really awful cramps; just endless iron tablets and never enough dry pants.

Right now, I have a 'normal' period of about five days, with a manageable flow. Although my Mirena-period was very convenient in that it was present enough to dissuade thoughts of pregnancy but limited to spotting, the Tarantino-esque onslaught of carnage that followed removal really made me appreciate a 'regular' period flow again.

If you had any problems with hormonal birth control, tell me about it! Otherwise, I'd love to know if the Mirena is working for you.


  1. how long does it take for weight loss after marina. it has been 2 weeks since i had mine removed after 2 years weight loss yet..but few days after i had bad body aches & hot flushes and some slight bleeding.

    1. Hey Sharon!

      Personally, I didn't find it to be a sort of magical weight-loss experience -- it was more that my body was actually capable of losing weight. When I was on the Mirena, my only weight fluctuation was upwards, despite copious exercise and an incredibly strict diet.

      Now, two years after removal, I still need to actually "try" to lose weight, but the fact is that I can -- it's not impossible any more.