Getting Mirena IUD removed: what should I expect?
February 4, 2016 9:43 PM   Subscribe

In the 4 years I've had the Mirena IUD, I've put on 40 pounds and I've gone from having no PMS symptoms to being practically unhinged a few days per month—like, more depressed than I've been in twenty years. Between the weight and the intermittent crazy, I've decided it's time to ditch the Mirena. I've been reading about the "Mirena crash" and scary nonstop bleeding. Anyone have advice on what to expect?

A few details:
(1) Already prone to depression, on max dose of my antidepressant already, and nothing else has ever worked. If it gets worse before it gets better, I'm going to be in rough shape.
(2) Used to bleed very heavily, but my periods are now virtually nonexistent on Mirena, to the point where I have to guess where my cycle is based on acne and mood swings.
(3) There may be no good point in the next 3 months for me to be emotionally or physically incapacitated, so I'm feeling apprehensive about a potential crash or hemorrhaging.
(4) We do not want to get pregnant, but we've got that part covered.
posted by tobiathan to Health & Fitness (16 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I had one that made my life a living hell for two years.. I was ashamed to ask for it to be taken out since 99% of people love theirs (ugh it doesn't work for EVERYONE SHUT UP).

Removal was painless (having it in was terrible and hurt for months). It felt like a strong tug and that was it. The relief I felt was instant and only on the up and up from there; no crash or bleeding. My period regulated itself back to normal with just a tiny percentage of the trouble I had from constant stabbing horrible pain from the thing and I felt like myself again within months.

Honestly if I had known I would have pulled it out myself a month after trying it. If it is giving you that much trouble you only stand to gain, especially if you have some trying months ahead.
posted by cakebatter at 10:00 PM on February 4, 2016 [4 favorites]

Also people posting about the "crash" are probably self selecting, I didn't experience anything like that, but I also had no idea such a thing existed so I was just mostly relieved. I would focus on alleviating what you are dealing with now, and not suffering more based on future worry. I just gave it a quick google and since the top hit is shilling a "miracle miners crash detox" program, I wouldn't put too much stock in it.
posted by cakebatter at 10:11 PM on February 4, 2016

No crash for me either, just got my "period" within a couple of weeks of removal (which was horrendous, but that's because they'd cut the strings too short at some point and had to dilate my cervix and fish it out with crocodile clamps). My period remained lighter and it took several months (probably closer to six) for me to start ovulating again. Emotionally and physically, I started feeling better pretty much as soon as it came out.
posted by lydhre at 10:20 PM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

I just had mine removed last weekend! The actual removal was intense pressure that made me gasp, but it was SO fast, and nothing like the uncomfortable/painful process of having it put in.

I can't fully speak to the long-term emotional side effects yet, but I haven't had any crazy mood swings or crashes. I had some of the worst depression of my life in the past couple of years, and while I'm not ready to ascribe all that to the Mirena, I am very curious to see what happens in the next couple of months. I suspect it was affecting my anxiety, and it was definitely making my premenstrual blues longer-lasting and more intense.

No major physical side-effects from removal. A little spotting the day of, and I've developed some new acne. I didn't think twice about getting it out, didn't read any horror stories, and so far am glad i had it removed. It's hard to say what to expect when everyone's body is different, but I'd bet on brief discomfort, a couple weeks or months to get back on a regular cycle, and not much else.
posted by adastra at 11:28 PM on February 4, 2016 [1 favorite]

I didn't have an IUD, but I was on the pill for about 8 years. Then I stopped for 2 months, then I was on Nexplanon (arm implant similar to an IUD) for a month before I had it removed, and for the past few months I haven't been on anything.

So, while I only have about 5 months of mixed birth control weirdness, I have gone off birth control twice in that time. I have some health issues which meant that pills and the implant though they didn't really cause hormone problems. (Migraines, nausea, etc.)

For the first three weeks (both times) after stopping my hormones I had a lot of abdominal cramping. I'm prone to stomach problems but it was like a lot of vague cramping and bloating and some stomach issues until my body adjusted. I had a couple times of intense nipple pain. Surprisingly though, my periods have been right on time and less intense than I thought they would be. Though I do tend to get some ovulation time cramping. When I was a teen before I was on the pill they were really heavy and I had awful cramps. I now only have about a day of "kill me now" cramps and ickiness with some stomach issues a few days before (again, chronic illness so that complicates things) but things are MUCH better than they were prior and even on birth control. My period you could set a clock by and was either 30 or 28 days at first and the past 4 have been 29 days on the dot (unlike my teen years before birth control).

The first few cycles actually caught me off guard and caused a sacrifice to the period panty gods because I hardly had PMS symptoms. So track your period and expect it to be "on time" and maybe wear liners so it doesn't surprise you. I use a period tracking app.

Otherwise, I didn't have any huge issues. I've only been totally off hormones for like the past three cycles but things seemed to even out really quickly and I'm surprised. Hopefully they continue to get a little better with time. I also don't have to worry about birth control (vasectomy) so that was an aspect that helped.

(An aside: Nexplanon is something I would totally recommend to people by the way. The implant and removal was amazingly quick and I just have a small scar on my arm. Also my doctor said IUDs can increase cramping for those who are prone to it and I cramp during a pap, so... yeah that wasn't going in me.)
posted by Crystalinne at 12:56 AM on February 5, 2016

Oh and I missed the edit window but I didn't really have mood issues - though I'm prone to anxiety and depressive type stuff. I just felt kinda icky and crampy while I was adjusting and now I have a few days of PMS where I get really irritable and cry at anything slightly happy or sad whereas that didn't happen when I was on the pill but is within normal. Oh and I get way less boob pain prior to my period than I did before.
posted by Crystalinne at 1:02 AM on February 5, 2016

I had Mirena for 4 years. I recently had it removed. It was no big deal, I did not feel anything even through the doctor had to reach inside my cervix to grab ahold of the strings because they were so short. Really, it was nothing.

Afterward, I did not notice anything whatsoever. No mood issues, no bleeding changes--nothing. I did start Lo Loestrin birth control pills, which are pretty much the lowest dose of hormone you can get, for birth control after Mirena was removed.

You might also find this helpful:

I did develop a fibroid during my tenure with Mirena, and no one is sure if they were related. The fibroid made my cycles very painful, and I seemed to bleed for 10+ days every month. The pain and bleeding were intolerable. Pain medication was not very effective.

When I went to a new gynecologist, my goal was firstly birth control and secondly to affect my period. I ended up having uterine ablation at the same time as the fibroid was removed and my fallopian tubes were removed for permanent sterility. Uterine ablation destroys the uterine lining and in many women makes it impossible to have a period.

I'm 70 days out from my procedures and everything is going very well. I'm relatively young for ablation, at 37, but it has done wonders for me.

I wish you good luck with this. I hope you find something that works for you.
posted by FergieBelle at 5:51 AM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Had my Mirena removed because it was making me sad. No crash or crazy bleeding here either. Took 4-6 months for my cycle to return fully and it ended up the same as it had been pre-Mirena. Within days I felt better and haven't had an inexplicable sad since . Having no periods was nice but not nice enough to put up with the side effects. I think it caused some weight gain for me too - that unfortunately didn't just go away.
posted by Ness at 5:52 AM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

I did not have issues with having Mirena removed. I went to my ob-gyn for my annual and also to talk about having it removed and he said, "Do you want to do it right now? We just tie a string to the door knob and slam the door." Very helpful. I went back a few weeks later to have it removed and the process was slightly different but besides a little discomfort after the fact, it was fine. I also didn't have issues while on it. I think I got my period back maybe two weeks later and I got pregnant about six weeks later.

Good luck! I would just plan to stay on top of your depression symptoms a little more aggressively post-removal. I notice that if I'm not feeling well, I work out less and then it kind of spirals so I try to stop myself when I start feeling down and haven't been working out and go work out at least a little. If you have a thing like that, whether it's working out or eating right or socializing, just be sure to keep taking care of yourself. Good advice in general but especially when you have a reason to feel a little more concerned than usual.
posted by kat518 at 6:48 AM on February 5, 2016

I had my first Mirena for 5 years. Like you, my periods had stopped completely after some time. I never noticed any problems while on it and the removal was very easy. I had some light spotting the first few days, but there was no pain or crash.

I stayed off it for a while, had a baby, and afterwards decided to have another Mirena inserted. But after a year, we decided to start trying again. I went to my primary care doctor to get it removed (I was on an HMO at that point). She tugged a few times, but couldn't get it out, so I was referred to an ob-gyn. They couldn't see me for a month and I was in full panic mode reading horror stories online. When I went to the ob-gyn, he just pulled it out like nothing. He said I was probably just nervous the first time. Again, there was no pain or excessive bleeding and I felt fine afterwards.

So I guess my advice is to just to try and relax and see an actual ob-gyn.
posted by galvanized unicorn at 6:58 AM on February 5, 2016

I tried the Mirena after being unhappy on Paragard for a few years (the excessive bleeding was making me anemic). The Mirena was awful, it made me badly depressed, and I eventually pulled it out myself with zero difficulty. I have nothing to report post-Mirena, it was completely smooth sailing for me.
posted by Dragonness at 7:18 AM on February 5, 2016

This has made me wonder if this weight gain I have is caused by my *second* mirena. I didn't experience it with the first one, but thinking about this I can pretty much pinpoint this weight gain to when I got the 2nd one! Weird! I got it to alleviate stupid heavy periods (that we caused by a fibriod removed before the first mirena was inserted) but I'm now considering having it removed and seeing what happens.
posted by CoffeeHikeNapWine at 8:25 AM on February 5, 2016

No bad result from having mine out either. I went back to a copper IUD after a couple of years of the Mirena because I felt like the hormones were messing with me. I bled for a day or two and then it took my period about 8 weeks to come back and it's still not fully settled three months after that, but emotionally I have been fine.
posted by corvine at 8:48 AM on February 5, 2016

Nothing happened to me except that I got happier and after a month-ish I got my period back, lighter than it used to be.

(I was depressed on the Mirena too.)
posted by internet fraud detective squad, station number 9 at 8:51 AM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you all for your answers, I'm feeling reassured that this is probably going to go OK. I'm going to make an appointment Monday. It's funny how one little piece of plastic with a "low" localized dose of hormones can make such a big difference, but it's clear that for a lot of us, Mirena has been bad news. I suppose the horrible cramps for literally months after insertion should've given me a clue that it wasn't going well...

(@FergieBelle, did uterine ablation hurt? Do they put you out? The Mirena insertion was excruciating for me; the idea of something else going through my cervix makes me wince hard. But I might need to consider it if the crazy-heavy periods return.)
posted by tobiathan at 5:02 PM on February 5, 2016 [1 favorite]

I know this is an old post but I am struggling to find a post that shows what happens once mirena is removed when you suffer severe depression.
I've only had it removed 3 or 4 days ago after having another episode of suicidal thoughts and wanting to give up on life completely. I thought one more period like that and I will be seriously be in trouble.
A little history about me: I have suffered anxiety attacks for years and was given antidepressants and it worked great for years until a doctor told me i couldnt be on them whilst pregnant (i regret listening to that doctor). After the miscarriage a week later it took me about 6 months to get over the withdrawals and feel normal again and i fell pregnant again exactly a year after the first pregnancy. The anxiety came back and so i was put on antidepressants because they worked so well the first time. Within 2 days i was in the mental health clinic for insomnia, constant vomiting and syicudal thoughts. I stayed there for 2 weeks heavily medicated the whole time. I got through it and had the most beautiful son, but then i suffered PND. And i got over that as well. And then a month later I was told that the best option for me was mirena as a contraceptive.
I bled for 2 months, doctor said that was normal. I started having more and more anxiety attacks, doctor said to keep working on my therapy. I was signed up to many programs, i had a child nurse, a child development nurse and a mental health nurse who visited all the time. And with all this help i would still crash all the time. Each time a little worse and out of no where, no warning, no logic to it - i just wanted out and it didnt matter how. I am terrified of being alone, im terrified of not having anything to do, im terrified of myself. I kept bringing up the mirena and they said it wouldnt be that. To me it seemed logical. Drugs and therapy worked fine when i wasnt pregnant, didnt when those hormones were raging. Mirena was releasing hormones and im having a bad reaction to it?
But instead i got sent to more doctors and they are just experimenting with my medications, taking guesses on what will fix me.
I nearly checked myself back into the mental health unit this last period (which is pretty much when i want to end it all every month) but chose to walk into a gp office and all i said was take it out, take it out now, i want it out. And the doctor obliged.
I have been crying since, terrified all the time, exhausted, overcome with such despair i want to be sedated until i dont feel this way ever again. Ive started to think that my husband would be ok without me if it came to that. (He works away so its hard for him to be here for me all the time)
So here i am waiting for it to be over, the removal being the magic cure. But i need it to be over soon because i dont feel strong enough. I am hoping there is some good news to come.
posted by Sicale at 10:53 PM on August 29, 2016

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