A common yet effective method of contraception is the Mirena coil. Thanks to its effectiveness, convenience, durability and role in alleviating heavy periods and other diseases, this method of contraception is everyone’s favourite.
In this guide, we will cover everything you need to know about the removal of the Mirena coil, what to expect, and the possible side effects after your Mirena coil removal.
When to replace or remove the Mirena coil
The most common reasons for replacement or removal are:
- The coil is due to be replaced
- You want to switch to another means of contraception
- You cannot tolerate the side effects of the coil
- You are experiencing pain
- You want to become pregnant
In some cases, doctors suggest removing the coil for certain women.
What to expect when having the coil removed
It is a quick procedure that takes no time to finish. A trained healthcare professional can do it.
First, you will be asked to get undressed from the waist down. The nurse will examine your genital area using a speculum. There is no need to worry as it is simpler than having the coil fitted.
Then the doctor will gently pull on the coil (which is easily visible in the vagina at the neck of the womb). Then, the T-shaped coil folds up, making it easier to pull out of the womb.
If you do not want to get pregnant, you will need to make sure you do not have sex or use condoms for seven days before you have the coil removed. If you are thinking to switch to another contraception method, your healthcare provider may advise you to start this before removing the coil.
Side effects of the Mirena coil removal
After the removal, you may experience mild abdominal pain, cramps or bleeding. This should resolve in a couple of days. Some report feeling exhausted or having mild headaches after the removal.
If your symptoms persist for some time or you feel that you are unwell, do not hesitate to consult your GP as soon as possible.
Depending on the reason for having the coil removed and if you switch to another contraceptive method, you will experience a relapse of your normal menstrual cycle.
Is the Mirena coil running out?
First, you need to understand how the coil works.
Once the coil is inserted, it releases levonorgestrel, a hormone, which is much like progesterone (a naturally occurring hormone in the female body). The hormone works to prevent pregnancy by diminishing the lining of the womb. Thus, it is less likely to accept a fertilized egg.
It also helps thicken the mucus in the cervix, making it difficult for sperm to get through it and reach the egg. In some cases, it keeps the ovaries from releasing an egg but most women continue to release the egg.
How long does the coil last?
The Mirena coil lasts up to 5 years. Women often think that the Mirena coil could stop working before five years or that its effects may be diminishing.
The Faculty of Sexual & Reproductive Health, the Mirena coil releases about 20μg of levonorgestrel every day, reducing to 10μg every day after 5 years.
Those who were over 45 at the time of the Mirena coil installation, can rely on it for contraception without replacing it until they reach 55.
Those who are using the coil as part of the hormone replacement therapy to manage menopausal symptoms should change the coil after 5 years.
If you are unsure about its replacement or would like to know more about its removal, make sure you speak to a known doctor for expert advice on contraception.
What if the coil has moved out of its place?
According to some studies, the coil may not be effective if it has moved 2 centimetres or more away from the top of the uterus. Signs that the coil may have moved are:
- You cannot feel the coil strings
- You feel the plastic part of the coil
- The strings feel way longer or shorter than usual
- Your partner can feel the coil during intercourse
- You may have pain in the pelvic region or lower abdomen
- The bleeding pattern has changed abruptly
- Your vaginal discharge may have changed in smell or odour, which could be a sign of an infection (make sure you visit your GP as soon as possible)
If you cannot feel the coil strings, or experience any of the symptoms mentioned above, please consult your GP or visit a local sexual health clinic to get a thorough examination.
What is the Mirena crash?
The terms ‘Mirena crash’ refer to the symptoms reported by some women after having the Mirena coil removed. They include:
- Mood swings
- Reduced libido
- Tender breasts
Mirena crash symptoms may appear recurrently before periods in some women. This can last for months. Some women experience symptoms for a lot of time. Those who have been experiencing sore breasts can use starflower oil to ease inflammation.
When will your periods and fertility come back after the removal?
One of the major benefits of the Mirena coil is that it works to thin the lining of the webs that makes periods disappear completely or lighter (good for those with heavy periods). After its removal, it may take a certain amount of time for the lining to build back up in shape.
After the removal of the coil, a majority of females find their usual menstrual cycle comes back within a couple of months. If your periods do not come back after six months of the coil’s removal, experts recommend seeking medical intervention to examine the underlying cause.
Have you had your Mirena coil removed but there are no signs of a period?
An important point to remember is that you can become pregnant without having a period. This is because the ovaries are still able to release an egg. A review of return to fertility after contraception suggested that the 1-year pregnancy rates for females were the same in case they have stopped using coils, implants or pills, or even condoms.
It has been also found that the pregnancy rates 1 year after the removal were between 79 and 96%. This is the same as stopping using condoms. If you are seeking to try a new contraception method other than the Mirena coil, make sure you discuss your options with your private GP or a private gynaecology clinic in London.