Removing the Mirena Coil

Why Mirena Works

There's great truth to the concept that what works for one person may not work for another. With all of the different methods of birth control available today, a woman has a broad spectrum to choose from - and should look for the best method for her personal lifestyle and body's response. Some women prefer the pill while others eschew it completely. Some women swear by IUDs, and many of those women are users of the Mirena IUS (intrauterine system), which uses a coil that is equipped with a progestogen to help prevent pregnancy.

According to, the Mirena coil works to prevent pregnancy by causing the cervical mucus to thicken, giving the sperm a much harder trek to fertilize the egg. It also causes changes in the uterine lining that make it hard for a fertilized egg to implant and grow. After a period of five years, the manufacturers recommend the Mirena be removed from the uterus by a health care professional. There can be some unpleasant side effects to the removal process, even though the company advises that removal is usually quite painless.

Removing the Mirena Coil - Painless?

The Mirena coil has a couple of threads attached to it that remain in the vagina, outside the cervix, once the IUD is inserted. When the time comes to remove the Mirena, the doctor will grasp the threads with forceps and pull the device from the uterus. The Mirena is T-shaped when it is in place; however, when the strings are pulled, the arms fold down and it is pulled from position. This action can cause pain and discomfort, often leaving residual cramping once it is dislocated from the uterus. It is suggested that removing the coil during menstruation, when the cervix is somewhat softened, makes the removal easier and less painful. If severe or sharp pains or persistent cramping occurs it should be reported to a health care professional. This could signal a pregnancy or some other serious complication.

The Risks to a Pregnancy with Mirena

Since no method of birth control outside of abstinence is 100% effective, some women who use the Mirena IUD will become pregnant. Should this happen, a possible end may be a septic abortion (infection in the uterus while pregnant), which is a leading cause of maternal death worldwide. If pregnancy does occur, the coil should be removed, which may cause a miscarriage. On the other hand, not removing the coil may cause a miscarriage as well. It also increases the risk of infection, premature labor and premature delivery. If the Mirena remains in the uterus as a pregnancy progresses, the long term effects on the unborn baby are unknown. Since the Mirena releases synthetic hormones into the uterus, there is a definite possibility of birth defects and health problems for a baby.

A Lot of Blood or None at All

Another side effect of removing the Mirena coil is bleeding. It is considered normal to have some spotting and slight loss of tissue when the coil is removed. Some women experience much heavier periods following the removal of the IUD and other have spotting for several months afterward between periods until the body adjusts to the hormonal changes that have taken place. On the flip side of this coin is the lack of menses that can sometimes occur as a result of having had the Mirena in place and then removing it. Some women stop having a period after several months of having the Mirena IUD in place. Once it is removed, then it can take one or more months for menstruation to begin again. This could also be an indication that the woman is pregnant. Lack of menses should be discussed with a physician to determine the cause.

Other Side Effects

Neurovascular episodes may occur when a Mirena is removed. What these episodes look like, specifically, may be a slowed heart rate (bradycardia), where the heart beats less than 60 times in one minute. Another form of neurovascular interference that may be experienced is syncope, or fainting. Generally, these incidents are mild and usually occur while the woman is still in the clinic. Appropriate measures are taken by medical staff if it occurs.

If a woman does not want to keep using the Mirena and does not want to become pregnant, the Mirena should be removed in the first few days of starting menses. If it is removed at any other time during the menstrual cycle, then proper contraception should be used beginning a week before the removal of the IUD. The reason for using contraception before the removal of Mirena is because it is possible for sperm to live inside a woman's body for as long as five days.

Learn more about the various types of birth control on this page.

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