Changes in Hair Growth


Anything with buttons just wants to break.

—My sister Tammy


I don’t know whether you’ve heard of resistentialism, but I was quite taken with the philosophy as a teenager. Put briefly, resistentialism explains that things are against us; to quote Paul Hellwig, it provides an explanation for “seemingly spiteful behavior manifested by inanimate objects.” I read a resistentialist play back in the day: a man tries to write and the pen is dry; he sets it down and it rolls off the desk; he sits, and the chair collapses beneath him. It’s an enormously satisfying way of interpreting the small, horrible events that seem to gum up lousy days, and I retain a fondness for the idea, if not the lived experience.

At the end of December, I had an IUD inserted. I was thrilled. Mr. Book and I talk about maybe, possibly one more baby—but not until Kit is five, and we’re neither of us really decided for or against him. So a Mirena seemed like the perfect solution: low hormone level, so it won’t interfere with breastfeeding; totally hassle free. Okay, sure, I started bleeding and cramping after a few days, and that hasn’t let up yet, but I can live with up to six months of that. And then I started losing my hair. At first, I wasn’t sure what the cause was—my father has an auto-immune disorder that has led to patchy baldness, and he and I were both concerned that it might have revealed itself to be heritable—but finally I looked up the Mirena side effects. I read the packet I was given at insertion, but what the official brochure lists as “changes in hair growth” didn’t register with me the same way that the WebMD “hair loss” did. So I called Planned Parenthood, I am having the device removed on Monday, and I will go on the mini pill. The mini pill is less reliable, but since we’re not ready for the extraordinary security of a vasectomy, it seems to be our best option for now. In the mean time, I have a bald spot the size of a quarter, and have taken to wearing unflattering hats even while I sleep.

9 thoughts on “Changes in Hair Growth

  1. I tried Mirena. I bled and cramped every other day for nine straight months until I had it yanked. The doctor kept telling me it would stop soon. She then said it would stop when I finished breast feeding. Well I wasn’t planning to stop for awhile and I couldn’t keep living with the pain and mess so I had no choice but to remove it. I didn’t realize until after it was gone that I had been suffering from another side effect… I went crazy. Truly. I lost good friends during that time, I was a raving lunatic and I didn’t realize it until about a month after I had it removed. Some good friends tried to call me to see if I needed help because I was not acting like myself at all. I dismissed them as the crazy ones. I was wrong. Thanks Mirena! Google “Mirena side effects”. It is eye opening. I will never do that again.
    My advice, have it removed as soon as you can. Run don’t walk. And take a bunch of ibuprofen before you go. It hurts like a mofo to have it removed.

    • Thanks: and yeah, I remember how much it hurt to have it inserted, and will definitely take something before I go. Less than twenty-four hours to go!

  2. Agh, that sounds terrible! Not where I was expecting the story to go at all–I thought you were going to announce that you were pregnant! Phew. (Although I have to admit that I was a little excited.)

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