Nexplanon : two weeks post removal; what the hell is normal?

Hi ladies! :) 

You are all still clicking away on these updates, so I will continue to log my 'journey' with nexplanon and the dramatics that the endocrine system just loves to create. 

So yes, hormones. The attribute of the female body we all loathe in some way, shape or form... I am very much in the loathing camp at the moment. As we all know, at different times during a typical 28 day cycle we get peaks and dips in different hormones and these produce physical manifestations in a huge range of ways depending on how sensitive you are. Homicidal PMS anyone? 

In a very brief nutshell, this is what happens: 


The whole point of nexplanon is that it prevents the release of an egg so, obviously, there's nothing there to be fertilised. Nexplanon also increases the thickness of your uterine lining so those little swimmers won't get terribly far into the reproductive tract. Looking at the description above, we can see that nexplanon seems to interact at days 14 to 28 more than any other, generating the classic PMS symptoms or as I guess we could now call them, side effects. 

Women can be stuck in a state of perpetual PMS due to the chronic imbalance of oestrogen and progesterone. "The release rate of etonogestrel is approximately 60–70 µg/day in the first 5–6 weeks, decreasing to 35–45 µg/day by the end of the first year of use, to 30–40 µg/day by the end of the second year and to 25–30 µg/day by the end of the third year." This unit: µg, is a microgram, and is 1000 times smaller than a milligram (mg) which we are more used to seeing on prescription medications. There is no 'system reset' where all hormonal levels return to a natural null level anymore. Of course, this really does vary hugely across all users as there is no set, single value of 'normal' hormonal levels for women.

This is illustrated very well by the bleeding patterns experienced by all users. I think I speak for all of us when I say that we prayed for no bleeding at all. Ever. The first time around I was cursed with the non-stop variety, so maybe my body felt guilty and decided the second time around I could be free of that crap. If only things worked like that!

"1 in 5 experience no bleeding. 
1 in 5 experience prolonged bleeding. 
1 in 20 experience infrequent bleeding.
1 in 35 experience frequent bleeding."

Not terribly helpful when you're trying to make a decision about whether or not to choose nexplanon, but it does highlight the range of hormonal levels within each of us. There is no telling what the 'critical level' of progesterone and oestrogen is before they trigger the next stage in the cycle. It is perfectly plausible that your poor body is being given mixed messages by the etonogestrel aka extra bossy, and super fake progesterone. Your oestrogen is left to do it's thing and adapt as much as it can to this sudden influx in hormonal signals.

The good news is that within a week of having the implant removed, etonogestrel can no longer be detected. This also means that within 3 weeks, you should have resumed ovulating and therefore could become pregnant within that month. It does happen. This does somewhat rest on your pre-existing fertility prior to nexplanon invading your body, as well as your age. The ability to conceive does begin to drop off past the age of 30.

I don't know about you all, but I was pretty oblivious to what my body did when ovulation was due. Amongst all my reading this past month or so I have been relying a lot on forums from women who are trying to conceive, because they are by nature a lot more aware of every single thing their body does. They are subtle little hints which to be frank can mean about 10 different things depending on what you're looking for, but it's worth knowing, so you know what your normal is and that everything is still ticking over as it should.

By a complete fluke I happened to have my old tracker app still on my phone. It serves as an advanced warning system and was a good guide for seeing if my profusely irregular periods had any sort of pattern to them at all. For January I was due to have a period on 7th, but obviously because of the nexplanon implant it didn't come. I have had no bleeding yet either which I find a bit odd now to be honest, but I'm not worried just yet.

My ovulation was due between 17th and 22nd. I think I ovulated this time but what could be signs of ovulation could also be my body trying to sort itself out and producing what basically translates into annoying nonsense. If you really wanted a clear picture of your ovulation, you could buy an ovulation predictor kit and chart your results for a few months. I've entertained this idea but to be honest I can't be bothered and can't really afford those kits right now. If I'm right, then in 9 days time I should see a period.

 As many doctors and nurses have said to me; as long as you're not showing signs of an infection, in unmanageable pain (aka beyond paracetamol and/or co-codamol) or bleeding heavily for more than 7 days then you're probably more than alright.

Here's what my body has been doing lately: headaches, really thirsty, peeing more than usual, pee is too concentrated for the level of fluids I'm drinking, my boobs hurt like hell, weird taste in my mouth, not hungry/feeling sick or only wanting fruit and toast, bloating, gas, cramps, increased sense of smell, sore muscles, back ache!

Needless to say, I feel crap but I'm also happy I am not eating everything in sight. I will brave the scales on 1st February... Maybe.

Healing nicely. Scar is darker because I'm cold at the moment! You can also see the first nexplanon scar to the right.
Happy Sunday! :)

Samantha Nicholls. Powered by Blogger.

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