The Mirena coil is a hormonal intrauterine device (IUD) that can prevent pregnancy. It may limit heavy bleeding during perimenopause, but it has no effect on when menopause begins.
Keep reading for more information about the effects of the Mirena coil on the body as it prepares for menopause.
The Mirena coil may delay the release of the eggs from the ovaries. However, it does not affect when menopause starts.
Perimenopause is the transitional phase into menopause. During this time, menstruation may become more irregular and involve more or less bleeding than usual.
Menopause begins when the last follicles in the ovaries have gone. Before menopause, these follicles produce estrogen and progesterone, hormones that help build the lining of the uterus each month. In the absence of this lining, menstruation stops.
Menopause and perimenopause can cause various noticeable changes.
According to The Centre for Menstrual Cycle and Ovulation Research, about 25% of people entering into perimenopause experience heavy periods. This is due to significant fluctuations in hormone levels.
The Mirena coil can help lighten periods in people who experience heavy bleeding. Some find that this type of coil stops their periods altogether. If this occurs, it may be harder to know when menopause has begun.
However, because the Mirena coil contains no estrogen, it does not affect the symptoms of a reduction in estrogen as the body goes through menopause.
Decreasing levels of estrogen can cause hot flashes, flushed skin, and trouble sleeping, among other issues. The Mirena coil will not have an impact on these and other changes related to a reduction in estrogen.
Meanwhile, the Mirena coil may cause additional symptoms during menopause because it contains progestogen, a version of the hormone progesterone.
This means that a person with a Mirena coil may experience symptoms such as:
- tender breasts
- pelvic pain
Anyone who has been using birth control to prevent pregnancy should continue to do so until they enter menopause.
While fertility typically starts to decline in a woman's mid-30s, it is possible for some women to get pregnant into their 50s.
According to the standard definition, menopause has begun if 12 months have passed without a period. However, because the Mirena coil can stop periods from occurring, it is important to use another method of determining when menopause has begun.
A doctor may do a blood test to check for follicle-stimulating hormone (FSH) and estrogen levels. During perimenopause, FSH levels typically rise as estrogen levels fall. The doctor may need to run the test more than once, since these levels can naturally fluctuate.
There is no set time to remove the Mirena coil, unless it expires.
Women's Health Concern recommend waiting for 1 year after the last period before stopping birth control.
Anyone who removes the Mirena coil before they enter menopause should switch to another form of birth control if they wish to prevent pregnancy.
Some people choose to wait until their coils expire, even after menopause has begun. A doctor can provide specific guidance.
Hormone replacement therapy (HRT) can help alleviate some symptoms of menopause. It is not a form of birth control.
HRT injections, pills, or patches may ease some menopause symptoms, such as:
- night sweats
- hot flashes
- lower bone density
- vaginal dryness
The Mirena coil requires very little maintenance. A doctor inserts it in the uterus in an outpatient procedure. Likewise, a doctor removes it when it expires. IUDs often expire after about 5 years.
In some cases, IUDs shift or fall out. Anyone who suspects that this has happened should see a doctor, who will replace the device.
Some people notice bleeding and cramping following the insertion of an IUD. Light bleeding could last for up to several months, while the body adjusts to the device.
Anyone who is unsure about whether they are entering menopause should see a doctor, who can test for changes in hormone levels.
Also, anyone who wishes to remove their Mirena coil — because menopause has begun, because the coil has expired, or because they wish to change methods of birth control — should see a doctor.
A doctor can also provide support and treatment for menopause symptoms.
The Mirena coil, a hormonal IUD, has no effect on when menopause begins.
This type of coil may help reduce heavy bleeding as the body prepares for menopause, but it will not reduce other symptoms of perimenopause or menopause.
Also, because the coil contains a version of the hormone progesterone, it may cause additional symptoms.
HRT may help manage some menopause symptoms. However, speak with a doctor about the associated health risks.
A doctor can also provide more information about when to remove a Mirena IUD.