Can An IUD Help With Menopause Symptoms?

January 11, 2023.
Women in menopause struggle with a slew of symptoms that can reduce their quality of life. These symptoms are from hormonal changes that occur with declining ovarian function. Some women scrape by with only a few symptoms, whereas many women struggle throughout perimenopause. While there is no perfect treatment for your menopause symptoms except getting through menopause, women try supplements, CBD oil, hormone replacement therapy, hormonal birth control pills, and even IUDs. Let’s look at if an IUD can help with menopause symptoms.

What exactly is an IUD?

An IUD, or intrauterine device, is a T-shaped medical device that is placed in between the opening of your cervix and uterus. The purpose of an IUD is to prevent pregnancy.
There are two different kinds of IUDs: hormonal and non-hormonal.
Hormonal IUDs contain progestin that works to stop an egg from getting fertilized. Brands of hormonal IUDs include Skyla, Liletta, and Mirena. The length of time you can leave an IUD in depends on the brand. For example, Mirena IUDs can be left in for up to 5 years.
In hormonal IUDs, progestin releases into your system over time. Progestin prevents pregnancy by inhibiting ovulation, increasing cervical mucus to keep sperm from fertilizing an egg, and thinning the lining of your uterus.

Side effects of hormonal IUDs can include:

  • An irregular period and/or spotting for 3-6 months after insertion
  • A lighter period to even no period after 3-6 months
  • Breast soreness
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Acne
  • Weight gain
  • Irritability
As you can see, hormonal IUD symptoms are quite similar to perimenopause symptoms.
A non-Hormonal IUD, also known by its brand name ParaGuard, is wrapped in fine copper wire that can stay in your body for up to 10 years. Women often choose ParaGuard if they do not plan on having any more children and if they do not want the side effects that accompany hormonal IUDs. Side effects of a copper IUD include:
  • Heavier menstrual bleeding
  • Back cramping
  • Spotting in between your periods
  • Increased vaginal discharge
  • Painful intercourse
  • Iron deficiency or anemia from heavier menstrual periods

Can An IUD Help Menopause Symptoms?

Let’s discuss menopause for a moment: When does menopause start? The average age women hit menopause is 51. However, this is just an average. Most women reach menopause in their late 40s to mid-50s, although you can enter menopause as early as your 30’s (called premature ovarian insufficiency) and into your 60s. Women enter menopause naturally due to aging ovaries or through medically-induced menopause, such as with surgery, radiation, or medication.
Hormonal IUDs like Mirena IUD do not affect the onset of menopause. It may, however, help improve a few of your menopause symptoms, such as heavy bleeding. Women with a Mirena and menopause have reported that their menstrual periods are not as heavy as before their IUD was placed. This can be tremendously helpful for the 25% of women who suffer from heavy menstrual bleeding during perimenopause.
Because hormonal IUDs only contain progestin, women still suffer from many of the symptoms associated with low estrogen, including hot flashes and night sweats. Sometimes, IUDs are used for birth control during the perimenopause years in conjunction with other therapies to relieve menopause symptoms such as HRT.

How Do I Know If I Am In Menopause With An IUD?

Some women with hormonal IUDs stop having periods entirely. This can make it difficult to tell when you are in menopause.
According to the North American Menopause Society, women who are doing well with hormonal contraceptives and do not have certain risk factors can keep using these methods until they are likely in menopause. Most women can stop using hormonal contraception a few years after the average age of menopause. At that point, it is usually safe to remove the IUD (pending the lifespan of the IUD, which may need to be removed sooner) and to use a non-hormonal contraceptive option as you wait to see if your period returns.
Hormonal tests such as FSH and AMH can also be checked to help determine if you are in menopause.

How Can I Get An IUD?

IUDs are placed by a licensed medical provider who is trained to perform the insertion process. Meet with your doctor if you are interested in using an IUD for contraception or relieving heavy periods.
While IUDs will not take away your menopause symptoms, they will help lighten or stop your period altogether (although they do not induce menopause!)
Disclaimer: this is not medical advice, does not take the place of medical advice from your physician, and is not intended to treat or cure any disease. Patients should see a qualified medical provider for assessment and treatment. 

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Julia Walker
perry expert Julia (RN, BSN, BA) is a registered nurse based in Colorado. Julia's nursing background in women’s health has ranged from neonatal and postpartum care to labor and delivery, to outpatient gynecological medicine for both adolescent and adult populations. She specializes in helping women optimize their health during perimenopause and beyond.

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