If you suffer from heavy menstrual bleeding, it can be inconvenient, painful, and lead to medical problems like anemia. The wonderful news is, that in addition to being a convenient and highly effective form of birth control, an IUD can also provide relief from heavy periods.
Along with preventing pregnancy, progesterone-releasing IUDs have the added benefit of significantly reducing heavy menstrual bleeding and treating some bleeding disorders.
Understand from OB/GYNs Anita Gondy, MD, Saovaros V. Michaels, MD, and Ankita Raman, MD, of Women's Health Associates of Southern Nevada, Northwest in Las Vegas, Nevada, how IUDs can treat your heavy menstrual bleeding.
What is an IUD?
An IUD is a type of contraceptive that is tiny, flexible, and T-shaped. Once inserted into your uterus, depending on the type of IUD you receive, it prevents pregnancy for 3-12 years.
IUDs can prevent pregnancy hormonally, using the hormone progesterone, or non-hormonally, using copper. Progesterone IUDs, in addition to acting as a contraceptive, offer the benefit of reducing menstrual bleeding.
How does an IUD treat heavy menstrual bleeding?
Hormonal IUDs work to reduce heavy menstrual bleeding with levonorgestrel, a form of progesterone. If you aren’t taking hormonal contraceptives, you can normally expect to get a monthly menstrual period that occurs when your uterine lining, or endometrium, sheds.
IUDs with levonorgestrel thin your endometrium, which means you have less to shed and can expect shorter, lighter menstrual periods. You might even stop menstruating altogether.
This means you’ll experience significantly fewer period cramps, reduced PMS symptoms, and a lower risk of complications from blood loss, like anemia. A hormonal IUD also offers symptom relief for many common bleeding disorders, including PCOS and endometriosis.
Getting an IUD
Hormonal IUDs are suitable for most women who aren’t pregnant or trying to conceive. Before you get an IUD, a member of our clinical team consults with you to determine if an IUD is the best choice for treating your heavy menstrual bleeding and meeting your other health and lifestyle needs.
The process of inserting an IUD is a simple in-office procedure you can have done right at WHASN-NW. Before your procedure, you have the option of taking numbing medication so you’ll be comfortable during the insertion process.
The insertion process begins with your provider inserting a speculum into your vagina, similar to what happens during a pelvic exam. After the speculum is in place, they insert the IUD into your uterus with an inserter. This typically only takes about five minutes.
Once the insertion process is complete, you might experience some mild cramping or pain and should plan to take it easy for the rest of the day. You can expect to get the full benefits of lighter menstrual periods within 3-6 months after insertion, sometimes sooner.
Heavy menstrual bleeding is at best disruptive and at worst dangerous to your health, but with an IUD you can enjoy lighter, more comfortable menstrual periods, with the added benefit of effective birth control for up to several years.
If you suffer from heavy menstrual periods or a bleeding disorder, make an appointment with our team to discuss your options. Call our office or book online today.