Medical Q&As

Mirena coil - heavy periods?

I have had heavy painful periods since age 12. Every specialist I have seen on the subject said when I had a baby everything would improve. My first child is now 5 months old and my condition if anything has got worse. My gynaecologist is encouraging the Mirena coil but I am hesitant as I have recurrent ovarian cysts and dislike the idea after reading the leaflet he gave me. It seems quite complicated and also I dislike having anything inside my body. I am currently on an oral contraceptive pill and a pill to lighten bleeding and subsequently I have pain free periods. But sometimes I bleed quite heavily for up to 2 weeks. What are my options?

The Mirena coil would be ideally suited to your predicament. It was originally developed as a contraceptive device but has since been licensed for treating heavy periods. It is a form of IUCD (intrauterine contraceptive device) but is much more effective and avoids many of the side effects that women experience with other IUCDs or coils. It is a small device that is made of plastic and it contains a small amount of a form of progesterone known as levonorgestrel. This hormone is present in many of the commonly prescribed combined contraceptive pills. The dose of leveonorgestrel is delivered directly to the lining of the womb and is approximately one seventh of the dose that is released from the contraceptive pill therefore the risk of progesterone related side effects is significantly reduced. Once the device is inserted in the womb you would not even be aware of its presence. However, I note that you are not keen on this device and your views must be respected. The alternative course of action would be to change from your current contraceptive pill to another family of contraceptive pills. There are pills referred to as triphasic pills and these may be a suitable alternative for you but there is no guarantee that this will solve your problem. It may be necessary for you to try a few different pills until you find the one that suits you best.