I’m in my late 40s and have the coil – how do I know if I’m going through the menopause?
27th June 2019
For most women, cessation of periods is the marker we use to define the menopause – 12 months after the last period to be exact. However, if you’ve got the Mirena coil and it has stopped your periods (hurrah!!) then it can be difficult to know what’s naturally going on.
There are, however, other symptoms you may be experiencing that can give us a hint. You may notice symptoms such as hot flushes, night sweats, mood changes, joint pains, and memory and concentration issues. If you have developed some of these symptoms it is likely you are in the perimenopause.
For most women, diagnosing the perimenopause is based on a collection of these symptoms and does not require any formal tests. This applies whether you have the coil or not, and you should be offered support and treatment of these symptoms if needed. This includes HRT (and – BONUS!! – the Mirena can be used to provide the progestogen part of HRT).
But I guess the question still remains about whether you are ‘postmenopausal’. This is one of the situations where blood tests can actually be useful. Testing your FSH level will indicate if you are perimenopausal. If the level is raised on 2 occasions 4-6 weeks apart, this is usually considered postmenopausal. This can be useful if you are relying on the coil for contraception, to decide how long you need to continue for, or if you are using it for bleeding control and want to know when it can be removed.
I’ve heard some women being told that the only way to know is to remove the coil and ‘see what happens’! I definitely do not recommend this!! If you require contraception, removal potentially puts you at risk of pregnancy. If you are using it to control bleeding your periods could come back, and they may be heavy!