How do I know if I have heavy periods?
Heavy periods, also known as heavy menstrual bleeding or HMB, are defined as excessive menstrual blood loss during a single cycle (> 80 mL or about 6 tablespoons). You may have HMB if you:
- have a menstrual flow that soaks through one or more pads or tampons every hour for several hours in a row
- need to double up on pads to control your menstrual flow
- need to change pads or tampons during the night
- have menstrual periods lasting more than 7 days
- have a menstrual flow with blood clots the size of a quarter or larger
If you have any of these symptoms, talk to your healthcare professional.
DID YOU KNOW?
Mirena is the first and only hormone-releasing IUD that is FDA-approved to treat heavy periods for up to 5 years, in women who choose an IUD for birth control.
How does Mirena work to help reduce HMB?
Typically, this is how your period works:
- every month, the lining of the uterus thickens during the first half of your menstrual cycle to prepare for ovulation
- if ovulation takes place and the egg is not fertilized, the thickened uterine lining is shed as menstrual flow
- on average, a woman's menstrual flow lasts 3 to 5 days. It may be shorter or longer, depending on the woman
However, if you have HMB, Mirena can cause your menstrual bleeding to be less by thinning the lining of the uterus. In a clinical trial performed in women with heavy menstrual bleeding and treated with Mirena, almost 9 out of 10 were treated successfully ― with their blood loss reduced by more than half after 6 months.
With Mirena, your heavy periods may change
In a clinical trial of Mirena in women with HMB, Mirena rapidly reduced heavy periods. The majority experienced:
Mirena may also affect heavy periods in other ways
In some women with heavy bleeding, the total blood loss per cycle progressively decreases with continued use. The number of spotting and bleeding days may initially increase but then typically decrease in the months that follow. Bleeding may also continue to be irregular.
You may have bleeding and spotting between menstrual periods, especially during the first 3 to 6 months. Sometimes the bleeding is heavier than usual at first. However, the bleeding usually becomes lighter than usual and may be irregular. Call your healthcare professional if the bleeding remains heavier than usual or increases after it has been light for a while.
About 2 out of 10 women stop having periods after 1 year of Mirena use. If you have any concerns that you may be pregnant while using Mirena, do a urine pregnancy test and call your healthcare professional. If you do not have a period for 6 weeks during Mirena use, call your healthcare professional. When Mirena is removed, your menstrual periods should return.
DID YOU KNOW?
Because Mirena is placed in the uterus, not the vagina, you can still use tampons or menstrual cups while using Mirena.
INDICATION FOR MIRENA
Mirena® (levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system) is a hormone-releasing IUD that prevents pregnancy for up to 7 years. Mirena also treats heavy periods for up to 5 years in women who choose intrauterine contraception.
IMPORTANT SAFETY INFORMATION
- If you have an untreated genital infection, get infections easily, or have certain cancers, don't use Mirena. Less than 1% of users get a serious pelvic infection called pelvic inflammatory disease (PID).
- If you have persistent pelvic or stomach pain, or excessive bleeding after placement, tell your healthcare professional (HCP). If Mirena comes out, call your HCP and avoid intercourse or use non-hormonal back-up birth control (such as condoms or spermicide). Mirena may go into or through the wall of the uterus and cause other problems.
Pregnancy while using Mirena is uncommon but can be life threatening and may result in loss of pregnancy or fertility.
- Ovarian cysts may occur but usually disappear.
- Bleeding and spotting may increase in the first 3 to 6 months and remain irregular. Periods over time usually become shorter, lighter, or may stop.
Mirena does not protect against HIV or STIs.
Only you and your HCP can decide if Mirena is right for you. Mirena is available by prescription only.