thewhitewarg asked: Hi. I'm trans but am not on hormones yet. I have my period twice a month, and it's often heavy. This is a huge trigger for my dysphoria. What, other than birth control or hormone replacement therapy, are my options for cessation of menses? I know that there is some kind of intrauterine device, but according to my gyno it often doesn't stop bleeding, and causes irregular spotting in some people.
First, I’d like to note that I am a cis woman, and will answer this to the best of my abilities!
As far as I know, there is no way to stop your periods unless you hormone replacement therapy or a hormonal birth control.
The IUD (intrauterine device) comes in two types. First is a hormonal IUD (example: Mirena) that releases a small amount of hormones into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. Some people who take Mirena experience lighter periods, fewer periods, shorter periods, or more irregular periods. Some people experience a full on stop with their periods. There’s no way for you to know what would happen unless you tried it. There is also the copper IUD (example: ParaGard) which does not affect periods at all, and instead works to kill sperm in the uterus, preventing pregnancy.
I don’t think an IUD would be right for you, since you are looking to stop (or at least have fewer) periods rather than prevent pregnancy.
Your only real option, if you want to avoid hormone replacement therapy, is to use a hormonal birth control.
- Birth Control Pills- You take them daily. You can “piggyback” packs (skip the placebo pill week and go straight to the first hormone week of the next pack) or you can specifically try the birth control Seasonique, which is designed in a package to have three months of hormones, one placebo “period” week of pills. I would suggest talking to your doctor before piggybacking the pills.
- Birth Control Implant- (Implanon) A small matchstick sized rod that is inserted into your arm, and releases hormones, lasting up to three years. This is sort of like hormonal IUDs… some people experience fewer, lighter periods, some lose it altogether (1 in 3, I believe?), some people experience spotting. You can’t really know.
- Birth Control Shot- (DepoProvera) A hormonal shot in the arm, administered once every three months. (From the Planned Parenthood website, though edited out the cis sexism) For most people, periods become fewer and lighter. After one year, half of the people who use the birth control shot will stop having periods completely. Though, some people do experience heavier periods, or no change at all.
- NuvaRing- A ring that releases hormones that you insert into the vagina. It is effective for pregnancy prevention but likely not for period cessation.
I think your best bet would be to look into the DepoProvera shot. It’s probably going to be the most effective, but anything you start will likely increase spotting first, before eventually decreasing the periods.
I strongly suggest you talk to your doctor about your options again, but go in armed with all the info you can have!