How The Pill And Coil Affect Mood And Weight At Menopause

Many women at menopause use the contraceptive Pill or Coil to help control heavy bleeding. The synthetic hormones these contain are not the same as the natural hormones and have very different effects.


Last week a major daily newspaper had a full page article about usage of the Pill, and much of it was of interest, but sadly also the same misinformation about the difference between bioidentical and synthetic hormones in both Pill and Coil.

They certainly confirmed what we already know, that oestrogen is linked to weight gain as it increases water retention, and increases appetite. However the same confusion is also present as they also claim that “progesterone in the combined Pill reduces their ability to lose weight.’ Many women at menopause do take the Pill to help with heavy bleeding, but they are not getting natural progesterone as the Pill contains synthetic progestins, not the natural hormone. It is bioidentical progesterone that helps women lose weight by dealing with that oestrogen dominance and water retention – not the synthetic progestins.

Mood swings and the Pill

If you were worried about increased mood swings at menopause then, like weight gain, this is due to the oestrogen in the combined pill and the synthetic progestins in the coil. This can make you more emotional because you are being given synthetic hormones at levels higher than the ones that occur naturally in the body.

If you are more prone to depression when you were put on either method, you are not alone as researchers have been studying the link for many years, with varying results. Such states are very individual and although some studies have found lower levels of depression, others have found the reverse.

In my opinion? It will depend on your sensitivity to the high levels of hormones and their composition. What we do know is that progesterone can help elevate mood and in the USA Jeffrey DAch, MD – an expert in bioidentical hormones – recommends a combined cream of oestrogen and progesterone for depression and states of anxiety as a natural solution, rather than the Pill as it is linked to several health concerns.

These include a slightly increased risk of breast, cervical and liver cancer, as well as strokes, heart attack and blood clots. As well as mood swings, bleeding in between periods and headaches are other commonly seen side effects.

Weight gain and the coil

An IUD such as the Mirena coil, is very commonly given to women to help with heavy bleeding but its side effects are extensive including fluid retention – a common cause of weight gain – and breast tenderness. Although not listed as a side effect, on consumer bulletin boards women raise the issue of weight gain when using a coil as a consequence they had not considered or been told about. These reports are anecdotal but nonetheless real for that and certainly fluid retention and weight gain are helped by rebalancing with progesterone.