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Levonorgestrel IUD

The levonorgestrel (LNg) intrauterine device (IUD) releases levonorgestrel, a form of progesterone, into the uterus. In addition to reducing cramping and heavy menstrual bleeding (dysfunctional uterine bleeding), this type of IUD is a highly effective method of birth control.

Unlike other IUDs, the levonorgestrel IUD may decrease the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). It must be replaced once a year to ensure that hormone release continues at a therapeutic level.

How effective is it?

Most women experience a significant decrease in uterine blood loss with the LNg IUD. Some studies report a 96% reduction in blood loss after 12 months.2 (Increased spotting during the first couple of months is common, followed by decreased bleeding thereafter.)

When compared to hysterectomy for treating dysfunctional uterine bleeding, women using the LNg IUD report similar satisfaction with general health, health-related quality of life, depression, and anxiety after 12 months.

What are common side effects?

Common progestin/levonorgestrel-related side effects include bloating, weight gain, and breast tenderness.

Possible changes in the menstrual cycle caused by the LNg IUD include:
  • Absence of menstrual periods (amenorrhea).
  • Irregular, though not usually heavy, menstrual bleeding.
  • A temporary increase in menstrual bleeding (including menstrual days and bleeding between periods). This side effect usually subsides after the first couple of months of use.

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