Levonorgestrel (LNg) IUD

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Levonorgestrel (LNg) IUD

Topic Overview

The levonorgestrel (LNg) intrauterine device (IUD) releases small amounts of levonorgestrel, a form of progesterone, into the uterus each day. This type of IUD reduces cramping and heavy menstrual bleeding. And it is a highly effective method of birth control.

It must be replaced every 5 years to ensure that hormone release continues at a level that helps you.

How well does it work?

Most women have a significant decrease in uterine blood loss with the LNg IUD. Some studies report up to a 97% reduction in blood loss after 12 months.1 Increased spotting during the first couple of months is common, followed by less bleeding thereafter.

What are common side effects?

The LNg IUD can reduce menstrual bleeding and cramps and, in many women, eventually cause menstrual periods to stop altogether. In this case, not menstruating is not harmful.

The LNg IUD may cause hormonal side effects similar to those caused by oral contraceptives. These side effects are not common. But if they do happen, they usually go away after the first few months.

  • Breast tenderness
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Acne

References

Citations

  1. Lobo RA (2007). Abnormal uterine bleeding: Ovulatory and anovulatory dysfunctional uterine bleeding, management of acute and chronic excessive bleeding. In VL Katz et al., eds., Comprehensive Gynecology, 5th ed., pp. 915–931. Philadelphia: Mosby Elsevier.

Credits

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer Kirtly Jones, MD, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Primary Medical Reviewer Anne C. Poinier, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Femi Olatunbosun, MB, FRCSC - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last Revised June 7, 2010

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