Font Size
A
A
A

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 95% reduction in blood loss.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.

  • Breast tenderness
  • Mood swings
  • Headaches
  • Acne

These side effects are not common. But if they do happen, they usually go away after the first few months.

Related Information

References

Citations

  1. Fritz MA, Speroff L (2011). Abnormal uterine bleeding. In Clinical Gynecologic Endocrinology and Infertility, 8th ed., pp. 591–620. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerSarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerKirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
Last RevisedJanuary 27, 2012

eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

To learn more visit Healthwise.org

© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.





Medical Dictionary