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
There are two LNg IUDs—one works for 5 years, and the other works for 3 years.
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.
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.
Fritz MA, Speroff L (2011). Abnormal uterine bleeding. In Clinical Gynecologic Endocrinology and Infertility, 8th ed., pp. 591–620. Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.
May 7, 2013
Sarah Marshall, MD - Family Medicine
& Kirtly Jones, MD - Obstetrics and Gynecology
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