Author(s): Bednarek PH, Jensen JT
Intrauterine devices (IUDs) provide highly effective, long-term, safe, reversible contraception, and are the most widely used reversible contraceptive method worldwide. The levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system (LNG-IUS) is a T-shaped IUD with a steroid reservoir containing 52 mg of levonorgestrel that is released at an initial rate of 20 μg daily. It is highly effective, with a typical-use first year pregnancy rate of 0.1% - similar to surgical tubal occlusion. It is approved for 5 years of contraceptive use, and there is evidence that it can be effective for up to 7 years of continuous use. After removal, there is rapid return to fertility, with 1-year life-table pregnancy rates of 89 per 100 for women less than 30 years of age. Most users experience a dramatic reduction in menstrual bleeding, and about 15% to 20% of women become amenorrheic 1 year after insertion. The device's strong local effects on the endometrium benefit women with various benign gynecological conditions such as menorrhagia, dysmenorrhea, leiomyomata, adenomyosis, and endometriosis. There is also evidence to support its role in endometrial protection during postmenopausal estrogen replacement therapy, and in the treatment of endometrial hyperplasia.