Author(s): Fedele L, Bianchi S, Raffaelli R, Dorta ML
OBJECTIVE: To evaluate the efficacy and tolerability of treatment with a levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine device (IUD) in women affected by adenomyosis-associated menorrhagia. SETTING: Tertiary care center. DESIGN: Prospective, open, noncomparative study. PATIENT(S): Twenty-five women aged 38 to 45 years with recurrent menorrhagia associated with adenomyosis diagnosed at transvaginal ultrasonography participated in this study. INTERVENTION(S): An IUD releasing levonorgestel 20 mcg/day was inserted in each patient within 7 days of the start of menstrual flow. All of the patients were requested to compile a pictorial blood loss assessment chart each month. They underwent clinical and transvaginal ultrasound examinations 3, 6, and 12 months after IUD insertion. MAIN OUTCOME MEASURE(S): Menstrual pattern; serum hemoglobin, ferritin, and iron level changes. RESULT(S): One patient experienced IUD expulsion 2 months after device insertion and another requested removal of the IUD 4 months after insertion because of persistent irregular blood loss. Six months after IUD insertion, amenorrhea was observed in 2 patients and oligomenorrhea in another, spotting occurred occasionally in 7, and 13 had scanty but regular flow. One year of follow-up has been completed by the remaining 23 women: 2 with amenorrhea, 3 with oligomenorrhea, 2 with spotting, and 16 with regular flows. Significant increases in hemoglobin, hematocrit, and serum ferritin have been observed, but the lipid metabolism and clotting variables have remained unchanged. CONCLUSION(S): Our findings indicate that marked and safe relief from adenomyosis-associated menorrhagia can be obtained with the use of a levonorgestrel-releasing IUD. PIP: The efficacy and tolerability of treatment of adenomyosis-related menorrhagia with a levonorgestrel-releasing IUD were investigated in a prospective study of 25 women recruited from a tertiary care center in Italy. All women reported recurrent menorrhagia of at least 6 months' duration and underwent abdominal and transvaginal ultrasonography, hysteroscopy, and endometrial biopsy before study entry. An IUD releasing 20 mcg/day of levonorgestrel was inserted within 7 days of the onset of menses and follow-up examinations were conducted 3, 6, and 12 months after insertion. 1 woman experienced IUD expulsion 2 months after insertion and another requested removal at 4 months because of persistent irregular blood loss. 6 months after IUD insertion, amenorrhea was observed in 2 women, oligomenorrhea in 1 woman, and occasional spotting in 7 women; the remaining 13 women had scanty but regular periods. At 12 months, 2 women reported amenorrhea, 3 had oligomenorrhea, 2 had spotting, and 16 had regular periods. All menstrual anomalies were well tolerated. IUD-related side effects included headache (24%), breast tenderness (16%), seborrhea or acne (24%), and weight gain (28%). Significant increases in hemoglobin, hematocrit, and serum ferritin were recorded; there were no changes in lipid metabolism or clotting variables. These findings suggest that insertion of a levonorgestrel-releasing IUD represents a viable alternative to hysterectomy in the treatment of adenomyosis. It is speculated that the IUD produces deciduation and subsequent marked hypotrophy of eutopic endometrium.