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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.

There are two LNg IUDs—one works for 5 years, and the other works for 3 years.

Did You Know?

Under the Affordable Care Act, many health insurance plans will provide free women’s preventive services, including mammograms, birth control and well-woman visits. Learn more.

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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.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: March 12, 2014
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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