1. How is the LNG-IUD different from the copper-bearing IUD?
The LNG-IUD and the copper-bearing IUD are very similar, but they have important differences. Both the LNG-IUD and the copper-bearing IUD are very effective, but the LNG-IUD is slightly more effective. The LNG-IUD has different side effects from those of the copper-bearing IUD. LNG-IUD users usually experience lighter bleeding (regular or irregular) or no bleeding at all, while copper-bearing IUD users usually have regular but sometimes heavier or longer bleeding. In addition, LNG-IUD users may experience hormonal side effects (for example, headaches), which are not side effects of copper-bearing IUDs. The duration of use is shorter—3 or 5 years for the LNG-IUD, depending on brand, versus 12 years for the copper-bearing IUD. Also, the LNG-IUD costs more than the copper-bearing IUD. (See the job aid Comparing IUDs.)
2. How is the LNG-IUD different from other hormonal methods?
The LNG-IUD continuously releases a small amount of hormone into the uterus. Because the hormone is released directly into the uterus, the amount in the bloodstream is lower than with other hormonal methods. Thus, women experience fewer side effects. The LNG-IUD requires no action by the woman once it is inserted, unlike pills that a woman must take every day or injections that a woman must have every 1 to 3 months. The LNG-IUD must be inserted into the uterus, while most other hormonal methods come in the form of pills, injections, or implants under the skin.
3. What are the other benefits of the LNG-IUD, besides contraception?
The LNG-IUD is an effective treatment for heavy monthly blood loss. It is the most effective nonsurgical approach for this condition. Also, the LNG-IUD decreases bleeding for women with fibroids. Reduced blood loss can help women with anemia as well. Additionally, the LNG-IUD may help to treat endometriosis, endometrial hyperplasia, endometrial cancer, and perimenopausal menstrual disturbances.