How effective is a hormone-releasing intrauterine device (IUD)?

Donna Hill Howes, RN
Family Practitioner

The hormone-releasing IUD is a very effective method of birth control. Pregnancy rates during the first year of use are about 0.2% (2 pregnancies per 1,000 women). A hormone-releasing IUD prevents pregnancy for up to 5 years (Mirena) or 3 years (Liletta, Skyla) before it needs to be replaced. Fertility returns quickly after the IUD is removed.

An IUD offers no protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs), such as HIV or herpes. Also, during the first 3 weeks after an IUD is inserted, women have a higher risk of pelvic inflammatory disease.

The progesterone in the hormone-releasing IUD may reduce heavy bleeding during menstrual periods. A hormone-releasing IUD can reduce blood loss by 90%.

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Hormone-releasing intrauterine devices (IUDs) are 99.9 percent effective at preventing pregnancy. However they do not protect against sexually transmitted diseases.

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