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Minerva Ginecologica 2002 June;54(3):271-8


language: Italian

The role of copper-releasing intrauterine device or levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system on uterine bleeding and iron status (prospective study of 8 years)

Imperato F., Perniola G., Mossa B., Marziani R., Perniola F., Stragapede B., Napolitano C.


Background. The aims of this study were the effects of copper intrauterine device (Cu-IUD) compared to progesterone (PRG-IUS) or levonorgestrel releasing intrauterine system (LNg-IUS) on menstrual bleeding, menorrhagia and dysfunctional uterine bleeding. The authors evaluated the effect of copper surface area on uterine bleeding.
Methods. Between March 1992 and November 1999, 223 women, referred to I Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology University of Rome, were recruited in a prospective study with follow up at 3, 6 and 12 months to evaluate the incidence of endometrial pathology. The study includes 38 fertile women with regular menstruations and without intrauterine devices, as control group, and 185 patients with intrauterine devices, divides as follows:
—117 copper-releasing intrauterine devices: 30 with a copper (Cu) surface area =200 mm2, releasing 45 µg Cu/24h (Nova T ®); 27 with a copper surface area =250 mm2, releasing 50 µg Cu/24h (Multiload 250 ®); 25 with a copper surface area =375 mm2, releasing 65 µg Cu/24h (Multiload 375 ®); 20 with a copper surface area =384 mm2, releasing 100 µg Cu/24h (No Gravid M ®); 15 with a copper surface area =440 mm2, releasing 120 µg Cu/24h (No Gravid 0,5 ®).
—68 progesterone/levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine devices: 40 progesterone-releasing intrauterine systems (Progestasert®); 28 levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine systems 20 mg/24h (Mirena ®).
A total of 211 subjects had data that were valid for analysis: 12 women out of 223 (5,4%) were excluded from the prospective study lost to follow-up. A venous blood sample for serum ferritin (mg/l), iron (mg/dl), hemoglobin (g/dl), hematocrit (%), blood cell count, MCHC and MCV was taken during follow-up.
Results. PRG or LNg-IUSs determined a significant reduction in menstrual blood loss and in irregular bleeding by gradually reducing endometrial fitness and vascularisation. Serum ferritin significantly increased in women inserted with LNg- IUSs already after 6 months (26±22 e 28±14 µg/l versus 32.5±19 e 34.5±25 µg/l). Hemoglobin significantly increased (p>0.05) 6 months after insertion. On the contrary this did not occur with the insertion of Cu-IUDs. We observed that the increased amount of copper, released by IUD, causes increasing of bleeding.
Conclusions. The LNg-IUS is a new contraceptive method combining the advantages of both hormonal and intrauterine contraception. In addition, it can be considered an alternative method in the treatment of menorrhagia and dysfunctional uterine bleeding. On the contrary, in women inserted with Cu-IUDs, the main reason of menorrhagia probably is due both to the shape of device and to copper surface area.

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