Noncontraceptive health benefits of intrauterine devices: a systematic review

Obstet Gynecol Surv. 2002 Feb;57(2):120-8. doi: 10.1097/00006254-200202000-00024.


Most women and their clinicians are unaware that IUDs confer important noncontraceptive health benefits. This review summarizes the evidence from published articles on this topic. We conducted a series of systematic literature searches to identify articles on the noncontraceptive health benefits of IUD use. We reviewed the potentially pertinent ones for content, grouped them according to type of IUD, and evaluated them using the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force rating system. Over 500 titles were identified and several hundred abstracts were reviewed. Use of nonhormonal IUDs (plastic and copper) was associated with a decrease in endometrial cancer. The levonorgestrel intrauterine system can treat a variety of gynecological disorders, including menorrhagia and anemia. The levonorgestrel system has also been used successfully as part of hormone replacement therapy, as adjuvant therapy with tamoxifen, and as an alternative to hysterectomy for women with bleeding problems. Like oral contraceptives, intrauterine contraceptives confer important noncontraceptive health benefits.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Endometrial Neoplasms / prevention & control
  • Female
  • Genital Diseases, Female / drug therapy
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy
  • Humans
  • Intrauterine Devices*
  • Intrauterine Devices, Copper*
  • Levonorgestrel / therapeutic use
  • Pregnancy
  • Progesterone Congeners / therapeutic use


  • Progesterone Congeners
  • Levonorgestrel