Non-contraceptive health benefits are now recognized as an important aspect of the overall impact of all hormonal contraceptives. The levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine systems (LNG IUS) are particularly effective at producing a number of health benefits for women using the LNG IUS as a contraceptive (reduced menstrual bleeding; reduced dysmenorrhea and the potential for prevention of a number of gynecological conditions in the longer term, such as iron-deficiency anemia, endometrial hyperplasia, uterine fibroids, acute episodes of pelvic inflammatory disease, endometriosis and perhaps others). The LNG IUS also has the potential to specifically treat a range of pre-existing gynecological conditions such as heavy menstrual bleeding due to a wide range of underlying causes, endometrial hyperplasia, uterine fibroids, adenomyosis, and endometriosis. These health benefits should be recognized as a key component in the decision-making process for individual women in choosing a specific type of hormonal or other contraceptive. Investment in research into the very substantial health benefits of hormonal contraceptives, such as the LNG IUS, has generally been ignored in comparison with the massive investment into understanding the often subtle or rare complications of hormonal contraceptive use. Both are important, but there is a real need to define more accurately those women who will benefit most from these health benefits.
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