Association of short-term bleeding and cramping patterns with long-acting reversible contraceptive method satisfaction

Am J Obstet Gynecol. 2015 Jan;212(1):50.e1-8. doi: 10.1016/j.ajog.2014.07.025. Epub 2014 Jul 18.


Objective: We sought to examine the short-term (3- and 6-month), self-reported bleeding and cramping patterns with intrauterine devices (IUDs) and the contraceptive implant, and the association of these symptoms with method satisfaction.

Study design: We analyzed 3- and 6-month survey data from IUD and implant users in the Contraceptive CHOICE Project, a prospective cohort study. Participants who received a long-acting reversible contraceptive (LARC) method (levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine system [LNG-IUS], copper IUD, or the etonogestrel implant) and completed their 3- and 6-month surveys were included. Univariable and multivariable analyses were performed to examine the association of bleeding and cramping patterns with short-term satisfaction.

Results: Our analytic sample included 5011 Contraceptive CHOICE Project participants: 3001 LNG-IUS users, 826 copper IUD users, and 1184 implant users. At 3 months, >65% of LNG-IUS and implant users reported no change or decreased cramping, while 63% of copper IUD users reported increased menstrual cramping. Lighter bleeding was reported by 67% of LNG-IUS users, 58% of implant users, and 8% of copper IUD users. Satisfaction of all LARC methods was high (≥90%). LARC users with increased menstrual cramping (relative risk adjusted [RRadj], 0.78; 95% confidence interval [CI], 0.72-0.85), heavier bleeding (RRadj, 0.83; 95% CI, 0.76-0.92), and increased bleeding frequency (RRadj, 0.73; 95% CI, 0.67-0.80) were less likely to report being very satisfied at 6 months.

Conclusion: Regardless of the LARC method, satisfaction at 3 and 6 months is very high. Changes in self-reported bleeding and cramping are associated with short-term LARC satisfaction.

Keywords: contraception; intrauterine device; long-acting reversible contraception; subdermal implant.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Contraceptive Agents / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Hemorrhage / epidemiology
  • Hemorrhage / etiology*
  • Humans
  • Intrauterine Devices / adverse effects*
  • Muscle Cramp / epidemiology
  • Muscle Cramp / etiology*
  • Patient Satisfaction*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult


  • Contraceptive Agents