WEDNESDAY, Jan. 9 (HealthDay News) -- Women with heavy menstrual bleeding may find some relief using an intrauterine device, or IUD, containing the hormone levonorgestrel, according to new research.
British researchers found that the treated IUD was more effective at reducing the effects of heavy menstrual bleeding (also called menorrhagia) on quality of life compared to other treatments. Normally used for contraception, the intrauterine system is sold under the brand name Mirena.
"If women suffer with heavy periods and do not want to get pregnant -- as the levonorgestrel intrauterine system is a contraceptive -- then having the levonorgestrel intrauterine system is a very good first-line treatment option that does not require taking regular, daily oral medications," said the study's lead author, Dr. Janesh Gupta, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of Birmingham and Birmingham Women's Hospital in England.
For women who do want to get pregnant, Gupta said, taking the blood-clotting drug tranexamic acid during periods is an alternate method of treating heavy periods.
Results of the study, which was funded by the United Kingdom's National Institute of Health Research, appear in the Jan. 10 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.
Heavy menstrual bleeding is a significant problem for many women. About 20 percent of gynecologist office visits in the United States and the United Kingdom are because of heavy bleeding. There are several nonhormonal and hormonal treatment options available to reduce blood loss.
The current study compared the use of traditional medical options -- tranexamic acid pills, mefenamic acid (Ponstel), combined estrogen-progestogen and progesterone alone -- to the use of the levonorgestrel intrauterine system.
The researchers randomly assigned nearly 600 women with heavy menstrual bleeding to rec
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