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Ovarian function was studied for two complete menstrual cycles in 9 regularly menstruating women and for 8 weeks in three amenorrhoeic women who had used levonorgestrel-releasing IUDs (LNG-IUD) for more than four years. Nine patients using copper IUDs (Nova-T) were studied for two complete menstrual cycles as controls. According to progesterone levels, cycles in women using LNG-IUDs were ovulatory, whereas only cycles showed normal follicular growth and rupture as judged by ultrasound. In ovulatory cycles, the peak progesterone levels were lower than in the controls. The preovulatory estradiol and LH peak levels were also lower than in control subjects. SHBG levels were lower in LNG-IUD users than in copper IUD users.
It is concluded that, although the dose of levonorgestrel released from the IUD is very low, it probably exerts an effect on the gonadotrophin secretion, which disturbs follicular development in many of the women studied, which in addition to the local effect on the endometrium, contributes to its high contraceptive efficacy.
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Accepted: April 5, 1990
Received: January 3, 1990
© 1990 Published by Elsevier Inc.