What is a hormonal IUS?
A hormonal IUS (intrauterine system) is a very effective long-term contraceptive method. It combines the advantages of two well-known methods: the estrogen-free pill (lighter, pain-free menstruation; no estrogen-related side effects such as weight gain, breast tenderness) and the conventional copper coil or IUD (intrauterine device), with its long-term efficacy.
The hormonal IUS (also called a hormonal coil) is a small, soft, T-shaped plastic body with stored hormones. The T-beam is flexible and enables the doctor to insert it easily into the uterus. Once in place, it is stable and does not move.
A plastic cover on the leg of the IUS contains the active hormonal substance – the progestin (=yellow body hormone) levonorgestrel. Levonorgestrel has long been used in many pills and is very well tolerated. After insertion of the IUS, levonorgestrel is released slowly and evenly over several years in very small doses directly into the uterine membranes (mucosa).
The lower end of the IUS has an eyelet with two threads attached. You can feel these threads yourself. The threads also make it easy for the doctor to remove the IUS.
Some hormonal IUSs come with a silver ring, which makes them visible in the ultrasound. But they have no magnetic parts and do not cause any problems during examinations such as MRIs (magnetic resonance imaging).
The hormonal IUS offers extremely reliable contraception for a period of 3 – 5 years without having to think about using a contraceptive on a regular basis, or taking anything.
In addition, the Levonorgestel hormone has other positive effects – see the section ‘Advantages of the hormonal IUS’.