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ACOG: Intrauterine Device Has Benefits Beyond Contraception

IUD may reduce the risk of endometrial cancer

THURSDAY, May 8 (HealthDay News) -- The intrauterine device (IUD), in addition to being an effective contraceptive, may also provide protection against endometrial cancer, according to an update in contraception lecture presented at the 56th Annual Clinical Meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists held this week in New Orleans.

David A. Grimes, M.D., a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill and vice president of biomedical affairs at Family Health International in Research Triangle Park, N.C., discussed the uses and benefits of the IUD.

Advantages of the IUD include its high contraceptive efficacy and reversible nature. In addition to providing contraception, hormonal IUDs can be used to treat endometriosis and are approved in many countries (though not the United States) for treating heavy menstrual bleeding, Grimes notes. In addition, IUDs are associated with a 40 percent reduction in the risk of endometrial cancer, which is similar to the cancer protection achieved with oral contraceptives. However, while the IUD is the most widely used reversible contraceptive in the world, only 2 percent of women in the United States using contraception choose an IUD, according to Grimes.

"The IUD is underutilized as a contraceptive in the United States," he concludes. "Research is showing that it has health benefits far beyond preventing pregnancy."

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