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WHO update on terminology for levonorgestrel-releasing IUDs

That One Thing - The one FP/RH update you need to focus on this week

Dear Family Planning Champion,

IUD or IUS? Levonorgestrel or hormonal? As family planning and reproductive health (FP/RH) professionals, it’s sometimes difficult to know which is the correct terminology to use. No matter which terms we use, consistency is important. This is why the World Health Organization (WHO) just released a new statement on how all FP/RH professionals, providers, and planners should talk about levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine devices (IUDs).

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WHO update on terminology for levonorgestrel-releasing IUDs

You may have previously heard this form of contraception referred to as long-term reversible contraceptives (or LARC), LNG-IUD, Hormonal-IUD, and LNG-IUS. To accommodate new hormone-releasing IUDs that are under development and to clarify the nature of the current levonorgestrel-releasing device, the WHO suggests using the term hormonal IUD for these products.


If we all adopt this term, we can work together globally to ensure that the terminology is consistent when developing health management information systems, ministry of health policy and programmatic documentation, training guidelines, and other FP documents at all levels of service provision. Please consider making those necessary updates so that we can align with this single term. Consistency in contraceptive nomenclature supports country-level efforts to introduce different methods and help ensure adequate supplies.