Avoiding age-related effects
Half of the women in the study underwent the first breast MRI exam before IUD placement and the second with the IUD in place. The other half had their first MRI with IUD placement and the second MRI after IUD removal. This enabled the researchers to avoid age-related effects on background parenchymal enhancement that might affect interpretation of the results. Analysis showed that IUD use led to significant increase of enhancement in 23 of 48 patients, indicating that there are hormonal effects caused by IUD use that occur well beyond the uterus. “The results suggest that IUDs do not have a purely local effect on the uterus — but affect the entire body,” Dr. Huck said. She added that is plausible that IUDs can have side effects similar to that of other hormonal treatments.
“Use of an IUD leads to hormonal stimulation of the breast that is detectable by MRI,” Dr. Huck said. “The increased enhancement also has implications for the diagnostic accuracy of breast MRI in women using hormonal IUDs.”
While the results point to a systemic hormonal effect for women with IUDs in place, it does not mean that the contraceptives are unsafe to use, Dr. Huck emphasized.
“IUDs appear to be a very safe means of contraception and are generally well tolerated,” she said. “However, if women with an IUD in place experience unexplainable side effects, they should talk to their doctor and consider using other types of contraception.”
Source: Radiological Society of North America
Source: Healthcare in Europe