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WHO issues statement on hormonal IUD nomenclature

Written by: Katie Williams, Fellow, FHI 360 & UNC Gillings School of Global Health

Recently, the World Health Organization (WHO) issued a statement with recommendations on standardized nomenclature for the levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine device. Several acronyms have been in used in the past, including LNG-IUD, hormonal IUD, LNG-IUS and hormonal IUS, and this varied nomenclature could contribute to confusion from users, providers, distributors, and other stakeholders involved with this method. To avoid this potential confusion, the WHO statement proposes the standardized nomenclature “hormonal IUD” be used when referencing the method category. The statement notes, “to accommodate new hormone-releasing intrauterine devices that are under development, and to clarify the nature of the current levonorgestrel-releasing intrauterine device, the term hormonal IUD should be used to categorize these products (see Fig. 1)”

Categorization of intrauterine devices / © WHO

In response to the WHO statement, the global consortium that works to support expanded access to the method decided to rename the group to now be the Hormonal IUD Access Group.

The language on this website has been updated accordingly, although some materials in the resource library that were developed prior to the WHO recommendation have not been edited. For more information, please email us at

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