Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2014 Mar 30;3: CD010915

Interest in and experience with IUD self-removal

Lopez LM, Stockton LL, Chen M, Steiner MJ and Gallo MF


Objectives: In the United States, the popularity of intrauterine devices (IUDs) is low despite many positive attributes such as high effectiveness and ease of use. The requirement that a clinician remove the IUD may limit US women's interest in the method. Our objective was to describe women's experience with self-removal and its effect on attitudes toward the method.

Study design: We assessed interest in attempting and success in IUD self-removal among women seeking IUD discontinuation from five US health centers. Women were given the option of attempting self-removal of the IUD. Participants were asked to complete two surveys about their reasons for desiring IUD removal, attitudes toward IUD use and experience with self-removal and/or clinician removal.

Results: Three hundred twenty-six racially diverse women participated (mean age, 28 years; body mass index, 27; duration of IUD use, 3 years); more than half were willing to try self-removal [95% confidence interval (CI): 4565%], and among those who tried, one in five was successful (95% CI: 1425%). More than half of participants (54%) reported they were more likely to recommend IUD use to a friend now that they know that it might be possible to remove one's own IUD; 6% reported they were less likely to recommend the IUD to a friend. African American women were particularly interested in the option of IUD self-removal.

Conclusions: Many women are interested in the concept of IUD self-removal, although relatively few women currently succeed in removing their own IUD.

Implications: Health educators, providers and advocates who inform women of this option potentially increase IUD use, reducing rates of undesired pregnancy.

Comment: This study shows that a small group of women likes to be more in control, by being able to remove their own IUD. When taught how to do that, more women will use effective contraception. (HMV)