Well Being

Study: IUDs Won’t Give You Pelvic Inflammatory Disease

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Study  IUDs Won t Give You Pelvic Inflammatory Disease shutterstock 95974894 640x512 jpg

A large new study dispels long-standing fears that using an intrauterine device (IUD) will lead to pelvic inflammatory disease. It found the risk of getting PID after IUD insertion was extremely low, with or without testing for sexually transmitted infections beforehand.

. If you’re young, you might not have even been aware that this IUD/PID link was a concern — a lot of the scares associated with IUDs played out before Gex X and Gen Y women came of age. But the misperception “dominated decisions on (IUD) use throughout the world, especially in the USA,” according the this 1992 report in the Lancet.

Early research that suggested such an association led to both a dramatic decline in use of the method and its withdrawal from the US market by two manufacturers.

Even today, the rate of IUD use in the U.S. is extremely low, especially compared to other countries. Part of the reason has to do with the Dalkon Shield IUD, a poorly-designed IUD that hit the market in the 1970s and wound up causing thousands of bacterial infections such as pelvic inflammatory disease in users. This lingering fear is also what leads many doctors to require a recent negative gonorrhea and chlamydia test before inserting an IUD, since gonorrhea and chlamydia are both PID risk factors on their own.

In this new study, published in the current online issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology, the researchers looked closely at women with chlamydia or gonorrhea. The links between IUD insertion and PID were extremely low in women with or without these STIs.

“This study affirms that there is a low risk of pelvic inflammatory disease after IUD insertion, which has the potential to reduce barriers to IUD access, such as making women have a separate screening visit before the IUD insertion,” said lead author Carolyn B. Sufrin, of UCSF’s Bixby Center for Global Reproductive Health.

Overall, the risk of PID diagnosis within 90 days of IUD insertion was less than 1%. The risk was highest in the women screened one day to eight weeks before getting an IUD and lowest in those with no screening, “indicating that women who were not screened had an equivalent risk of PID as women who were screened.”