Awareness of the option of IUC self-removal among US adolescents

Katherine Glaser, Margaret Fix, Jennifer Karlin, Eleanor Bimla Schwarz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objective: To assess adolescent awareness of the safety of self-removal of intrauterine contraception (IUC) and explore associations with sociodemographic characteristics, IUC knowledge, and personal experience using an IUC. Study design: We recruited women aged 15 to 20 years from 21 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. Participants completed an online survey assessing their communication with peers about contraception and knowledge and use of IUCs. Results: Few (11%, 95% CI 9%–13%) adolescents knew that IUC self-removal is safe, whether or not they had personally used an IUC (14% vs 8%, p = 0.01). Knowledge that IUCs do not protect users from sexually transmitted infections (99% vs 91%, p < 0.001) and that IUCs can be removed early (99% vs 88%, p < 0.001) was higher among adolescents who had used an IUC than those who had not. Knowledge that IUC use does not adversely affect fertility after IUC removal (86% vs 63%, p < 0.001) and that IUCs are more effective than birth control pills (82% vs 50%, p < 0.001) also differed by personal experience with an IUC. Awareness of the safety of IUC self-removal was not associated with overall knowledge of IUCs. However, adolescents who knew that IUCs are more effective than birth control pills were more likely to be aware of the safety of IUC self-removal (OR = 1.85, 95% CI 1.12–3.05). Conclusions: Adolescent women in the U.S. possess incomplete knowledge of many important aspects of IUC use, and awareness of the safety of IUC self-removal is particularly low, even among those who have used an IUC. Implications: Efforts to increase adolescent knowledge of IUC should include information about the safety of IUC self-removal in order to safeguard adolescents’ reproductive autonomy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)567-570
Number of pages4
JournalContraception
Volume104
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2021

Keywords

  • Adolescent
  • IUC
  • LARC
  • Reproductive autonomy
  • Self-removal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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