Interest in and experience with IUD self-removal

Diana Greene Foster, Daniel Grossman, David K. Turok, Jeffrey F. Peipert, Linda Prine, Courtney A. Schreiber, Andrea V. Jackson, Rana E. Barar, Eleanor Schwarz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

26 Scopus citations


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): 45-65%], and among those who tried, one in five was successful (95% CI: 14-25%). 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)54-59
Number of pages6
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Contraceptive attitudes
  • Intrauterine contraception
  • IUD
  • Self-removal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology


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