Retention of intrauterine devices in women who acquire pelvic inflammatory disease: a systematic review

Contraception. 2013 May;87(5):655-60. doi: 10.1016/j.contraception.2012.08.011. Epub 2012 Oct 4.


Background: Women using intrauterine devices (IUDs) are not protected against acquiring pelvic inflammatory disease (PID). If a woman has an IUD in place when she is diagnosed with PID, there is a theoretical concern that presence of an IUD might impact the course of treatment. This review was conducted to evaluate the evidence regarding whether an IUD should be retained or removed if a woman develops PID.

Study design: The PubMed database was searched from database inception through April 2012 for all peer-reviewed articles in any language concerning PID in women using IUDs. Articles were included if they examined women with IUDs who developed PID and compared the clinical course of women in whom the IUD was retained versus women in whom the IUD was removed. Articles were excluded if the infection was diagnosed before or at the time of IUD insertion. The quality of each study was assessed using the United States Preventive Services Task Force grading system.

Results: Four fair-quality studies met inclusion criteria for this review. One randomized controlled trial showed that women with IUDs removed had longer hospitalizations than those with IUD retention (15% versus 4%, p<.01), although there were no differences in PID recurrences or subsequent pregnancies. Another randomized controlled trial showed no differences in laboratory parameters among women who retained the IUD when compared with women in whom the IUD was removed. One prospective cohort study showed that there were no differences in clinical or laboratory parameters during hospitalization; however, the IUD removal group had a higher proportion hospitalized for more than 2 weeks compared with the IUD retention group (33% versus 19%, p<.05). One randomized controlled trial showed that women who had the IUD removed experienced improved recovery in most clinical signs and symptoms compared with women who retained the IUD.

Conclusions: Three fair-quality studies showed no difference in clinical or laboratory outcomes among women who retained IUDs when compared with women who had IUDs removed, and two of these studies showed that women who had IUDs removed had longer hospitalizations. In contrast, one fair quality study showed improved clinical signs and symptoms among women who had IUDs removed. Overall, women who retained their IUDs had similar or better outcomes than women who had their IUDs removed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Device Removal*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Intrauterine Devices / adverse effects*
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease / etiology*