Effects of age, parity, and device type on complications and discontinuation of intrauterine devices

Obstet Gynecol. 2014 Mar;123(3):585-592. doi: 10.1097/AOG.0000000000000144.


Objective: To conduct an analysis of intrauterine device (IUD)-related outcomes including expulsion, contraceptive failure, and early discontinuation and to compare these outcomes in regard to age, parity, and IUD type.

Methods: This was a multicenter retrospective chart review of adolescents and women aged 13-35 years who had an IUD inserted for contraception between June 2008 and June 2011.

Results: A total of 2,523 patients' charts were reviewed. Of these, 2,138 patients were included in our analysis. After a mean follow-up of 37±11 months, the overall rates of IUD expulsion and pregnancy were 6% and 1%, respectively, and were not significantly different by age or parity. Intrauterine device discontinuation rates were 19% at 12 months and 41% after a mean follow-up of 37 months. Despite similar rates of IUD discontinuation between age groups at 12 months of use, teenagers and young women aged 13-19 years were more likely to request early discontinuation at the end of the total follow-up period. No significant difference was noted in pelvic inflammatory disease rates (2%) based on age. After adjusting for age and parity, we found that copper IUD users were more likely to experience expulsion and contraception failure compared with levonorgestrel intrauterine system users (hazard ratios 1.62, 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.06-2.50 and hazard ratios 4.89, 95% CI 2.02-11.80, respectively).

Conclusion: Similar to adults, IUD use in adolescents and nulliparous women is effective and associated with low rates of serious complications. Health practitioners should therefore consider IUDs for contraception in all females. Teenagers and young women are more likely to request premature discontinuation of their IUDs and may benefit from additional counseling.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Evaluation Study
  • Multicenter Study

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Age Factors
  • Contraceptive Agents, Female
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Intrauterine Device Expulsion
  • Intrauterine Devices* / adverse effects
  • Intrauterine Devices, Copper / adverse effects
  • Intrauterine Devices, Medicated / adverse effects
  • Levonorgestrel
  • Parity
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data*
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease / epidemiology
  • Pelvic Inflammatory Disease / etiology*
  • Pregnancy
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Young Adult


  • Contraceptive Agents, Female
  • Levonorgestrel