Article Text


Intrauterine device insertion-related complications: can they be predicted?
  1. Miranda Farmer, MRCGP, MFFP, CMO1 and
  2. Anne Webb, MRCOG, MFFP, Consultant in Family Planning and Reproductive Health Care2
  1. East Cheshire NHS Trust, Macclesfield District General Hospital, Victoria Road, Macclesfield, UK
  2. Abacus Centres for Contraception and Reproductive Health, North Liverpool Primary Care Trust, Liverpool, UK
  1. Correspondence Dr Miranda Farmer, Family Planning Department, Macclesfield District General Hospital, Victoria Road, Macclesfield SK10 3BL, UK. E-mail: mataylor{at}


Objective To determine risk factors affecting the incidence of intrauterine device (IUD) insertion-related complications and failures and, in particular, whether postcoital IUD insertions have a higher incidence of complications than routine IUD insertions.

Design Retrospective case notes analysis.

Participants The study examined 545 case notes of patients having IUD insertions at East Cheshire NHS Trust family planning clinics between 1 October 1997 and 31 December 2000.

Main outcome measures The incidence of complications at insertion, or up to 12 weeks after insertion, was determined and included failed insertion, cervical problems, syncope, bradycardia, convulsions, early perforation and early expulsion. Fourteen potential risk factors were examined to determine the effect on incidence of complications.

Results. Failed insertions were statistically more likely in women who had never previously had a vaginal delivery and also when a less experienced doctor performed the insertion. Nulliparous women were at statistically increased risk of cervical problems and bradycardia. Cervical problems at insertion also increased significantly with age. Patients who were amenorrhoeic at insertion were more likely to suffer an early IUD expulsion.

Conclusions Of the potential risk factors, nulliparity was the most important. IUD insertion failures and complications were no more common in postcoital than routine IUD insertions. In general, complications were unpredictable, indicating the need for constant vigilance and the inserting doctor being trained and prepared to deal with any complication arising.

Statistics from

Request permissions

If you wish to reuse any or all of this article please use the link below which will take you to the Copyright Clearance Center’s RightsLink service. You will be able to get a quick price and instant permission to reuse the content in many different ways.