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Do intrauterine device/intrauterine system users check their threads?


Background Expulsion of an intrauterine device (IUD) occurs in about 1 in 20 women and expulsion may not be noticed by the user. Current guidance recommends that users are instructed to check regularly for their threads. This is the first study to explore the reality of how women feel about checking their threads and the details surrounding how frequently checks are done.

Methods One hundred consecutive IUD users were interviewed regarding their type of device, duration of use, frequency of thread checking, prompts for checking and reasons for not checking.

Results Only 23% checked their threads regularly and 51% had never done so. The most common reason for not checking was forgetting about it.

Conclusions Despite being advised to do so, the majority of users do not check their threads at all and fewer than one-quarter of them check regularly. We propose that advice offered about thread checking should be given less emphasis and suggested more for user reassurance.

  • intrauterine devices
  • intrauterine systems
  • long-acting reversible contraception
  • qualitative research

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