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IUD Usage

Most American women don't even think of the copper IUD-intrauterine device-when it comes to selecting a contraceptive.  In fact, only 1% of American women use an IUD.  Why?  Frankly, it's gotten bad press.  Despite its effectiveness in preventing pregnancy, concerns that IUDs may cause pelvic infections and infertility caused doctors to recommend against its use, particularly in women who have never been pregnant.  A recent study of more than 2000 women in the New England Journal of Medicine (8/23/01), however, shows that this concern is no longer warranted. 

In this study, researchers compared infertile women who had never been pregnant because their fallopian tubes were blocked with infertile women whose tubes were not blocked and with first-time pregnant women.  After comparing their history of contraceptive use and other characteristics-including their history of pelvic inflammatory disease-they found that prior use of a copper IUD was NOT associated with an increased risk of tubal blockage. 

This study suggests that using IUDs is much safer than previously thought.  Women who have never been pregnant who are not at increased risk for a sexually transmitted disease can safely consider a copper IUD for contraception.  For more information, click here.

Created: 10/25/2001  -  Donnica Moore, M.D.

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