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Elizabeth Boskey, Ph.D.

PID and the IUD

By November 26, 2012

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A new report, on a study that included over 60,000 women, has concluded that the risk of developing pelvic inflammatory disease after IUD insertion is extremely low. Furthermore, the research found that the risk is low even if women have not been pre-screened for chlamydia and gonorrhea. Instead, it appears that screening women for STDs at the time of insertion, and then promptly treating anyone who is positive, is more than sufficient.

This is great news, as it can significantly expedite the process of getting an IUD. IUDs are a highly effective form of birth control that have long been one of the most popular contraceptive methods outside the U.S.. However, uptake of the modern IUD in the U.S. was severely hampered by, largely unfounded, physician concerns about the potential that ascending infections after insertion might lead to long term fertility problems in their patients. (To be fair, this was a problem with early IUDs, but it has been fixed with more recent models.)

The upshot of America's history with and concern about IUDs is that, until very recently, it was quite difficult to get an IUD in the US, particularly if you were a woman who was unmarried and/or had never had children. Despite decades of successful, widespread use across the globe, it was only in 2011 that the American Academy of Obstetricians and Gynecologists finally acknowledged that the IUD is safe to use in young women.

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