New intrauterine technologies for contraception and treatment in nulliparous/adolescent and parous women
Adolescents, contraception, frameless copper IUD, frameless levonorgestrel-releasing IUS, nulliparous women, unintended pregnancy.
Published online: Dec 31 2009
The IUD (intra uterine device) is a highly effective method of contraception that is underused. New developments in intrauterine technology, smaller frameless copper and levonorgestrel-releasing devices, could help increase the prevalence of use in adolescents and nulliparous women. Because adolescents and young nulliparous women contribute disproportionately to the epidemic of unintended pregnancies, long-acting methods of contraception, particularly IUDs, should be considered as first-line choices for interval, emergency and immediate post-abortal contraception in this population of women. As the uterine cavity is generally much smaller in this group than in older women, adapted IUDs may be very useful. Compatibility of the IUD with the small uterine cavity leads to high acceptability and continuation of use, a prerequisite to reduce unintended pregnancies. A strategic advantage of IUDs is that, unlike the Pill, they are genuinely ‘fit-and-forget’. In use, they are much more effective than Pills in this age group. However, copper intrauterine devices do not offer protection against sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and, therefore, they are not always the methods of first choice for teenagers and nulliparous women. New evidence, however, from the World Health Organization and the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, shows that IUDs can be used and that they are safe for most women, including adolescents.