“$231 … to pull a string!!!” American IUD users’ reasons for IUD self-removal: An analysis of internet forums

Jennifer R. Amico, Samantha Stimmel, Shawna Hudson, Marji Gold

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Objective: The perspectives and experiences of intrauterine device (IUD) users who consider IUD self-removal are largely unknown. This study describes the reasons for IUD self-removal as documented in internet forums by IUD users discussing self-removal. Study design: This qualitative study used an internet search strategy to document IUD users’ reasons for self-removal in the United States. We employed a content analysis of online data using inductive and deductive qualitative techniques to examine the reasons why IUD users consider self-removal. Results: Search results initially identified 235 websites, of which 28 had online health or parenting forums with content related to IUD self-removal. Individual websites contained between 1 and 637 posts by between 1 and 454 individual users. IUD users described a variety of reasons for IUD discontinuation including undesired symptoms or side effects as well as planning for pregnancy. IUD users discussed difficulties accessing provider-removal because of cost or lack of appointment availability. IUD users also discussed how reading about others’ successful self-removal experiences or approval by medical providers made self-removal a feasible or acceptable option. Conclusions: Some IUD users utilize online forums for advice about IUD removal, and attempt IUD self-removal due to side effects or because they desire pregnancy. Lack of access to a provider led some patients to attempt self-removal who may have preferred provider-removal. Implications: For those who prefer self-removal, anticipatory counseling from a clinician regarding self-removal might be useful and reassuring. Improving access to self-removal may help preserve reproductive autonomy for those who face barriers to IUD removal in the clinical setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)393-398
Number of pages6
JournalContraception
Volume101
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 2020

Keywords

  • Discontinuation
  • Internet
  • Intrauterine device
  • Self-removal

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Reproductive Medicine
  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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