Background: Federally qualified health centers (FQHCs) can address high rates of unintended pregnancy among adolescents in the United States by increasing access to intrauterine devices (IUDs) in underserved settings. Despite national guidelines endorsing adolescent use of IUDs, some physicians remain concerned about IUD tolerance and safety in adolescents. Therefore we compared adolescents and adults in a family physician staffed FQHC network with regard to (1) IUD postinsertion experience, (2) device discontinuation, and (3) sexually transmitted infection (STI) rates.
Methods: We conducted a retrospective cohort study among women < 36 years old who had an IUD inserted in 2011 at a New York City FQHC staffed by family physicians.
Results: We included 684 women (27% adolescents, 73% adults). During the 6-month postinsertion period, 59% of adolescents and 43% of adults initiated IUD-related clinical contact after insertion, most commonly for bleeding changes and pelvic or abdominal pain. There were no significant differences between groups in IUD expulsion or removal or STI rates.
Conclusions: Urban FQHC providers may anticipate that, compared with their adult IUD users, adolescents will initiate more clinical follow-up visits after insertion. Both groups will, however, have similar clinical concerns about, reasons for, and rate of device discontinuation and low STI rates.
- Intrauterine devices
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
- Family Practice