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Adolescent pregnancy is a worldwide public health issue, and the intrauterine device (IUD) has been shown to be a safe and highly effective method of long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) in this group. Patient concerns regarding IUDs are common, which should be addressed during routine office visits. Recently, both Pediatric and Gynecologic societies have recommended the IUD as a first line contraceptive for adolescents given their safety and efficacy. We are hoping to understand current IUD practices amongst providers, elucidate barriers to IUD insertion, and explore whether there have been any changes in IUD insertion patterns since the advent of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has increased telehealth and reduced operating room (OR) availability.
Survey was disseminated to NASPAG (North American Society for Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecologists) members via the listserv on two separate occasions. Consent was obtained upon completion of the survey. Results from the survey are anonymous. Results were tabulated with descriptive statistics. Ethics approval was obtained (REB22-0269).
There were 55 respondents, with the majority being Pediatric and Adolescent Gynecologists (71%) from North America (93%). As per providers, adolescents most frequently seek out the IUD for contraception (45%) and menstrual management (42%). Providers felt that the most common barrier to the IUD was misconceptions/myths (67%), as well as pain with insertion (64%). Most practitioners had no change in their IUD prescribing patterns since the start of the pandemic (62%), while some performed more office insertions (11%) and some reduced their IUD practice because of less operative time (15%) and less in-person appointments. Although many physicians perform office insertions, many found that a Procedural Sedation Center facilitated wait times (38%) or felt that such a center would be helpful (33%). Cases being done in the OR were often patients with disabilities/developmental delay (95%) or anxiety (75%).
Our survey demonstrated that there are still some misconceptions surrounding the IUD. Education on contraception, specifically LARCs, is pivotal in decreasing adolescent pregnancy rates, reducing barriers to IUD use, and improving the attitude of adolescents toward the IUD. Pain with insertion is another limiting factor and a Procedural Sedation Center may be helpful in managing pain expectations and increasing acceptance of the IUD. Although there was no significant change in IUD practices during COVID, a decrease in operating room availability and increase in telehealth may impede IUD prescribing, especially in patients with developmental delay or disabilities who may require insertion in the OR.
© 2023 Published by Elsevier Inc.