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Menstrual cup use with copper IUDs linked to higher expulsion rates



Women who use copper IUDs and concurrently use menstrual cups face a higher than expected rate of IUD expulsion, results from a prospective study showed.

Citing menstrual cup use for menstrual hygiene as “increasingly popular,” researchers led by Jill Long, MD, MPH, studied women participating in a prospective contraceptive efficacy trial of two copper IUDs to evaluate the relationship between menstrual cup use and IUD expulsion over a period of 24 months. The findings were released ahead of the study’s scheduled presentation at the annual clinical and scientific meeting of the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists. ACOG canceled the meeting and released abstracts for press coverage.

In the ongoing 3-year trial, which also was published in Obstetrics & Gynecology, 1,092 women were randomized to one of two copper IUDs. Dr. Long, project officer for the Contraceptive Clinical Trials Network, a project of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, Bethesda, Md. and colleagues conducted follow-up visits at 6 weeks after insertion in the first year, and then 3, 6, and 12 months after insertion. At the 9-month mark, the study counseling was amended to advise patients against concurrent use of the menstrual cup because of a higher risk of IUD expulsions noted in women using the cup.

Among the 1,092 women studied, 266 (24%) reported menstrual cup use. At 24 months after initiating enrollment, 43 cup users (17%) and 43 nonusers (5%) experienced expulsion (odds ratio, 3.81). Fourteen menstrual cup users with expulsion (30%) reported that the event occurred during menstrual cup removal. Dr. Long and colleagues found that, at year 1 of the study, expulsion rates among menstrual cup users and nonusers were 14% and 5%, respectively (P < .001). At the end of year 2, these rates rose to 23% and 7% (P < .001). The study won second place among abstracts in the category of current clinical and basic investigation.

Dr. Eve Espey

Dr. Eve Espey

“This outstanding abstract reflects an important study with results that should lead to changes in the way providers counsel patients about IUDs, namely that the risk of IUD expulsion is significantly higher in women who use menstrual cups than in those who use other menstrual hygiene products,” Eve Espey, MD, MPH, who was not affiliated with the study, said in an interview.

According to Dr. Espey, who chairs the department of obstetrics and gynecology at the University of New Mexico, Albuquerque, key strengths of the study include its prospective methodology and the relatively large number of patients with concurrent IUD and menstrual cup use.

“A limitation is the nonrandomized design for the current study’s aim, which would require randomizing women using the IUD to menstrual cup use versus nonuse,” said Dr. Espey, who is a member of the Ob.Gyn News editorial advisory board.* “Another limitation is that only copper IUDs were used, but it is plausible that this result would apply to other IUDs as well. The study is innovative and important in being the first prospective study to evaluate the association between menstrual cup use and IUD expulsion.”

Dr. Long and two coauthors reported having no financial disclosures, but the remaining three authors reported having numerous potential conflicts of interest. Dr. Espey reported having no financial disclosures.

SOURCE: Long J et al. Obstet Gynecol. 2020 May;135.1S. doi: 10.1097/01.AOG.0000662872.89062.83.

*The article was updated on 4/28/2020.

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