Association between menorrhagia and risk of intrauterine device–related uterine perforation and device expulsion: results from the Association of Uterine Perforation and Expulsion of Intrauterine Device study

Published:March 12, 2022DOI:


      Intrauterine devices are effective instruments for contraception, and 1 levonorgestrel-releasing device is also indicated for the treatment of heavy menstrual bleeding (menorrhagia).


      To compare the incidence of intrauterine device expulsion and uterine perforation in women with and without a diagnosis of menorrhagia within the first 12 months before device insertion

      Study Design

      This was a retrospective cohort study conducted in 3 integrated healthcare systems (Kaiser Permanente Northern California, Southern California, and Washington) and a healthcare information exchange (Regenstrief Institute) in the United States using electronic health records. Nonpostpartum women aged ≤50 years with intrauterine device (eg, levonorgestrel or copper) insertions from 2001 to 2018 and without a delivery in the previous 12 months were studied in this analysis. Recent menorrhagia diagnosis (ie, recorded ≤12 months before insertion) was ascertained from the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth and Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification codes. The study outcomes, viz, device expulsion and device-related uterine perforation (complete or partial), were ascertained from electronic medical records and validated in the data sources. The cumulative incidence and crude incidence rates with 95% confidence intervals were estimated. Cox proportional hazards models estimated the crude and adjusted hazard ratios using propensity score overlap weighting (13–16 variables) and 95% confidence intervals.


      Among 228,834 nonpostpartum women, the mean age was 33.1 years, 44.4% of them were White, and 31,600 (13.8%) had a recent menorrhagia diagnosis. Most women had a levonorgestrel-releasing device (96.4% of those with and 78.2% of those without a menorrhagia diagnosis). Women with a menorrhagia diagnosis were likely to be older, obese, and have dysmenorrhea or fibroids. Women with a menorrhagia diagnosis had a higher intrauterine device–expulsion rate (40.01 vs 10.92 per 1000 person-years) than those without, especially evident in the first few months after insertion. Women with a menorrhagia diagnosis had a higher cumulative incidence (95% confidence interval) of expulsion (7.00% [6.70–7.32] at 1 year and 12.03% [11.52–12.55] at 5 years) vs those without (1.77% [1.70–1.84] at 1 year and 3.69% [3.56–3.83] at 5 years). The risk of expulsion was increased for women with a menorrhagia diagnosis vs for those without (adjusted hazard ratio, 2.84 [95% confidence interval, 2.66–3.03]). The perforation rate was low overall (<1/1000 person-years) but higher in women with a diagnosis of menorrhagia vs in those without (0.98 vs 0.63 per 1000 person-years). The cumulative incidence (95% confidence interval) of uterine perforation was slightly higher for women with a menorrhagia diagnosis (0.09% [0.06–0.14] at 1 year and 0.39% [0.29–0.53] at 5 years) than those without it (0.07% [0.06–0.08] at 1 year and 0.28% [0.24–0.33] at 5 years). The risk of perforation was slightly increased in women with a menorrhagia diagnosis vs in those without (adjusted hazard ratio, 1.53; 95% confidence interval, 1.10–2.13).


      The risk of expulsion is significantly higher in women with a recent diagnosis of menorrhagia. Patient education and counseling regarding the potential expulsion risk is recommended at insertion. The absolute risk of perforation for women with a recent diagnosis of menorrhagia is very low. The increased expulsion and perforation rates observed are likely because of causal factors of menorrhagia.

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