Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Eur J Obstet Gynecol Reprod Biol. 2013 Jul;169(2):130-42. doi: 10.1016/j.ejogrb.2013.02.018. Epub 2013 Mar 14.

Medical methods for cervical ripening before the removal of intrauterine devices in postmenopausal women: a systematic review.

Author information

Department of Gynaecology and Obstetrics, The Sixth People's Hospital, Shanghai Jiao Tong University School of Medicine, Shanghai, PR China.


In China, most women with intrauterine devices (IUDs) ask to have them removed following the menopause. As the cervix is stenotic after the menopause and most IUDs do not have a thread attached, various medical methods are used for cervical ripening prior to IUD removal. A systematic review of the relevant literature was conducted to compare different medical methods for cervical priming with no treatment, or with other methods, prior to IUD removal in postmenopausal women. Multiple electronic databases including the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, EMBASE, MEDLINE, the WHO Reproductive Health Library (2011) and the Chinese Biomedical Literature Database were searched systematically. Reference lists of articles published in English or Chinese between 1980 and 2011 were searched. All randomized controlled trials (RCTs) on IUD removal following the menopause using medical agents compared with no treatment, or with other treatments, were included. Outcomes were the ease of IUD removal, need for forced cervical dilatation, cervical width, procedure time, severe pain and any side-effects. Data were processed using RevMan 5 software. Thirty original RCTs were eligible for inclusion. Most medical agents such as oestrogens, mifepristone, misoprostol and methyl carboprost were highly effective for facilitating IUD removal, and reduced the need for further dilatation during the procedure. In particular, treatment with mifepristone or misoprostol prior to IUD removal was found to increase the width of the cervical canal and reduce the procedure time. Mifepristone was more effective than vaginal misoprostol for cervical dilatation, but it showed similar effectiveness to misoprostol and nilestriol in terms of the ease of IUD removal. Sublingual misoprostol was superior to oral misoprostol for facilitating IUD removal. A dose of misoprostol as low as 200μg was effective for cervical priming. For vaginal and oral misoprostol, the optimum times of application were 2-3h and 1 day prior to the procedure, respectively. All the prophylactic medical methods were able to alleviate pain during IUD removal, and vaginal misoprostol was more effective than nilestriol. Uterine injury was more common with no treatment and with nilestriol. Gastrointestinal side-effects such as nausea and diarrhoea were common with oral misoprostol and vaginal misoprostol, respectively. Therefore, mifepristone or sublingual misoprostol should be the medical treatments of choice. Oestrogen regimens might be alternatives when mifepristone or misoprostol are contraindicated, and there is a need for further study on combined regimens for cervical priming.


Cervical ripening; Intrauterine device removal; Medical methods; Postmenopausal women

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for Elsevier Science
    Loading ...
    Support Center