Pain associated with an IUD insertion is a known barrier to intrauterine contraception use in the UK. It is good practice for health professionals to discuss pain relief and use with women before inserting an IUD.

The researchers aimed to determine the prevalence of and reasons for and against local anesthesia (LA) for IUD insertion.

The researchers conducted a survey using paper questionnaires to determine local anesthesia (LA) use for IUD insertion by UK health professionals.

Overall, approximately one quarter (n=129) of all respondents use LA routinely, one quarter hardly ever or never uses LA, while the remaining half use it sometimes. Use of LA was more prevalent among health professionals who worked in integrated sexual and reproductive health and contraception-only services than general practice. UK health professionals who hardly ever used LA to insert IUDs were more likely to be working in general rule.

The study concluded that more UK health professionals need to routinely discuss pain relief and offer this to their patients before IUD insertion as part of the care pathway for patients who choose to use intrauterine contraception.