Bacteria isolated from 108 intra-uterine contraceptive devices (IUCD) removed from patients with pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), haemorrhage, pregnancy and from asymptomatic women, and from the genital tracts of 66 healthy controls not wearing an IUCD, were studied. No significant differences were found in the types of micro-organisms or isolation rates from IUCDs removed from women in the various clinical groups. The isolation rate of anaerobic bacteria from IUCDs removed from asymptomatic wearers was significantly lower than that from controls, with the exception of the isolation rate of actinomyces which was significantly higher in IUCD wearers and was recovered only from IUCDs. The isolation rates of the different bacterial species varied with the duration of the device The presence of a copper IUCD altered the bacterial flora of the female genital tract. The insertion of such a device and the ecological changes that follow play a crucial role in the development of PID.


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