A fear of complications from intrauterine devices (IUDs) is prompting many teenage girls to choose condoms or birth control pills as their preferred method for birth control. But Dr. Umana, your Columbus gynecologist, reports that the long-term contraceptives are safe for teenage girls who are considering their birth control options.
Research shows that fewer than 1 percent of the almost 100,000 women who participated in recent studies developed serious difficulties – such as pelvic inflammatory disease – from these devices, regardless of their age. They also found that teens were only slightly more likely (than older women) to skip their periods or become pregnant while using the IUD’s.
The research seems to show exactly what your Columbus gynecologist tells his patients – that IUD’s are viable options for teens because they are reliable and reversible. There are also IUDs that include a component that can prevent pregnancy for five years and a copper type that is effectual for 10 years.
Between 2 and 6 per cent of women reported pain during menstruation or absence of their periods while using an IUD. Both symptoms were 30 to 40 per cent more common among the teens than the older women.
The very serious concerns that physicians had with the older IUDs just really are not appearing to be concerns with the newer IUDs. The hormone-releasing IUD was tied to fewer complications and discontinuations than the copper version.
And the slight increase in side effects among teens wasn’t concerning. Some conditions, such as not having periods, might actually be seen as a good thing among young women and save them money on feminine protection products.
Your Columbus gynecologist would recommend an IUD to any sexually-active teenager. Another consideration would be a birth control implant, which is a matchstick-sized rod that is inserted in a woman’s arm to prevent her from getting pregnant. It, too, is effective, safe and convenient. Either would make excellent options for teens who don’t want to get pregnant. The best candidates are teens who want a long-acting form of contraception and are not at high risk of sexually-transmitted infections.
Women of any age who are sexually active need to find the birth control method that is best for them. Young women who are interested in IUDs should discuss the possible side effects with their Columbus gynecologist.