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IUDs Safe and Effective for Teens

Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are now considered to be one of the most effective forms of preventing unintended pregnancies and are especially safe for teenagers, according to recent research by a top doctors group.

The study by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) looked at data from about 90,000 IUD users, aged 15-44, and found that fewer than 1 percent had any complications. The finding challenged former concerns that have persisted since the removal of harmful IUDs from the market in the 1970s. The organization recommends IUDs for sexually active teenagers, noting that younger women are well suited for long-term contraceptives because most teen pregnancies are unintended.  Until this new research, fears about medical complications tended to limit the use of IUDs.

 Unintended pregnancy rates are particularly high among sexually active teenagers, yet most teens are not using, and may not even know about, long-acting reversible birth control methods such as the IUD. Meanwhile, in the last decade, the number of women choosing such methods has nearly quadrupled --  jumping from 2.4 percent in 2002 to 8.5 percent in 2009.

The IUD, a small T-shaped device which is placed in the uterus to prevent pregnancy, can last for up to 12 years, but be removed at any time.

According to the ACOG,  IUDs are the “best reversible methods for preventing unintentional pregnancy, rapid repeat pregnancy and abortion in young women.”

Why IUDs are an especially safe and recommended form of contraception for teenagers:

 

  • Don’t  have to remember to take a pill at the same time daily
  • Minimal – if any – complications
  • Provide years of worry-free birth control
  • Ensure higher levels of privacy as they don't require frequent follow-up appointments and can't be "discovered" in a teen's room (as pills might be)Cost effective, and in the long run, should cost less than other birth control methods
  • Fewer menstrual cramps, lighter periods
  • Ensure higher levels of privacy as they don't require frequent follow-up appointments and can't be "discovered" in a teen's room (as pills might be)

Learn more about IUDs and if this method is right for you.


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