IUDs Safe, Effective Birth Control for Teens, Study Finds

A new research study published in the journal Obstetrics and Gynecology has found that intrauterine devices, or IUDs, are safe and effective for teenage girls.  The findings are based on analysis of more than 90,000 women who used the contraceptive device.  More from Reuters:

Researchers found less than 1 percent of all women developed serious complications from the devices, such as pelvic inflammatory disease, regardless of their age.

And teens were only slightly more likely than older women to lose their periods or become pregnant while using an intrauterine device (IUD), according to findings published in Obstetrics & Gynecology.

“It shows exactly what many of us have thought all along, that IUDs are great options for teens,” said James Trussell, who studies birth control methods at Princeton University in New Jersey.

IUDs include the hormone-releasing Mirena, which can prevent pregnancy for five years, and a copper version, sold as ParaGard, which is effective for 10 years. The devices cost a few hundred dollars each, not including doctors’ charges for inserting them.

Evidence has been mounting that new IUDs are safe and effective in preventing pregnancy. But some doctors have been difficult to convince since an older and badly-designed version of the IUD, the Dalkon Shield, caused serious infections and even deaths in the 1970s.

In guidelines published last year, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists said IUDs and contraceptive implants should now be considered one of the best birth control options for teens because they are reliable and reversible.

Image:  Teenage girl and her doctor, via Shutterstock

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