These days it seems that more and more children are having s*x at a very young age. It is hard to stop them from having s*x, but it is important to talk to them about birth control. Some teens aren’t responsible enough to remember a pill every day. IUDs are a popular form of birth control as they stay in the uterus for years. No reminders needed. But are they safe for teenagers?
Doctors have been reluctant to give teenagers the IUD. Today’s IUDs are much better than they used to be and have been found to be perfectly safe for teenagers in one of the largest IUD studies that has ever been done.
Dr. Abbey Berenson was the lead researcher on the study. She and her colleagues studied over 90,000 insurance claims from women ages 15-44 who had the IUD inserted between 2002 and 2009. They looked at discontinuations, failures, and complications in the first year. They broke the results down by age and what type of IUD they had, either copper or hormonal.
Less than 1% of the women in the study experienced serious complications. Early discontinuation rates for teenagers were not that much different from women ages 25-44. Teenagers did however experience dysmenorrhea (pain with menstruation) as well as amenorrhea (absence of periods). Neither is a serious or harmful side effect. The IUDs were well-received by most teen girls.
The birth control pill is still the most popular option for teens. More than half of the almost 3 million teenage girls who have s*x use them. As time moves on however young women are exploring the other options available to them such as the IUD and the implant (a small rod that is inserted under the skin and releases the hormones).
Most of the fears about the safety of the IUD date back to the 1970s with a form of the IUD called the Dalkon Shield which caused infection and even death. That has since been removed from the market and the new IUDs are much safer.