IUD's Now Recommended for Birth Control in Teen Girls

Long recommended only for women with one sex partner who have previously given birth, the American Academy of Obstetricians and Gynecologists is now encouraging IUD's for birth control in teenage girls.  Nearly 100 percent effective at preventing pregnancy, the organization believes that IUD's and implants will prove a more effective form of birth control than "the pill, the patch and wishful thinking" most commonly used by teen girls for birth control. 

Government surveys show that 43 percent of girls ages 15 to 19 have had sex.  Although most use some form of birth control, contraceptive pills have only a 91 percent efficacy rate in preventing pregnancy.  Users must remember to take their pill at the same time everyday to work most effectively.  Forgetting to take the pill or inconsistent use can lead to unplanned pregnancy.

This is why the ACOG is recommending the IUD for teenage girls.  IUD's and implants can be inserted and prevent pregnancy for up to 10 years.  Should a woman decide she want to become pregnant, the device can be removed and the user can become pregnant very soon after removal.  

Although IUD's and implants are statistically effective in preventing pregnancy, like all medications and medical devices they come with potential side effects.  The American Academy of Pediatrics is somewhat reluctant to accept widespread IUD use in teens as it has been linked to increased risk of pelvic infection and infertility in the past.  Additional risks of IUD include heavy bleeding and menstrual cramps, uterine perforation and expulsion of the IUD.  About 2 to 10 out of 100 IUD's are expelled from the uterus.  If this goes unnoticed, unplanned pregnancy can occur. 

Like all public health campaigns involving teen pregnancy, the recommendation for IUD's has been met with controversy.  IUD's do not prevent STD's so there is concern that users will not take precautions to prevent infection.  IUD's cost hundreds of dollars leading to fears that many girls will not be able to afford this form of birth control.  Implants and IUD's are more invasive than birth control pills causing some women and girls shy away from them as a primary form of birth control.  

What do you think about the new guidelines from the American Academy of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommending IUD's as first-line birth control in teen girls?  What will you recommend to your adolescent patients?


For some reason encouraging 15 year olds to get IUD's just doesn't seem right...