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Birth Control Methods for Teens

Birth control options for teens and availability have improved exponentially since your mom or grandmother were teenagers. The “pill” wasn’t unveiled for contraception until 1960, and remained controversial for years after its introduction. Today, there are upwards of a dozen safe and effective options for teens —which can make it overwhelming for teens to make the best choice. 

According to a report from the CDC, about 99.4% of sexually active teens ages 15-19 use some form of birth control. But pregnancy prevention isn’t the only reason teens seek birth control. As a matter-of-fact, some teens use birth control for other benefits. These benefits include: 

  • Regular Periods: Have you ever been caught unprepared for your period due to an irregular cycle or heavy bleeding? Birth control pills can help regulate your period, so you know exactly when to expect your cycle, and can be assured the bleeding will be light. (Goodbye fears of bleeding through your favorite white skirt in class!) 
     
  • Cramps and PMS:  Pain, moodiness and bloating got you down once a month? Birth control pills may alleviate many of the symptoms associated with PMS, making every day a better day!
  • Clear Up Skin: One of the most common reasons teens seek birth control is to clear up unwanted acne associated with the hormone changes of teen years. 
     
  • Help with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS), and Endometriosis: PCOS and endometriosis are conditions that can be the cause of distressful symptoms, including pain, bloating, infrequent cycles and acne.  The hormones in birth control can prevent and alleviate these symptoms.  
     
  • Cancer prevention: Research indicates that women who use birth control throughout their lifetime may lower the risk of ovarian and endometrial cancer. 

Whether you’re seeking relief from another issue or want to practice safe sex, there are a variety of safe options available to teens, including: 

  • Oral Contraceptives: Most commonly known as “the birth control pill,” oral contraceptives need to be taken daily. These pills contain estrogen and progesterone, the hormones our bodies naturally produce each month. Some teens with hectic schedules often worry they will “forget” to take the pill. According to the CDC, only about 56% of sexually active teens use the pill, this method of birth control is 91% effective in preventing pregnancy.
  • Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptive (LARC):  LARCs are highly recommended by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG) and include implants and intrauterine devices. An IUD is a small, flexible, T-shaped device that is inserted into the uterus. This birth control method is effective for 3-10 years, depending on the device that is chosen. Nexplanon is a small, flexible rod placed under the skin of your arm and is effective for up to for three years. According to ACOG, LARCs offer the most effective pregnancy prevention methods, with less than one pregnancy per 100 women per year. 
      
  • The Patch: This adhesive patch releases estrogen and progesterone to prevent pregnancy, similar to the pill. If using the patch, you’ll need to change it weekly. (And don’t worry, you can shower with it on!) This method of birth control is 91% effective. 
     
  • Vaginal Ring: This flexible, plastic ring is inserted into the vagina and changed monthly. Benefits are not having to remember a pill every day! According to ACOG, this method of birth control is 91% effective. 
     
  • Depo-Provera Injection: This progesterone-only injection is given every three months at your provider’s office. On the upside, it’s good for three months. On the downside, depending on where your provider is located, getting to your appointment every three months may not always be easy. According to ACOG, this method of birth control is 94% effective. 
     
  • Barrier Methods: Condoms and female condoms can also be used to prevent pregnancy. However, they are only 80% effective. 

REMEMBER THAT HORMONAL METHODS OF BIRTH CONTROL DO NOT PREVENT STD TRANSMISSION. IT IS IMPERATIVE TO USED CONDOMS TO PREVENT GETTING AN STD.

No matter your reason for starting birth control, it is important to meet with your provider to discuss the option that is best for your body and lifestyle. Learn more about the birth control options available through Southdale ObGyn. 

group of teenagers walking down street talking