Are Teens Candidates for IUD's for Birth Control?

Yes! Long-acting reversible methods are “top-tier contraceptives based on effectiveness, with pregnancy rates of less than 1 percent per year for perfect use and typical use,” members of the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologist Committee on Adolescent Health Care wrote in a recent opinion, posted on the organization's website. I am one of the members of this committee responsible for this opinion.

Long-acting reversible contraceptives include the IUD ( intrauterine device, both the Mirena with a progestin component and the ParaGard) as well as contraceptive implants such as Implanon or Nexplanon. These have excellent effectiveness for the prevention of pregnancy as well as excellent safety for the patients.

There have been many studies looking at the risks and effectiveness of these devices in all women. In light of the high rate of unintended pregnancies in teens, they are especially useful, as they are also known as “forgettable contraception.”  Once inserted by a health care provider, they are effective for up to three years for Implanon/Nexplanon, five years for Mirena and up to 10 years for the ParaGard. The cost is more expensive initially, but over the long term it can actually be less expensive than other options.

There are side effects with all of these options, so it is important to discuss with your health care provider if this method is right for you or your teen. It is also important to check with your insurance carrier the financial implications of your choice.

The link to the complete ACOG Committee Opinion is listed below.

By Suzanne Swanson, MD, pediatric gynecologist, ThedaCare Physicians-Pediatrics in Appleton.