Teenage girls looking for birth control should be encouraged to consider the long-lasting "set and forget" methods, according to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG).
In new guidelines, ACOG says IUDs and contraceptive implants should be considered "first-line" birth control options for teenagers. The group issued similar advice for adult women last year (see Reuters Health story of June 21, 2011).
IUDs, or intrauterine devices, are implanted in the uterus, where they release small amounts of either copper or the hormone progestin to prevent pregnancy. The contraceptive implant, about the size of a matchstick, is inserted under the skin of the arm, where it releases controlled amounts of progestin.
In the U.S., IUDs and implants are much less popular than birth control pills and condoms for contraception. Many experts would like to see that change, since IUDs and implants - known collectively as long-acting reversible contraceptives - are far more reliable.
"Nearly all women who are sexually active are good candidates for long-acting reversible contraception," said Dr. David L. Eisenberg, an assistant professor of obstetrics and gynecology at Washington University in St. Louis School of Medicine.
"It's exciting that ACOG is being so declarative that we should be treating adolescents the same as adults" when it comes to birth control options, said Eisenberg, who was not involved in writing the new statement.
IUDs and implants are so effective because they are "set and forget" contraceptives, and are not dependent on couples using them correctly.
That could make them especially good choices for teenagers, Eisenberg noted, since teens often use birth control inconsistently or not at all. Read more at Reuters Health