There are many reasons that a teen may need to know more about birth control. From preventing pregnancy with a birth control IUD if they are sexually active, to regulating their periods with birth control pills or shots, your OB/GYN can provide a lot of answers and solutions.
There are a number of factors that may make one birth control option better than others. When choosing an option, ask yourself a few questions:
- Do you want to have children within the next few years?
- Can you, or do you want to, remember to take a pill every day?
- What effect might various hormones have on your body?
Discuss these with your doctor, and let them help guide you. Remember that birth control isn’t just about preventing pregnancy. Certain types of birth control may also help alleviate premenstrual mood changes, regulate women’s periods, decrease periods, or eliminate them altogether, among other benefits.
Let’s take a look at some of the best birth control options for teens, so that you can be better prepared to talk to your physician.
Hormonal Birth Control
Probably the best-known type of hormonal birth control are birth control pills. As the name suggests, hormonal birth control options use hormones to help prevent pregnancy. This can be a great option for regulating periods and other uses as well.
- The patch: A birth control patch is stuck to the skin and releases hormones to prevent pregnancy.
- The ring: A vaginal ring, like NuvaRing, is a small bendable ring that the patient inserts into her vagina. The ring releases hormones that control pregnancy.
- The shot: A birth control shot, like Depo-Provera, uses progestin to stop ovulation and prevent pregnancy.
Your doctor can help you to understand which of these options may be best for you, and what birth control side-effects you might experience.
Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptives (LARCs)
Research published by the National Institute of Health suggests that a type of birth control called “long-acting reversible contraceptives,” or LARCs, “should be considered first-line options for teens seeking contraception.” The study also suggests that these methods of birth control may also help prevent endometrial cancer and cervical cancer.
- Intrauterine devices (IUDs): Birth control IUDs “are small devices that are placed in the uterus by a physician, and they release either copper or progestin to prevent pregnancy.”
- Implants: Implants such as Nexplanon are inserted into a woman’s arm and release a hormone that stops an egg from being released.
Again, there are pros and cons of LARCs for teens, so your doctor will need to help you to better understand which may be best for you.
For those who are sexually active, barrier methods can help prevent pregnancy and (in some cases, to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. A few examples of these include:
- Condoms (male and female)
- Birth control sponges
- Cervical caps
To learn more about birth control for teens, visit Virginia Physicians for Women today.