IUD vs Birth Control Pills: Which Is Right for My Teen?

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IUD vs Birth Control Pills: Which Is Right for My Teen?

In a world with many effective birth control options, you’ve narrowed it down to two of the most popular choices: either an IUD or the pill. How do you know which one is best for your teen? The answer depends on several factors.

Even if your teenaged girl isn’t sexually active at this time, you may want her to be on effective birth control… just in case. Getting birth control from her doctor also allows your teen to have discussions about what she needs to do to stay safe and protected from sexually transmitted diseases (STDs).

In addition to protecting against an unwanted pregnancy, hormonal birth control may help regulate your teen’s cycle. If she’s currently battling heavy periods, cramps, breakouts, or other signs of premenstrual distress, birth control can give her relief.

At Academy Park Pediatrics, PCour team of expert pediatricians and nurse practitioners understands that talking about birth control may be uncomfortable for both you and your teen. You can have private, discreet discussions and consultations with our experts at either of our Lakewood and Highlands Ranch, Colorado offices. 

Which is best for your teen: an intrauterine device (IUD) or birth control pill? The following brief may help you decide. Whatever choice you make, please also supply your teen with plenty of condoms. Condoms are the only type of birth control that protects against STDs. 

Advantages of the IUD

An IUD is a small T-shaped device that your teen’s doctor inserts in your teen’s uterus. The biggest advantage of the IUD is that your teen doesn’t have to remember to take a pill. Once it’s inserted, she can forget about it until it’s time to replace the IUD or she’s ready to become pregnant.

There are two types of IUDs:

Copper, non-hormonal IUD

A copper IUD is 99% effective against pregnancy. It works by making the uterine environment inhospitable to sperm, which are adversely affected by copper. A copper IUD can stay in place for up to 10 years. A copper IUD doesn’t change your teen’s normal menstrual cycle.

Hormonal IUD

Hormonal IUDs can remain in place for up to five years.They’re made of plastic that’s embedded with time-released hormones. They thicken cervical mucus so that sperm can’t travel to the eggs. They also thin the endometrium so that a fertilized egg can’t implant in the lining. 

Unlike the copper IUDs, hormonal IUDs do change your cycle. This may help if your child has period pain or other menstruation-related symptoms. They’re also 99% effective.

Advantages of the pill

The pill is the birth-control option that revolutionized women’s lives when it was first approved by the FDA in 1960. By 1965, one out of five married women under age 45 in the United States had used the pill. By 1967, more than 13 million women around the world were using it.

Even though you have to remember to take it daily, once you decide you want to become pregnant, you don’t have to return to the doctor’s office, as you would with an IUD. Instead, you just stop taking the pill. 

Of course, that can also be a disadvantage for a teen. If your teen often forgets to do their chores or misplaces their retainer, then the pill probably isn’t the best option for them. 

When you take birth control pills, you must take them every day, even when you’re menstruating. If used daily, birth control pills are 99% effective. However, women of all ages sometimes forget to take a pill, which is why it’s considered only 91% effective.

We now have two types of pills: the combined pill (i.e., contains both progestin and estrogen) and the mini pill (i.e., contains only progestin):

Combined pill

The combined pill is the most common type of birth control pill. It either stops or slows down an egg that’s released from an ovary. It also thickens cervical mucus and thins the endometrial lining, so it can’t grow an embryo.

Mini pill

The mini pill does everything the combined pill does. However, it also sometimes stops your period altogether. It’s even more important to remember to take the mini pill daily — and even at the same time every day. Missing one pill by even three hours increases the risk of pregnancy. 

Not yet sure?

If neither the pill nor an IUD seem to match your teen’s needs, we have other options for them, too. We also offer Nexplanon®, which is a long-term implant, and the Depo-Provera® shot, which must be repeated every three months. 

Keep your teen safe from unwanted pregnancy by booking a contraceptive consultation today. You can contact our team by phone or online form.