Don’t wait to sit down with your teenager and discuss safe sex practices and the possibility of birth control. And don’t forget to talk about emergency contraception and the use of condoms for protection against sexually transmitted diseases. These discussions aren’t easy – but they are important.
Abstinence – Typical use failure rate: 0%
Not having sex, also called abstinence, is the only surefire way to avoid a pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases, like HPV. Some strains of HPV have been linked to cervical cancer.
Birth control pills – Typical use failure rate: 9%
Pills are one of the most popular forms of birth control because they’re effective, convenient, safe to use and easy to obtain with a prescription. Women take one pill each day, which delivers hormones that prevent eggs from leaving the ovaries and makes cervical mucus thicker, which keeps sperm from getting to the eggs. Combination hormone pills contain both estrogen and progestin. Some are progestin-only pills.
There are many additional benefits of birth control pills, including reduced menstrual cramps, lighter periods and some protection against pelvic inflammatory disease. Some types even help reduce acne, prevent bone thinning and alleviate premenstrual symptoms. Certain types let you have just four periods a year. However, there can be some side effects of birth control pills, like bleeding between periods, nausea and breast tenderness, which usually only last for the first few months.
IUDs and implants – Typical use failure rate: 0.05% for implants, 0.2-0.8% for UIDs
Intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants are known as long-acting, reversible contraceptives. Doctors often prescribe them first.
Why? You don’t have to think about them in the heat of the moment or remember to take a pill every day. And they work extremely well at preventing pregnancies. Less than 1 in every 100 females with an IUD or birth control implant will get pregnant during a year.
Birth control shot – Typical use failure rate: 6%
The birth control shot (Depo-Provera) is a good option for women who aren’t good at remembering to take a pill every day, since the injection is once every three months. The shot contains the hormone progestin to help prevent against pregnancy by working in the same way that birth control pills do.
In addition to effectively preventing pregnancy, the shot can also protect against endometrial cancer and iron-deficiency anemia. It has possible side effects like weight gain and irregular menstrual bleeding.
Birth control vaginal ring – Typical use failure rate: 9%
The birth control vaginal ring (NuvaRing), is a small, flexible ring that a woman puts into her vagina for three weeks every month. It’s easy to obtain with a prescription and is very effective. It works by releasing progestin and estrogen, and therefore has many of the same benefits and side effects as the pill and the shot. It may also cause increased vaginal discharge, vaginal irritation or infection.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.