Intrauterine devices (IUDs) are safe for teenage girls to use, but physicians continue to be wary of prescribing them for their young patients. A full report of this finding can be found in the April issue of Obstetrics & Gynecology.
No other study has been quite as large as this one with over 90,000 female respondents. For the study, Dr. Abbey Berenson and her team of the University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston studied medical insurance claims from 2002 to 2009. The team focused on women from age 15 to 44 who had an IUD. They were interested in whether the IUD failed, resulted in complications or was discontinued in the first year of use.
The Results of the Study
The researchers discovered that the IUDs resulted in serious complications in less than one percent of the sample. It didn’t matter how old the patient was or what kind of IUD was used. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved the use of hormonal IUDs (Mirena and Skyla) and copper IUDS (ParaGuard), and both were found to be safe for the patients participating in this study.
According to Dr. Petra Casey of the Mayo Clinic, physicians are reluctant to prescribe the IUD for teens because it’s assumed that they will have it removed because they dislike the device. However, the current study shows the opposite. Teenage subjects did not discontinue use of the IUD in greater numbers than respondents who ranged in age from 25 to 44.
IUDs Remain Unpopular
Although many studies have shown similar results, IUDs are the least likely form of birth control that people choose in the United States. Even the vasectomy and tubal ligation are selected more often than the IUD.
While most women favor other forms of birth control, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists would like to see an increase in the numbers of women who use the IUD. According to a statement released by the college last year, the IUD is one of the best ways to prevent pregnancy that is also reversible.
CNN Health also reported positive facts about the IUD. According to the 2012 edition of the New England Journal of Medicine, the pill is 20 times less effective for preventing unwanted pregnancies than the IUD. Even so, it cannot be said that the IUD does not have any side effects.
The Continuing Side Effects of the Dalkon Shield
The Dalkon Shield appears to be the reason that people shy away from the IUD. A device from the 1970s, the Dalkon Shield was found to be the cause of infection and the inability to have children in thousands of women. More than 200,000 lawsuits resulted from the use of this faulty IUD.
It’s not expected that modern IUDs will be the cause of so many lawsuits in the present day, but there have been over 45,000 complaints made against Bayer’s Mirena IUD. People have reported ectopic pregnancies, vaginal hemorrhaging and pelvic inflammatory disease among other complications while using this device. Because of these developments, several Mirena lawsuits have been consolidated in the federal court of the Southern District of New York.
Whether teens choose to use the IUD or not, Claire Brindis of the University of California, San Francisco would like to see more teens discuss the device with their doctors.
Authored By: Michelle London. Michelle is a journalist who contributes new health information across different websites and organizations.