Sexual development is a milestone in a child’s life that can begin as early as age ten. While some of the most notable signs of puberty tend to occur later in the teen years, children should learn about sexual health at the onset of this developmental phase.
Children going through puberty should be aware of the risks of engaging in sexual activity. Such risks are sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) and sexually transmitted infections (STIs). Issues exclusive to females are an unwanted pregnancy or contracting cervical cancer from an HPV (human papillomavirus) infection.
Whether or not an adolescent participates in sexual activity is a personal matter, and you help protect them from harm when you equip them with the knowledge and tools needed to make the right choices. Access to contraceptives is a critical tool for sexual health – using them properly protects the health and future of adolescents.
This guide provides what you need to know about the contraceptives available for your teen and where your child can obtain sexual health services.
Where to Go for Adolescent Medical Care Services
Pediatricians provide medical care at all stages of a child’s life – from the time they are babies and throughout the teen years. Because sexual health is a key aspect of a child’s development, pediatricians are prepared to provide sexual health services for teens.
A child’s doctor supports their sexual health by providing counseling on safe sex, STD prevention, and access to the right contraceptives for their needs. A pediatrician also educates adolescents on how to use contraceptives properly and advises them on both the benefits and the potential side effects. Pediatricians should also stay up to date with the latest research findings on each method of contraception.
Contraceptives for Teens
There are many birth control methods available to adolescents who are sexually active or may become sexually active. Teens can decide on which form of contraception to use based on both effectiveness and personal preference.
There are three types of contraceptives available for teens: long-acting reversible contraceptives, short-acting hormonal contraceptives, or barrier methods.
Long-acting Reversible Contraceptives
Long-acting contraceptives are among the safest and most effective forms of pregnancy prevention. Depending on which one is used, Intrauterine devices (IUDs) and implants can provide birth control for up to 10 years.
Once the contraceptive device is put in place, it continues to work with no maintenance needed. Such implants prevent pregnancy by preventing ovulation with the release of the hormone progestin. However, rather than have the progestin hormone, one IUD is made of copper to repel sperm.
Short-acting Hormonal Contraceptives
Short-acting hormonal contraceptives come in the form of birth control pills, mini-pills, patches, vaginal rings, or injections. Birth control pills are taken daily, patches are replaced weekly, the vaginal ring is changed out monthly, and hormonal injections are administered every three months. Short-acting hormonal methods of birth control halt ovulation through the release of hormones such as estrogen or progestin or a combination of both.
Barrier methods of contraception block the sperm in the vagina and must be used each time a person has sex. Condoms are the only method of contraception that also protects from STDs. For this reason, using a barrier method combined with short-acting or long-acting contraception is often recommended to reduce the chance of pregnancy as much as possible.
Other barrier methods include the sponge, cervical cap, or diaphragm that work best when combined with a spermicide (a gel or cream that kills sperm). A diaphragm is dome-shaped, while a cervical cap is shaped like a sailor’s hat, and both are made of silicone to cover the cervix. However, the sponge is made of plastic foam that is also inserted to cover the cervix.
With so many options to choose from, selecting the right one necessitates the help of a doctor. While some need to be implanted by a doctor, others will require a prescription. For the best sexual health outcome for your child, choose a pediatrician in Purchase, New York who specializes in providing adolescent medical care for teens and young adults.
Pediatrician for Teen Medical Care in Purchase, NY
At BridgeSpan Medicine, our board-certified pediatricians provide medical care services to teens and young adults. We offer tailored care and treatment plans for each adolescent child, from sexual health and gynecological services to immunizations and nutrition counseling. We are committed to helping your child be as healthy and as informed as possible so they can thrive.
If you have any questions or would like to schedule a consultation, call our Purchase, NY pediatric clinic today at (914)-698-5544 or use our convenient online appointment request form. We look forward to being your child’s ally for better sexual health.
Adolescent medical care –https://www.bridgespanmedicine.com/services/adolescent-medical-care
Purchase, NY pediatric clinic-https://www.bridgespanmedicine.com/