The Centers for Disease Control reports that about 55 percent of teens have sex by the age of 18. Most use some form of contraception to prevent pregnancy or birth control, but these statistics raise the question, does contraception really work?
Let’s look at forms of contraception, the underlying reasons for effectiveness, and where you can find the best adolescent medicine doctors in Purchase, NY.
What Is Contraception?
This is a very basic but important question adolescents need to understand. Contraception is a reversible or permanent method of controlling when and if someone gets pregnant. Contraception can be used by couples who do not want to conceive at all, wish to postpone pregnancy until a future date, or want to plan or space, the number of children they have in their families.
What Are the Methods of Contraception?
Contraception comes in several forms–the most frequently heard of and effective (keeps eggs and sperm from uniting) is the birth control pill. This orally-taken or implant-delivered medication supplies female hormones, progestin, and estrogen and interrupts the monthly release of eggs from the ovaries.
Another common and effective method is the IUD or intrauterine device. This T-shaped copper or plastic device is inserted into the uterus and keeps sperm from fertilizing eggs. The plastic IUD contains a dose of female hormones. Like the pill, the IUD is reversible: however, it can be used for up to ten full years.
Finally, barrier methods of contraception have been around for generations. These include:
- Female diaphragms and sponges
- Female cervical caps
- Female condoms
- Male condoms
Barrier methods used before the sexual act are more readily available to consumers and have no medical side effects (as, for instance, the birth control pill can have).
Does Contraception Prevent Pregnancy?
No one method of birth control is 100 percent effective. However, statistics show that IUDs and “the pill” have the highest success rates–about 99 percent.
However, users of contraception play a significant role in its effectiveness. Any birth control method will prevent pregnancy only if it is used consistently and properly.
For example, birth control pills must be taken daily to be effective. Miss a dose or two, and the woman risks pregnancy. Or, if a condom is the preferred method, the couple must use one every time they have intercourse. If used only occasionally, a condom or other barrier method delivers far less effective and reliable birth control.
As such, ease and consistency of use and availability are important factors to consider. Education about contraception helps young people understand how birth control works and what method is best for the individual.
Contraception and Adolescent Sexual Health Services in Purchase, NY
At BridgeSpan Medicine, our six board-certified pediatricians understand the health needs of teens and young adults. They discuss matters of sexual health with compassion, understanding, and, best of all, accurate information. As always, we are available to parents and our young patients when physical, mental, and emotional challenges arise. We also emphasize preventive care through routine check-ups, immunizations, on-site lab tests, and more.
To learn more about contraception and other sexual health matters or for a confidential consultation with one of our healthcare providers, call us today at (914) 698-5544 or fill out our convenient online appointment request form.