“My fourteen-year-old daughter died due to wrong medication. She became pregnant and couldn’t discuss it with me. If only proper information about contraceptive tablets or appropriate sex education were available, I would have not have lost her.” This is a mother pouring out her regret.
Teenage can be a risky time. Changes that take place during puberty are normal and healthy. But the question is, do teens always react to these changes in a safe and healthy manner?
Hormonal surges may lead the young on the threshold of adulthood to take chances that can affect their future. They try to explore almost everything and sex tops the list.
Usually, parents don’t feel comfortable talking about sex with their children. In such a circumstance, it requires proper counselors to address the concerns of adolescents, who should be made aware of safe sexual behavior. Herein comes the knowledge about birth control methods.
There are several ways of avoiding pregnancy.
- Contraceptive Implant (Implanon or Nexplanon):
Meaning: It is a thin and flexible implant. It contains a hormone and is placed under the skin of the upper arm. It contains a progestin hormone that prevents ovary from releasing an egg. However, it doesn’t provide any safety from sexual transmitted diseases (STDs), so the use of condom is a must.
Benefits: Provides long-term birth control and no need to replace it before 3 years.
Side-effects: One may have irregular bleeding. Weight gain, acne and headaches are other side-effects.
- Progestin Injection (Depo-Provera):
Meaning: It’s an injection that prevents the ovaries from releasing an egg. It is good for three months but again doesn’t provide any protection from STDs.
Benefits: It protects you against endometrial cancer and anemia. You may have less cramp during periods.
Side-effects: Apart from weight gain and irregular bleeding, fertility may take up to two years to return to normal once this injection is discontinued. It sometimes increases the risk of blood clots.
- Intrauterine Device (IUD):
Meaning: It is a T-shaped device that is inserted by the doctor into the uterus. The IUD doesn’t provide any protection from STDs.
- COPPER T IUD: It doesn’t contain hormones and doesn’t need any replacement for 10 years.
- Levonorgestrel IUD: It contains a hormone and need not to be replaced for 3-5 years.
Benefits: It is a safe and an effective method for long-term birth control. You get an option for both hormonal and non-hormonal types of IUD.
Side-effects: You may feel pain for a short-duration after inserting IUD. Copper IUD may increase menstrual cramping and heavier bleeding. With Levonorgestrel IUD, you may have irregular bleeding or spotting.
- NuvaRing or Contraceptive Vaginal Ring:
Meaning: This ring is placed in vagina once in a month. NuvaRing contains hormones that protect ovaries from releasing an egg. This ring is placed for 3 weeks and then removed for 1 week. This ring doesn’t not protect from STDs. So use of Condom is recommended.
Benefits: You can get relief from acne and may have less menstruation cramps.
Side-effects: You have to remember to replace the ring each month. Other side-effects include vaginal discharge, nausea and sometimes breast tenderness.
- Birth control pills(BCP):
Meaning: There are two types of birth control pills:
- The combination pills contain estrogen and progesterone. These are two female sex hormones that controls the menstrual cycle.
- The progestin-only pill. In very rare scenarios it is recommended by experts. The doctor specifies what a girl should do if she misses one dose.
Benefits: You may have lighter periods and less menstruation cramps nod acnes may improve.
Side-effects: BCP has serious side effects like blood clot strokes, hypertension and even migraine headaches.
- Female condoms:
Meaning: It is a pouch with two flexible rings. One fits inside the vagina and other on the outside. It is inserted in the vagina and the closed end shields the cervix, the sheath lines the vaginal walls and the ringed open end hangs outside the vagina that covers the labia.
Benefits: it is available without a prescription and is the only female contraceptive that fights against STDs.
Side-effects: There is a higher risk that it may slip during intercourse. Sometimes it is difficult t o insert it.
IT’S YOUR CHOICE: To have or not to have sex is your choice! But what is most important is that the right information should come from the right source and at the right time. A doctor’s or an expert’s advice is always recommended before using any birth control method.