Getting Sexually Active As A Teenager:
As a teenager, you may find it immensely gratifying to receive love and attention from someone of the opposite gender. Getting physically attracted to someone that you admire is natural during the teenage. However, both boys and girls need to understand the importance of contraception and practicing safe sex.
There is a general misconception that contraception and safe sex are just about avoiding pregnancy. While it is true that a teenage pregnancy can lead to severe physical and emotional stress, unsafe sex can also lead to several sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) that can be extremely challenging to cope with in the years to come.
The first thing that you have to understand is that you attain puberty, your body is ready to conceive and reproduce. In girls, the starting of menstruation is a signal to her active reproductive system, which can now produce eggs for fertilization by the sperm.
Similarly, for boy, the age of the puberty is defined by change in the voice, the growth of bodily hair, and few other physical changes.
Sexual relations between the teens who have reached the puberty require the contraception to avoid the pregnancy and other complications.
The basic aim of the contraception is to prevent the pregnancy. Contraception keeps egg and sperm apart, stops egg production, or prevents the fertilized egg from attaching to the lining of the uterus .
In the next section, you will read more about contraception options that are safe for you as well as the pros and cons of each of the method. It is best to consult parents or the doctor before choosing your preferred method of the birth control.
Birth Control Options/ Methods For Teenagers:
Choosing right contraception method is essential if you do not want any complication with your sexual or the reproductive health when you grow older.
The fact is that the sex and matters relating to it are still not discussed openly in most of the families, leaving children (teenagers) in state of the confusion regarding their sexuality and the sexual well-being.
Many parents find it very difficult matter to discuss at the home and hence, the contraception remains a taboo. If you are facing similar issues at the home, a pediatrician can be good source of information. You may feel more comfortable discussing with him than with your parents. The doctor will educate you about right sexual behavior as well as the various methods to prevent STDs. Your doctor will also help you by discussing various contraception methods and prescribe one that he believes is the most suitable for you.
Sexually the active teenagers can follow some of these effective birth control measures:
1. Contraceptive Implant:
The thin contraceptive implant, placed inside the skin of the upper arm, generates progestin, a hormone that prevents ovaries from releasing eggs. As flexible plastic piece is for the hormone adjustment, it cannot protect you from the STDs. Hence, the condoms need to be used even after having the implant.
Safe long-term birth control option.
An effective the birth control method without need for daily, weekly or the monthly routines.
You need to replace implant after three years.
May cause the irregular bleeding.
the Weight gain, the headache, and the acne are other common side effects.
2. Intrauterine Device (IUD):
This tiny T-shaped device is placed inside the uterus. This is only contraceptive, and does not protect you against STDs. Two types of the IUD are available as options:
Levonorgestrel IUD: contains hormones and needs replacement every three to five years.
Copper-T: is hormone-free, and needs to be replaced after ten years.
It is a safe and efficient.
With the Levonorgestrel IUD, teens can have easy periods with lesser cramping and blood flow.
There might be some cramping and pain immediately after insertion.
The Levonorgestrel IUD may cause irregular bleeding and some spotting initially.
With Copper-T, you may experience increased menstrual cramps and heavy bleeding. But this would eventually subside.
3. Progestin Injection:
This is a progesterone hormone shot that stops ovaries from releasing eggs. The effects of it are temporary and last for just about three months. It is not effective against STDs.
You need to take shot every three months, and hence, it offers relatively a short-term contraceptive solution.
If you have the iron deficiency, the contraception helps you avoid the anemia.It also prevents the endometrial cancer.
You may have a lighter period and less menstrual cramping.
May cause irregular bleeding and light spotting.
Once you discontinue this injection, it may take couple of years for your fertility to restore.
Might cause the blood clots.
4. Contraceptive Vaginal Ring:
Every month, this ring is placed in your vagina to prevent release of the eggs. The ring is put for about three weeks and removed during the menstrual week. This method also does not provide the protection against STDs.
Less menstrual cramps
Your acne will improve too
Requires the ring replacement every month and hence will necessitate regular visit to the doctor.
It may cause the tenderness in breasts, nausea and excess vaginal discharge.
Might cause blood clots.
5. Contraceptive Patch:
The contraceptive patch, place on your skin, supplies hormones to the body through skin. The hormones prevent release of eggs. In a given month, you need to replace the patch once a week for three weeks, and remove it during the week of your period. The patch doesn’t protect you from STDs.
Your menstrual cramps will not be severe.
You will notice your acne improving.
Since you need to replace patch regularly, you have to visit doctor every week.
The patch can be seen by others, if not hidden properly.
Might increase blood clots.
May cause skin irritation, nausea and tenderness in breasts.
6. Birth Control Pills:
Birth control pills are most common form of contraception method that the adolescent girls and the young women use. The pill comes in the two forms: the combination tablet containing estrogen and the progesterone and the progestin-only pill. You need to take the pill daily, at almost same time for it to prevent the unwanted conception. However, pill is ineffective against STDs.
Reduced menstrual cramps.
Improvement in acne.
Provides protection against endometrial cancer, ovarian cancer, and iron deficiency.
Increased risk of blood clots
You have to take it daily, and hence, it may not be the ideal contraceptive for teenagers, who tend to forget things
7. Male Condoms:
Men like using the condoms because it is an easy method of the contraception. Also, it puts them in control. This thin rubber or the latex cover over penis creates a barrier and prevents the sperm from entering girl’s vagina. Some of the male condoms have spermicides inside and outside to kill the sperms if the semen leaks out of the condom.
No prescription needed.
Easy to use and inexpensive.
Provides protection against STDs.
Can slip or even break, causing semen to enter the vagina. Hence, it is best to use the male condoms along with other contraceptive methods.
These are not for you if you are allergic to late
8. Female Condoms:
This is similar to the male condom but designed for women. Women use it as a pouch inside the vagina. This is only the contraceptive method for the women offering protection against the STDs.
No prescription required to get a female condom.
Provides protection against STDs.
Not always easy to use.
Costlier than a male condom.
May slip off during the act.
Among the various methods of contraception, the most common methods that adolescents use are:
- Birth control pills
- Birth control shot
- vaginal ring
Most of the teenage girls use these methods of the contraception, as they are easy to source and use.
Emergency Contraception Method:
There can be times when the regular contraception may not work properly. A condom may break or slip off, or the teen may not be very sure of the proper use of any other contraceptive method. In such cases, the teenage girls can resort to the emergency contraceptive.
There are the several brands of the emergency contraceptive pills that you can purchase. Read the instructions carefully before you buy OTC pills, as you have to take pill within a certain number of the hours of having sexual intercourse.
Most Effective Birth Control For Teens:
The most effective birth control method for the teenagers, as prescribed by American Academy of Pediatrics, is the Contraceptive Implants followed by IUD. The academy found that these two approaches are safest and provide the best contraception without many side effects.
While it is true that abstinence is the best way to protect yourself from STDs and prevent unwanted teenage pregnancy, the next best method is to use a long-term contraception method, such as an implant or IUD.
The American Academy of Pediatrics prescribes the following methods as effective contraceptives for adolescents in descending order:
- Contraceptive Implants
- Progestin Shots
- Oral Contraceptive Pills – the combination type pills
Reports state that more than the 40% teenagers today are the sexually active. Almost all of them use some of the birth control method. However, just about one in the 20 uses the right and most effective contraception. This is the main reason for the staggering 82% unplanned teen pregnancies. As per the new guidelines issued by the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, IUDs and contraceptive implants are the most effective reversible contraception methods that prevent unplanned teen pregnancies, thereby averting the need for abortion in young girls.
Side Effects Of Birth Control Pills For Teenagers:
Birth control pills are 91% effective when used correctly. However, there are a few drawbacks of using the pill, such as remembering to consume the pills every day at the same time, nausea, and sore breasts. Also, birth control pills don’t provide protection against the STDs.
Can Girls Get Pregnant On Birth Control?
There are about variety of the birth control methods out there. Some methods are better than the others, but the method you choose depends largely on your convenience. The most effective way to prevent unplanned teen pregnancy is to practice abstinence. However, having the information about the birth control options you will help when you become the sexually active.
No matter which type of the birth control option you choose, it is important to use it correctly for it to be effective. The Improper use of any of birth control methods can make a girl pregnant. Remember no birth control measure is very100 percent effective.
Birth Control Information For Teenagers:
For every teenager, the boy or the girl, an unplanned pregnancy can bring along lot of emotional and mental stress. It can change course of adolescent’s life. The same can happen if the teen contracts an STD.
As mentioned earlier, the best way to prevent pregnancy or STD is to practice abstinence, but that may seem too much to ask, considering the intense peer pressure and self-exploration that makes teens sexually active.
It is important to understand that even a single act of unprotected sexual intercourse can lead to pregnancy or an STD.
It is true that it is often overwhelming to discuss the sexuality and the birth control options with your parents, but getting the right information is important. Your friends or Internet is not always trusted source. Hence, you should either talk to your parents or find doctor, who has the time and inclination to the answer your queries and clear your doubts about the birth control.
The best birth control options for the teenage girls and the boys are those that are easiest to use besides being convenient. Of course, long-term methods of the birth control, such as implants and IUD, are most effective, but using the condoms is also something you should think of as it protects you from the STDs. It also helps to have an emergency contraception method always on hand .
Are Over-The-Counter Drugs Useful?
There are about 15 different methods of contraception that people use today. However, for teenagers, not all options are right. Teens tend to use the over-the-counter birth control pills since they are very easily available.
Also, the emergency contraceptive pills (or the morning-after pills) are normally used by the teenagers. However, for the sexually active adolescents, there is need for a birth control method that is more stable and even regular.
Birth control is important for teenage boys and girls alike. Most schools offer sex education to students to ensure they have access to the right information and guidance on sex and birth control.
We, as a society, need to promote healthy sexual activity among teenagers, and we can achieve this by ensuring they get the right sex education. This will help the sexually active adolescents to choose right birth control option and stay very much protected. (source)
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