Teens and young women need access and information about contraceptive choices. Reliable contraception is essential for young women, but it can be confusing. Condoms, sponges, cervical caps, birth control pills, patches and rings are all good choices for younger women. Intrauterine devices (IUDs), spermicides, natural family planning or the rhythm method are less appropriate.
Condoms are an excellent contraceptive choice for young women. Used correctly, condoms are as much as 98 percent effective and also reduce the risks of sexually transmitted diseases, including HIV. Maximize the effectiveness of condoms by using condoms every time you have sex. If the condom breaks, slips off, or he has difficulty putting it on, start again with a new one. Be sure your condoms are the right size and have not expired. If you are sensitive to latex, opt for a polyurethane condom instead. Even if you use another contraceptive, you should always use condoms to protect yourself against sexually transmitted diseases.
Oral contraceptives are another popular choice for young women. You will need to visit your doctor or a family planning clinic, like Planned Parenthood, for a physical exam and a prescription. Taken just as prescribed each day, birth control pills are more than 99 percent effective. They do not provide any protection against sexually transmitted diseases, but they may help to regulate irregular periods or even allow you to skip your period altogether. Birth control pills are quite safe, especially for young women, but they should be avoided if you smoke or are at high risk of blood clots.
Other Hormonal Methods
The birth control ring uses the same hormones, estrogen and progesterone, as the pill; however, you do not have to remember to take it daily. A small ring is inserted into the vagina and left in place for three weeks, then removed for one. A new ring is inserted each cycle. The patch is equally convenient, relying upon a new dermal patch weekly, but it does cause more hormonal side effects. Finally, the birth control shot offers a once every three-month form of contraception, available at your doctor or Planned Parenthood. The shot is a progesterone-only contraceptive, and it may be a better choice for young smokers.