Embrace the IUD
The findings of a study of knowledge of intrauterine devices among adolescent and young adult women suggest that young women may not be getting sufficient information on all of the contraceptive options available to them, particularly IUDs.
If I were in charge [of the world, mwahahaha], I'd make sure all people of reproductive age are thoroughly conversant with the IUD, one of the best methods of birth control available--safe, effective, and unobtrusive.
Back to the study:
In a cross-sectional survey of 144 young women between the ages of 14 and 24 recruited from an adolescent gynecology clinic, gynecology outpatient clinics, and the community, more than half of the participants had never heard of an intrauterine device (IUD) and 97% had never used one, said Dr. Lisa Johnson of the adolescent medicine division of the Nassau (Bahamas) Department of Public Health.
The 20-minute, 44-item, semistructured interview assessed demographics, sexual history, contraceptive use and attitudes, and IUD knowledge and attitudes, Dr. Johnson said. The mean age of the respondents was 18.8 years. Nearly all (97%) of them were single, 58% were African American, and 39% were white. Approximately 84% of the group had ever been sexually active, with a mean age of 15.8 years at first sexual intercourse and a median of three lifetime partners. Among those who had ever had sex, 76% had ever been pregnant and 67% had ever had a sexually transmitted disease.
According to the survey results, 60% of the young women surveyed had never heard of an IUD, yet a majority of them “agreed” or “strongly agreed” that they would consider a birth control method that resulted in less painful (93%) and lighter (91%) periods and gave them control over when to stop (85%) and start it (80%), Dr. Johnson said. In addition, 61% reported being “willing” or “very willing” to use a birth control method that causes irregular vaginal bleeding if it was 99% effective at preventing pregnancy, she said.
However, only 30% of the respondents said they would consider a birth control method that involved placing a small plastic object in the uterus and only 27% said they would be interested in a device that had to be placed and removed by a health care provider, she noted.
Among the young women who liked the idea of an IUD, the most appealing characteristics were that it did not require them to remember to use it every day, that it would not affect their ability to have children in the future, and that it did not need to be remembered with each sex act, Dr. Johnson said.