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14 April 2013
IUDs proven safe for teenagers

University of Texas medicos say they have debunked a myth and shown that Intrauterine Devices (IUDs) are as safe for teenagers as they are for adults. The new work, published in the journal Obstetrics & Gynecology, disproves concerns that have persisted for more than 30 years.

Much of the negativity associated with IUDs stems from a popular 1970s IUD known as the Dalkon Shield, which was found to have grave side effects. Since then, a pervasive stigma against IUDs has persisted among physicians and patients.

For their study, the researchers used private insurance claims from approximately 90,000 IUD users aged between 15 and 44. Specifically, they looked at complications, failures and discontinuation rates. They found that serious complications resulting from the IUD, including ectopic pregnancy and pelvic inflammatory disease, occurred in less than one percent of women regardless of age. Additionally, the findings showed that early discontinuation did not differ between teenagers and older women. This indicates that the IUD was not associated with greater complications among either age group.

"Today's IUDs are not the same as the ones that existed decades ago and are undeserving of the outdated stigma they carry," said the study's lead author Dr. Abbey Berenson, Director of Research in Women's Health at the university. "Modern IUDs are safe, cost-effective and provide years of worry-free birth control. Though more research is needed, this study shows that IUDs should be among the options considered to address teen pregnancy rates."

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Source: University of Texas Medical Branch at Galveston

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