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Freedom with IUDs and Implants - a choice for all, especially teens

Many people know that IUDs and birth control implants exist, but few are using them. Many of the reasons for its shortage of use are due to lack of awareness about its safety, higher effectiveness, and ease of use. Long-acting reversible contraception (LARC) are wonderful advancements in technology that everyone should be made aware of. In this blog we will discuss the positives and side effects/risks of LARC with a small focus on its underutilization in the adolescent population.
Currently there are just two forms of LARC, but we can hope with new advances in science and technology that additional forms will be created. 

The two current forms are the intrauterine device (IUD) and the birth control implant. Both of these methods of contraception last for years and are completely reversible once removed. What’s even more impressive is that LARC is over 99% effective. In other words, less than 1 in 100 women became pregnant while using LARC and it is equivalent in effectiveness to sterilization.
"Less than 1 in 100 women became pregnant while using long-acting reversible contraception and it is equivalent in effectiveness to sterilization."

Effectiveness of Contraceptive Options

IUD and Implant: More than 99% effective (Less than 1% pregnancies)

Birth control ring: 92% effective (8% pregnancies)

Birth control pill: 91% effective (9% pregnancies)

Condoms: 82% effective (18% pregnancies)

Types of LARC



IUDs are tiny T-shaped devices that are inserted into the uterus to release either Progestin or copper directly to it. During a pelvic exam, your gynecologist will insert the IUD into the uterus through the vagina and cervix using a slender plastic tube. There are two types of IUD: Progestin and Copper. 

Progestin: Local hormone, 3 or 5 years

Copper: No hormone, 10 years

How they work:

IUDs prevent the sperm from fertilizing the egg. The progestin IUD thickens cervical mucus and prevents sperm from reaching the egg while the copper IUD inhibits movement of sperm. The progestin IUD also thins the lining of the uterus and is a good option for women and young adults with heavy periods.




Birth control implant is a 4 centimeter, flexible rod that is inserted into the inside of your upper arm and releases progestin into your body. The implant is inserted during a simple office visit through a tiny insertion after numbing the area with a local anesthetic.

Implant: Systemic hormone, 3 years

How it works:

The birth control implant prevents ovulation, when your ovary releases an egg. Like the progestin IUD, it also thickens cervical mucus and thins uterine lining.

LARC for Young Women and Teens

LARC is a suitable option for any woman, but it is currently being vastly underused by a population that could benefit most from it: young women and adolescents. Young women and adolescents are especially recommended to use LARC by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as well as many other professionals from the scientific community.

Renee Cotter, MD

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