As uncomfortable as the topic might be for some parents, having a frank and honest discussion with your teenager about contraceptives is important. With the average age of first sexual experience still holding steady at 17, there's a strong argument in favor of broaching the subject well in advance of this. Contraceptives work by either creating a physical or chemical barrier that prevents an egg from being fertilized, or by preventing the egg from implanting. To make sure you have a solid foundation to build on it's a good idea to understand both approaches.
Whether due to a chemical reaction inside the body or the function of hormones, a variety of prescription based birth control options are available. Their effectiveness varies for each patient, but when properly used, effectiveness ranges between 91% for pills and 99% for the 12 week shot. It's important to understand that no birth control method is ever going to achieve 100% effectiveness, as a variety of factors are at play during any sexual contact, including body chemistry, proper use, the use of some over the counter supplements or medications, and the interaction of other prescriptions.
Every patient is different, so it's important that anyone considering prescription birth control discuss the matter with a health care professional. At this time, these medications are only available to girls and women, and are typically prescribed by OBGYNs, but any doctor can write the prescription. Keep in mind as well, since these are medications, there may be side-effects that result from regular use.
The Basis for Barriers
Whether chemical or physical, contraceptives that prevent fertilization from happening tend to have a higher success rate. Chemical barriers include spermicidal gels, IUDs, diaphragms and spermicidal sponges, all of which must be in place prior to intercourse. These are all designed, in one way or another, to eradicate active sperm before they can reach the egg. Improper use, using too little or individual body chemistry can all hinder effectiveness.
The most reliable and readily available form or barrier birth control is still the humble condom, which is also the only form of contraception which is also effective at preventing sexually transmitted diseases. Both male and female condoms are on the market, and both do a very similar job of keeping sperm from reaching the egg. While slightly less convenient than a shot or a pill, condoms are far more convenient than other forms of contraception. Also, since fewer things can go wrong with condoms than some other forms of contraception, there's a good deal less to worry about as long as nothing breaks.
For all the time spent preaching against it, teen sex is a virtual inevitability. Rather than avoiding the topic in the hopes that ignorance will prevent it from happening it's far better to arm kids with information and allow them to make educated choices. This is just as important when it comes to birth control and contraception, so that you can be sure the information they have is based on factual data rather than whatever they heard on the bus or in the locker room at school. Contact a business, such as Healthcare for Women Only, for more information.