Loading
Doctor says push for teen IUD use brings health risks
Dr. Bill Toffler
Dr. Bill Toffler
By Michelle Bauman
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- A major OB/GYN group's promotion of intrauterine devices (IUDs) and hormonal implants in teenage girls has drawn criticism over the risks posed to patients' health and well-being.

Dr. Bill Toffler, professor of family medicine at Oregon Health and Science University, said the recommendation was “sadly misguided.”

“There are a lot of problems with IUDs,” he told CNA, questioning the wisdom of promoting “risk-laden devices” that 50 percent of women want to remove within a year.

While those promoting the change were likely “well-intentioned,” their ideas “miss many important factors,” he said.

On Sept. 20, the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists updated its guidelines for teenagers to say that IUDs and hormonal implants should be “first-line contraceptive options” that are discussed at each doctor’s visit.

The doctors group noted that the vast majority of teenage pregnancies are unintended, despite the widespread use of contraceptives, such as condoms and the birth control pill.  

It recommended that doctors suggest the longer term alternatives which are inserted inside a woman’s body and can be left in place for several years.

Toffler noted that IUDs are typically expensive, costing hundreds of dollars, although under the Affordable Care Act, minors will have access to IUDs and other contraceptives at no cost, and in some states will be able to receive them without parental consent.

The devices also release powerful hormones within the body and can lead to a significant risk of infection, especially during the early stages, he said.

“Essentially, you’re putting a foreign body into a normally sterile cavity,” he explained.

In addition, one in every 1000 women who use an IUD will have their uterus perforated, potentially putting their future fertility at risk, he said.

Toffler warned that the promoters of the new guidelines “have thrown these concerns under the bus” in their zeal to reduce teenage pregnancy rates.

However, their attempts to do so may actually contribute to teenagers having “less inhibition” about sex and engaging in increasing levels of risky behavior, he said.

“People may be falsely reassured,” he explained, noting that with the average teenage relationship lasting only three months, many young people are already involved in numerous “fleeting” sexual relationships.

In addition, Toffler said, the promotions of IUDs are misleading, and women are not properly informed about how they function.

He explained that it is an undisputed fact that “one of the ways they work is to interfere with implantation,” thus ending the life of an already-created human embryo.

Some women who think they are simply using a preventive form of contraception may not realize that the device is also an abortion-inducing agent, he observed.

Toffler also said that he has had personal experience with women who became pregnant while using IUDs, posing a risk in removing the device. Such situations are also associated with higher proportions of ectopic pregnancies, which occur outside the womb and can be life-threatening for the mother.

Women need better information that respects them and their best interests, Toffler stressed. He noted that IUDs do not prevent sexually transmitted diseases and other “risks of people having multiple sexual partners.”

At the same time, he said, “there are many successful abstinence-based programs.”

Unfortunately, he said, these programs receive little attention, and the “paradigm” of contraception is promoted as if there were no medical, physical, emotional and psychological consequences of multiple sexual partners during the teenage years.

Tags: Contraception, IUDs, Teen pregnancy

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)

Featured Videos

An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
The tombs of the early Christians
Missionaries of Africa, called "the White Fathers"
Italian youth give testimony after mission to Peru
Interview with Iraqi Ambassador to the Holy See on the persecution of Christians
New book 'The Vatican unknown'
Oct
31

Liturgical Calendar

October 31, 2014

Friday of the Thirtieth Week in Ordinary Time

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Lk 14:1-6

Gospel
Date
10/31/14
10/29/14
10/28/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Phil 1: 1-11
Gospel:: Lk 14: 1-6

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
10/31/14

Homily of the Day

Lk 14:1-6

Homily
Date
10/31/14
10/29/14
10/28/14