For college students, whose days are spent going to classes, doing homework, making presentations, attending extra-curricular meetings and events, going to work and finding time for friends and family, pregnancy is not in the plans for the immediate future.
Consequently, birth control can become a major concern. The fact that there are countless forms of birth control to choose from does not necessarily ease the anxiety of a potential unwanted pregnancy.
There are pills, rings, intrauterine devices, patches, implants, shots, condoms, spermicides and many more. With so many options and often, unfortunately, a small budget, there are some forms that are wiser investments. Adding to such decisions is yet another device that has been approved by the Food and Drug Administration recently.
According to the informational website of Skyla the new intrauterine device, or IUD, is a small, T-shaped device made of flexible plastic that is placed inside the uterus by a healthcare provider. It is the most common form of long-acting, reversible contraception. ParaGard, for example, is a non-hormonal IUD that works to prevent pregnancy through a tiny copper filament wrapped around the T. It is more than 99% effective and can work for up to 10 years, but, due to expulsion rates, is slightly less effective than Mirena. Mirena, a hormonal IUD, releases a small amount (20 micrograms) of progesterone each day that acts locally in the uterus to prevent pregnancy. It is more than 99% effective, and it lasts up to five years.
In January, Bayer introduced Skyla, the first new IUD to enter the market in 12 years. Skyla has already been labeled a “little sister” of Mirena. Skyla’s size is smaller than Mirena, and its hormone dosage is lower. Instead of lasting for five years, it only lasts three. The tube used to place Skyla into the uterus is narrower, which is believed to ease the process of insertion.
What sets Skyla apart from Mirena and ParaGard is the fact that its trials specifically included both women with and without children. Skyla has been tested on and will be marketed toward women who have not had children yet.
Many women who would otherwise be excellent candidates previously had decided against an IUD simply because they did not have children. Many young women instead rely on other forms of birth control, like the pill, NuvaRing and the OrthoEvra patch . The effectiveness of these forms is completely reliant upon the woman remembering when and how to use them. When used correctly, these forms are very effective. However, women under age 21 are twice as likely as older women to use these forms incorrectly and thus are at a higher risk of unintended pregnancy.
For college students, many of whom are women under age 21, do not wish to become pregnant in the next three, five or 10 years, and do not want to worry about remembering to take birth control regularly, an IUD seems like a logical choice.
Although the IUD is the most inexpensive form of long-term, reversible birth control available, the upfront cost is high. The cost of the IUD itself, the insertion, medical exams and follow-up visits can range anywhere from $400 to $1000 depending on the type of IUD, your insurance and your healthcare provider.
As of 2012, nearly eight percent of women use IUDs. Skyla’s introduction seeks to encourage more women to familiarize themselves with IUDs. Skyla’s smaller size, lower hormone dosage, three-year lifetime and high effectiveness make it a logical option for many college students. Skyla became available for prescription the week of February 11. Talk to your doctor if you’re interested in learning more about this and other birth control options.