My teenage niece is sexually active and my wife is trying to get her on some form of birth control. She was on the pill, but she wasn’t reliable about taking them regularly.
My wife is gathering information on Depo-Provera, Norplant, and IUDs. Besides effectiveness, we’re concerned about the effects that hormonal birth control might have on a female who hasn’t fully matured. Have the long-term effects been studied? I have checked out some of the older threads on Depo-provera. It doesn’t sound too good.
Please share recommendations, personal experiences, or any helpful information you may have. Thank you.
P.S. for those who would recommend abstinence. For the record, I agree that it’s the best BC for teenagers. But it’s not a realistic option here.
Definitely talk to Planned Parenthood. They’ll help you with all the pros and cons, without being judgemental.
Are you in custody of your niece? If not, I would stay away from this, and let the parents handle it. You are just asking for trouble. And I’d be VERY concerned why the niece came to you, and not her parents with this. This is definitely something the parents should handle. If you are not a custodial parent, I’d suggest getting the niece and the parents into counseling, at the maximum, and staying out of it, at the minimum.
I would disagree with Zuma. I’m a 15-year-old, and although I’m not sexually active, I would not go to my parents if I was. The fact that she came to you shows that she trusts you, and you DO NOT want to endanger that trust by going to the parents. Just be glad that she went to someone about this. Without you, future decisions she might make without help, and have dire consequences from that.
zuma I’m not sure I agree that staying out if it is the answer. Kids and teens get told over and over to go to another trusted adult if they have an issue and feel that they can’t talk to their parents. It sounds like heresiarch’s wife is the trusted adult in this situation, and to tell the girl she can’t help would ruin that trust.
That said I do agree that the very best thing would be to try and convince the girl that she should consult with her parents, if the family situation lends itself to that.
Sorry - no help on the birth control issue, except to second the advice to consult Planned Parenthood. They are probably your best resource and I’m sure have run into this type of situation before.
I’m not sure what the social mores about condoms are in Korea, but I would strongly encourage her to use condoms in addition to some other method. Since no contraceptive method is 100% effective, she could benefit from having a backup method, not to mention the protection against disease.
It sounds like she needs something that doesn’t require a lot of attention as the Pill does, which would seem like one of the new methods such as the NuvaRing might be worth a look…but I’m not sure if that is available in Korea yet.
Failing that, maybe an IUD would be a good choice. The Mirena IUD is reportedly just as effective as tubal ligation (except that, unlike a tubal, it’s reversible, of course), but I’m not sure if doctors would be willing to insert one in a girl who hasn’t yet had a child.
IUDs are not generally recommended for women (or adolescents) who have not completed their families.
Depo-Provera is probably her best bet after the pill.
Still, please encourage her to use condoms too. I was put on the pill at 16 (for medical reasons) and I was horrible about using condoms, figuring that I was taken care of. I was lucky …although I still cringe when I think about how big an idiot I was.
I think you can get Depo-provera in pill form, which she might want to try out for a month or two to make sure she doesn’t have any negative side effects. One of the problems with Depo-Provera is that IF you have negative side effects, you’re screwed for three months until it wears off. Frankly, I wouldn’t want to be a hormonal mess for that long.
Regardless, give this kid a box full of condoms. If she’s not responcible enough to take her pill every day, she’s probably not responcible enough to buy her own.
spathiphyllum, I’m in Korea, because I’m serving in the US Air Force. The rest of the family is in the states. Sorry about the confusion. You and Sue make a good point about condoms for disease prevention.
Zuma, I agree that this is something that would best be worked out between a girl and her parent(s) (or a boy and his parents). In this case, my sister-in-law isn’t available right now but I’m pretty sure my wife is consulting with her. Also, my wife is acting as legal guardian for our niece.
We will get some medical advice, either from planned parenthood or other medical experts. I was just hoping to also get some additional info and personal experience from dopers.
Thanks for all the input so far.
I got Norplant when I was 14. It worked great for me. I have a big fear of pain, so it was nice to know that once the initial “work” was done, I wouldn’t have to worry about it for five years. Of course, I decided on getting birth control after having a baby and dealing with all the emotions from giving it up for adoption, etc.
I second the Norplant option, although there is now a birth control patch, which based on the limited research I’ve done is like the pill, but “easier” to use.
As my links would indicate, I have found www.iVillage.com to be an invaluable source of unbiased up-to-date birth control info.