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Use of Long-Acting Birth Control on the Rise for American Women

Update Date: Nov 11, 2015 11:35 AM EST
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More women living in the United States are choosing long-acting birth control (LARC), a new federal report concluded.

"Patients, particularly younger patients, are learning about [LARCs] as an option. As more women use these methods, they're likely to share their experience with their friends, so it grows by word of mouth," Megan Kavanaugh, senior research scientist for the sexual and reproductive health-focused Guttmacher Institute, said reported by the Huffington Post.

For this report, experts analyzed data on 5,601 women between the ages of 15 and 44 taken from the National Center for Health Statistics and found that 11.6 percent of women opted for LARC between 2011 and 2013 with 10.3 percent using intrauterine devices (IUD) and 1.3 percent choosing an implant.

The new rate was almost doubled the rate calculated for the time span of 2006-2010, which was at six percent. In 2002, the percentage of women who chose LARC was even lower at just two percent.

The experts noted that the increased number of women choosing LARC is a good sign because these types of birth control are safe and very effective. The failure rate for LARC is less than one percent - IUDs have a failure rate of 0.8 percent and an implant has a failure rate of 0.05 percent. For comparison, the failure rates for the pill, which remains the most popular option at 26 percent, and male condom, are nine percent and 18 percent, respectively.

The report found that female sterilization was the second most popular option at 25 percent. The next choice after sterilization was male condom at 15 percent. The remaining forms of birth control were male sterilization (8.2 percent), withdrawal (4.8 percent), injectable (4.5 percent), contraceptive ring or patch (2.6 percent) and other (2.0 percent).

The report also shows that IUDs are making a comeback after the Dalkon Shield scandal. The Dalkon Shield, created by the Dalkon Corporation, was introduced onto the market during the 1970s. The IUD ended up harming about 200,000 women.

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