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Contraception for young women

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Women who require contraception should be given information about all methods and offered a full range of choices,1 including advice about long-acting reversible contraception (LARC). Verbal and written information should be provided to all women.

Contraceptive counselling should be individualised to the woman and her needs. Efficacy, risks and benefits, and how to start and stop the contraceptive method should be discussed.

It is particularly important to assess the risk of STIs in young people and helpful to establish whether the young person wishes to start or continue condom use to minimise the risk of STIs. Nurses can advise where supplies can be obtained and how to access sexual health screening and emergency contraception.1

In those under the age of 16, the clinician should assess competence to consent to treatment using the Fraser guidelines. It may be relevant to advise a young person of the law on sexual activity.

Increasing the number of women using LARCs may reduce the numbers of unintended pregnancies.1 LARCs are more cost-effective than the combined oral contraceptive pill at one year of use.

The Pill

Younger women may prefer contraception in the form of tablets. They may choose this method to regulate their periods and help menorrhagia and dysmenorrhoea. The Pill is perhaps the most widely used method in young women.

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