Contraception in adolescents over the last 15 years: perspective of a youth service center

Teresa Teixeira da Silva, Tânia Lima, Bruna Vieira, Cidália Conde, Mónica Fernandes, Joana Santos, Marcília Teixeira, Teresa Oliveira


Introduction: Contraceptive counselling is essential in the prevention of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections in adolescents.

Objectives: Evaluate the behaviour of adolescents who recurred to our Youth Assistence Center (YAC) in the past 15 years, regarding their sexual and reproductive health and contraceptive choice.

Material and Methods: Retrospective study of female adolescents under 18 years, who recurred for the first time to YAC in 1997, 2002, 2007 and 2012 (group 1,2,3 and 4, respectively). Data were analysed using SPSS 21.0 and Microsoft Excel 2007.

Results: Most adolescents were sexually active (61.5% in 1997 vs 76.5% in 2012, p = 0.01) and there was an increase, over the years, of adolescents who had already started regular hormonal contraception (8.4% in 1997 vs 21.4% in 2012, p <0.001). In adolescents who did not use Hormonal Contraception (HC) and recurred to YAC for its beginning, we found the following results: 1997 - 98.6% started a Combined Oral Contraceptive (COC), 2002 - 100% initiated HC [99, 1% - COC, 0.9% subcutaneous implant], 2007 - 90.9% initiated HC [83% - COC, 16.4% - subcutaneous implant, 0.6% - patch] and 2012 - 97% initiated HC [85.9% - COC, 14.1% - subcutaneous implant].

Conclusion: Over the studied period, there was an increased number of adolescents who were using a hormonal contraceptive at first appointment. The COC remains the contraceptive method of choice in adolescents, although there is a growing adherence to the subcutaneous implant.


adolescents; contraception; combined oral contraception; subcutaneous implant; sexuality

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