Disclaimer: I am not a professional! If you want to find a professional sex educator please look at my "Resources" page. If you have any questions, feel free to ask on my ask site: FYsexeducationquestions, though check out my FAQ first!
Some BC facts
The patch delivers 60% more estrogen than the typical combination birth control pill. This makes it a good option for people who need a higher dose contraceptive.
The vaginal ring contains the lowest dose of estrogen available which makes it a good option for people who need a low dose contraceptive. Because it has less estrogen it has less reports of the most common side effects of combination birth control like nausea or spotting.
I’m thinking that in my planned series of “Sex Education Myths” video the easiest wold actually be the Birth Control myth video.
I could do it to celebrate getting 23,000 followers!
I’ll try to get that up in the next week or so.
Send in your favorite/most hated myths about birth control and it may make it into the video!
Misconceptions about the Pill
Some misconceptions about the pill need to be corrected. It DOES NOT:
- Build up in a person’s body. People do not need a rest from taking COCs; they can be used continuously*
- Make a person infertile
- Cause multiple births or birth defects
- Change a person’s sexual behavior
- Collect in the stomach. (In fact, the pill dissolves each day.)
- Disrupt an existing pregnancy
- Cause Breast Cancer (in fact it reduces the chance of getting multiple cancers)
*In fact, taking a rest from OCs can increase the risk of ovulation and pregnancy. OCs can be used safely for many years without having to stop taking them periodically
I’ve learned about some more forms of birth control not found in the US
Have any of my international followers tried Noristerat or Jadelle?
Noristerat is a progestin only shot that lasts for two months.
There are also many combination hormonal shots, Cyclofem, Novafem, Mesigyna, and Cyclo-Provera. They each last about a month. If any of you have tried them let me know.
There is also a lower dose progestin only shot, epo-subQ provera 104 which is injected into the skin rather than the muscle.
Jadelle is a Progestin only implant effective for five years.
There’s also a few IUDs that are available in other countries, namely Gynefix (copper, non hormonal)
Emergency contraception include Progestin only
- evonelle (in the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, and Italy)
- NorLevo (in 45 nations including France, much of Western Europe, India, and some countries in Africa and Asia)
- Postinor (in 57 nations including much of Eastern Europe, Mexico, a number other Latin American countries, Portugal, Australia, New Zealand, Israel, China, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Singapore)
- Combined or Yuzpe Regimen: Uses a combination of estrogen and progestin, taken as two doses at a 12-hour interval.
I don’t know if it’s just because I’m internet searching in the U.S. or what but I can’t find a lot of information about these forms of birth control.
If you know of any that I don’t have any posts on and you’ve been on them, share your experiences! Also, if you have any resources send them my way.
According to WHO guidelines, trained nurses, midwives, and public health workers can provide contraceptive methods like condoms, spermicides, the pill, the patch, the ring, and the contraceptive shot.
Also in order to get any form of birth control (besides the IUD) you should not need a pelvic exam.
You should not be required to wait for your period to start a method, you should not be refused the IUD if you have never had children or are still a teenager or have never had intercourse.
I really would like to see the statistics on how many providers needlessly regulate birth control and other family planning methods which can provide barriers for people to get access. I’d also like to see how many non-doctor providers are out there and the way they become providers without the resources some doctors and health clinics have.
Collection of information about binders - where to buy, where to find cheap or free binders, how to buy them if you don’t have a card or have trouble having them delivered, how not to bind, binding problems and solutions, how to swim and bind, and some other stuff. Basically, this is all information that is already out there, but I collected it into one post. Feel free to add or amend.
Your First Pap Smear
How to Prepare:
- Use a condom if you have penis in vagina intercourse 24 hours before your appointment.
- Schedule it so it’s NOT while you’re on your period.
- Do not use a douche 24 hours prior to your appointment. (Do not use a douche at all! Douches are counteractive to vaginal health. You have very good bacteria maintaining a “habitat” of sorts and keeping you healthy! You don’t want to flush them out.)
- Write down any concerns or questions to take along with you. Have the dates of your last period handy. (If in doubt or unknown then just estimate.)
- Don’t feel concerned about “how to shave” or trim your pubic hair. Remember, this person is a medical professional and they’ve seen it all. You do what you usually do. Shower. At most check your labia for excess smegma. But other than that, don’t fret over the appearance of your vulva or vagina.
Before the Exam:
- You will fill out a general medical chart. It will ask for your menarche as well as your contraceptive history. It’s okay if you’re not sure or if you have a “complicated” answer. Just fill it out as accurately as possible. The doctor will have this in hand when they meet you so you will be able to explain anything.
- You may have your blood pressure and heart/lungs checked (your vitals.) If you feel you may be pregnant or are pregnant they will want a urine test.
- You might be given a gown if your exam includes a breast examination. OR you will be given a paper sheet to cover yourself so you can undress from the waist down. (The doctor will give you a few minutes of privacy to do this. They usually knock before entering the room to alert you that they’re coming in.)
- Sometimes a gyno will give you a breast exam. It’s pretty boring. They press around your breast and armpit area while looking very medical and thoughtful. It’s all pretty anticlimactic and silly feeling.
- They will also talk about your chart/medical history and ask you a few questions about contraceptives, sexual history, reproductive history, and general health.
- For the actual internal exam and pap smear you will be asked to lay back on the medical chair and put your feet into “stirrups” which are just plastic stirrups (just like on a saddle) to rest your heels in. Your lap is kept covered. Sometimes a lamp is used for the doctor to see better. They will inspect your vulva (the outside area) first.
- Most doctors will verbally alert you to what they are doing before they do it. If you feel more comfy with them narrating everything happening then you should say so. They are there to serve you medically and most doctors want you feeling as comfortable as possible. (I, personally, always request that they talk about what they are going to do before and AS they do it.)
- Latex gloves will be used as well as a gel for lubrication and comfort.
- For the internal exam they will insert a finger into your vagina. They will generally sweep down your vulva from the vaginal opening before inserting their finger. Then they will insert their finger. They are checking your cervix. They will press down on your lower abdomen.
- For the pap smear they will use a speculum. It is inserted into the vagina and opened up to give a view of the vaginal walls and cervix.
- Then they will use a Q-Tip, small stick, or cervical brush (sometimes looks sorta like a soft, bushy mascara brush) to swab your vaginal walls and cervix and gather cells.
- You will discuss any concerns and/or questions.
- You will schedule your next exam. At the age of
1821 you should have an exam yearlyevery two years
- If you are sexually active (even with a single partner in a monogamous relationship) you should have a yearly exam.
- Do not hesitate to bring up worries or concerns to your doctor.
- Always ask every question you have, even if you feel silly. It’s VERY important you feel comfortable doing this with your medical provider.
- Don’t feel shy about asking questions. This is what they are there for.
Remember that if you don’t feel okay with your gynecologist then you should switch to another. MANY General Providers (regular doctors) will do pap smears and yearly exams. Take advantage of this if your usual doctor is someone you feel comfy and happy with.
NEVER let a gyno patronize you or make you feel like your needs or questions are “stupid” or silly or out of line.
NEVER feel like asking a doctor to verbally communicate what is going to happen as it happens is ridiculous. This is YOUR body. Always say if something hurts or feels weird.
A pap smear will feel uncomfortable, probably. If you feel pain though, you should SAY SO. Never hesitate to tell your doctor that something hurts or is concerning.
Do not ever feel like you cannot ask a doctor or clinician to stop.
If you feel confused or unsure then ASK QUESTIONS. Remember: Embarrassing situations are okay. Patronizing behavior is not.
You want your doctor and their office to be understanding, empathetic, and caring.
Planned Parenthood is a wonderful place to start for Well Woman visits and they have a beautiful video that outlines how you’ll be taken care of and treated there.
“NEVER feel like asking a doctor to verbally communicate what is going to happen as it happens is ridiculous. This is YOUR body. Always say if something hurts or feels weird.”
That goes for ALL DOCTOR’S VISITS, ALWAYS. If you’re in the ER; if you’re in Critical Care; if you’re at your annual physical; if you’re dealing with a gynecologist. NEVER let a doctor act like you don’t have a right to be treated like a human being.
(BTW followers, this is a VERY good guide about annuals. If you haven’t gone to a gynecologist for your first annual yet, you really should! Once you turn 18 you should go every year just to get checked up, even if you’re not sexually active. It can be nerve-wracking, so if you have any questions about choosing a gynecologist, feel free to talk to me!)
The age for yearly pap smears has been changed to 21, and now you only have to do it every 2 years. Now if you are sexually active or have issues with your genitals you can have a yearly check up but you don’t necessarily need a pap smear during your yearly check up.
Ugh Dan Savage.
Also, this is an actual thing he said:
"We’ve covered this before, but apparently it’s a gong that needs to be struck every few years: A state of implied consent exists in healthy, long-term sexual relationships. I can, for example, initiate sex with my boyfriend of 12 years in the middle of the night without shaking him until he’s wide awake and then obtaining his verbal consent. "
Actually no, this type “implied” consent is a dangerous idea.
More reasons why Dan Savage is on my Hate List.