I'm just generally curious about the diversity of experiences with our users around this.
When you went to your doctor -- and when you did, was it a GP? GYN? Clinic? -- to ask about birth control, how did that go?
Did they offer you one method right at the gate, or talk about all your options? If you asked for something besides the pill, were they responsive? Did you walk in asking for something specific and get denied? If so, especially if it wasn't for health reasons, why?
In this experience, did you feel like the doctor or clinician really took their time helping you find the best method, or did things feel rushed?
-------------------- Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen About Me • Get our book! Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead Posts: 68080 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000
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I asked my GP a little more than a year ago, and she pretty much said, "Sure! You haven't had kids, so you probably shouldn't have an IUD. Would you be okay with the pill?"
Because I was just fine with the pill, it didn't feel rushed to me, and I know she would have taken the time to explain my other options and their pros and cons if I'd asked. In fact, this year, at my physical, I did express a little concern over how emotional I can get while on the pill, and she did offer up diaphragms and other non-hormonal methods as a possible solution, but I'm sticking with the pill for now because I find it very reliable.
Back to my first experience, though--my GP suggested a 13-week cycle, knowing that I tend to have cramps and heavy periods and that I would like to reduce them. She was also very helpful when, about 6 months in, I wanted to adjust so that I could go on 8 or 9 week cycles, and added a prescription that would allow me that freedom while still being covered by insurance. (If she hadn't, I would have been spotting/bleeding the last third of my pills every time--NOT something I wanted to have happen!)
Overall, I had a really positive experience, I think in part because she's been my GP for a while, so she knows what I need, and she's very personable in general.
Posts: 81 | Registered: Apr 2012
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I believe I had went to the school Sexual nurse and asked, then they made me an appointment at the clinic. I went and gave my history. I wasn't allowed to go on the birth control do to I'm diabetic. I had to wait for the doctor a month later. I then was screened for STI's and such and she wrote a script for me. When I was denied for birth control, they gave me spermicide and condoms while I waited. They talked about other options but I just wanted the pill, wasn't comfortable with the patch or the shot.
At this point I'm not on any BC, I'm thinking of going to the clinic to get on the patch, the pills are fine I just keep forgetting to take them, etc. The shot for me feels weird, I like to have a period every month. I would feel more at ease with everything.
Posts: 517 | From: Canada | Registered: Dec 2011
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I love these survey-type questions and threads you have here, Heather!
To be honest, I don't really remember exactly how that meeting went. I had been doing research on contraception methods from my university's health services website, and I think I had already decided that I had wanted to use the pill, so perhaps I had been more focused on that method than others (if they were even there, I can't recall). I remember being confused about the entire prescription process and whether or not I had to pay for the pill.
I had gone to the health services building after making an appointment, so I suppose a GP saw me. I know she took my blood pressure and asked about my family's health history; but I can't remember her saying something like, "Have you considered any other birth control options?" But I know she was really nice to me, and I'm pretty sure she answered my questions then and made me feel secure. I remember being nervous and excited to get my first few packs, though.
Now that I think about it, I am not sure if things like IUD's would've been offered at my university without some other kind of fee (we had a health plan that covered us, but that kind of procedure seems as if it couldn't be done without further consultation and fees); and I'm pretty tempted to look this up on their website. Either way, my experience in getting and asking for birth control was positive and not met with judgement or belittling.
-------------------- "I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can) Posts: 692 | From: Canada | Registered: May 2012
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Quite some time back now, I went as an older teen to get emergency contraception, and struck lucky when the emergency duty doctor at my surgery that day was the one who had special interest in, among other things, pregnancy and women's health. That meant she had good information and awareness, and suggested the implant to me, as one of the most reliable and hassle-free methods, and, as she said, lower hormone dosage and less likelihood of side effects. She was clearly clued-up then, and told me, that methods like condoms or the pill have lower typical effectiveness rates for teens and young people. She was also trained in how to insert implants. She didn't pressure me (though she was a touch heavy about the likelihood of messing up condoms or the pill, but I guess the statistics do support her stance), but was very actively positive about it as an option, and gave me a leaflet, and told me what kind of appointment to make if I wanted it done. I think she gave me a leaflet on contraception generally and all the ones available on other methods, too. I chose to go for it and I think that then, and for quite a while, it was a really good option for me. I've always been grateful that I saw her and that she knew about those things. I think Implanon may have been fairly new in the UK at the time (the implant information was still about a 5-year implant that had previously been offered...).
One thing that I find is a significant problem is getting good information and advice about contraceptive methods in relation to other medical conditions. It can't just be me who has that problem? For example: I have absolutely no consensus of opinion from a small number of GPs and sexual health nurses about whether the pill would be ok for me to take or not, given that I have a heart condition and that there is a direct-ancestry family history of heart problems/heart disease (which I don't even know what it is, because the person wouldn't go to a doctor and then wouldn't talk about it, and they've not been still alive for me to ask) and a different person with stroke - except probably caused by a particular medical condition which would be really unlikely that I had, so for many medics, the stroke is back out from consideration again, but for others, it isn't... I've had a clear "yes it's fine, no problem, I have no idea why anyone would think it's a problem", a clear "absolutely not, no-one would prescribe you that" and several um-ing and ah-ing. I was also told by my heart consultant 10 years ago that an IUD was "no way, ever" because of the risk of infection; but I do wonder how reliable that is, given that infection concerns now seem to be a lot smaller than people once thought, and that then and now sometimes even gynaecologists aren't accurate about IUDs, so why would I expect a heart expert to be? I have no idea how I would find anyone who knows loads about hearts And IUDs! And unfortunately, I've found that doctors are usually most insistent that they're right, even if they're not working from the fullest and most up-to-date information, so just asking someone if they Really know doesn't seem to be a solution.
I've had one bad experience in recent times around contraception. (And I still just fit into the usual "young person" demographic at the time. ) I went to a small sexual health clinic to get an implant removed long before the end of its lifespan, as my previous long-term monogamous relationship had ended, and very badly, and I so badly wanted that thing out. It wasn't a knee-jerk, I'd thought about it for months, and I was really sure, and increasingly desperate to have it out. The nurse was Really disapproving about me having it taken out, repeatedly telling me how expensive they were and how it was a waste of money (this being the UK, paid for by the state, of course). I told her repeatedly "I don't need it any more" and that I knew the things about the finance, but I couldn't now change the fact that it was already in my arm and used. I don't know how she was daft enough not to at least use more tact, as she had the info in front of her that it was my third implant in a row, so it was clearly not about indecision, and also, how can "I don't need it any more" be any clearer? I didn't feel that my relationship status was any of her business, and I was absolutely not in any shape to talk about it anyway. She really upset me, and I believe that if I'd been less strong-willed, she'd've made me keep something in my body that I really didn't want or need and that actively caused me distress. As it was, I held on to get what I wanted and made it to the clinic car park before calling my mother in floods of tears, all because of how that nurse treated me. My mother was extremely indignant and said I should report her (and my mum wasn't knee-jerky or over-protective of "her kid" around things like that, not at all), but I just really wasn't up to it at the time. So in my case, a medical worker gave me a hard time for trying to get rid of my contraception, rather than for trying to get some in the first place.
-------------------- The kyriarchy usually assumes that I am the kind of woman of whom it would approve. I have a peculiar kind of fun showing it just how much I am not. Posts: 1746 | From: Europe | Registered: Sep 2011
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