Donate Now
  
my profile | directory login | search | faq | forum home

  next oldest topic   next newest topic
» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » EXPERT ADVICE » Ask Scarleteen » Educating myself

 - UBBFriend: Email this page to someone!    
Author Topic: Educating myself
srk20
Activist
Member # 59241

Icon 1 posted      Profile for srk20     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
So in my attempt to learn more about sexual health and how to keep myself safe and worry free, I've been utilizing the sources suggested by scarleteen to have sound and factual information. I just got over my withdrawal bleed this past Saturday (it started on Wednesday). It began much lighter than it usually does but the second day had a heavier flow where I soiled a few pads both on the second and third day. I learned here that if you get a period or any type of bleeding around the time you expect a withdrawal bleed then you cannot be pregnant. I did some research to see what planned parenthood had to say and called up their hotline. Their representative said that a withdrawal bleed does not indicate that pregnany hasn't occurred, it's how we'll the woman uses her pill. I then asked "are you saying that it's possible to be pregnant and still get a bleed" an she said yes it's not common but it is possible which is why they say that bleeding is not a clear indicator on not being pregnant. I'd like to get your thoughts on this information so I can know what the actual facts are
Posts: 197 | From: California | Registered: Mar 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
The most common first symptom of a pregnancy most women experience is a missed period or withdrawal bleed. That's always been the case, and hasn't changed. It's also what most OB/GYNs will tell you.

That said, as I think we've explained before, and as that hotline staff person said to you, that's not an absolute, especially since vaginal bleeding -- not a period, vaginal bleeding -- can still occur when someone is pregnant, but again, and like they said, it's still rare, and all the more rare for it to feel like a period, look like a period, and only happen when a period is expected.

But you know, it's clear you are still very concerned about this. So, what I'd like to do is to figure out, with you, what you really need in order to feel more secure when it comes to not taking any risk of pregnancy at all, since it sounds to me -- and by all means, you know best, so correct me if I haven't got this right -- like that is simply not something you are at all comfortable having as any kind of possibility right now or any time soon.

--------------------
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: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
srk20
Activist
Member # 59241

Icon 1 posted      Profile for srk20     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'd love to talk through some of my fears around this. About last year, around April I stopped menstruating for a few months. If I did bleed it was extremely light and spotting, which freaked me out even more. That's when i started coming to this source to understand whether my activities were risky because I was truly afraid that I was pregnant. At that time I also didn't have insurance or a doctor to see, I went to a planned parenthood to no avail. All they did was a smear and a urine test and sent me on my way. Since then, I've been diagnosed with PCOS and have been on BCP to monitor that. I guess that fear has stayed with me because at that time I felt completely alone. I had no one giving me correct information, I was hiding it from my family and I was just trying to deal with it alone as best as I could. My bf and I don't engage in vaginal sex, and never have. We did used to have manual/oral but since my fears have taken over, we've stopped doing any sexual activity for the past 3 or so months. I guess this time around when I found out that I had a cyst on the new BCP that I started taking, I got extremely worried that the pills weren't working correctly- as I was told I was not supposed to ovulate, therefore not form any cysts. I started treatment for PCOS on Yaz and it had actually cleared up all the cysts, but it was giving me bad anxiety. I switched to Lo Loestrin, and now to Aviane and it's when I switched to these lower dose pills that the cysts came back. Since I don't engage in sexual activity, the fear of pregnancy is strange in me. In my religion after going to the bathroom you are supposed to wash your genitals with water to make sure that you stay clean and wash the urine off. I wash my vulva with my hand just as if I was to wash any other part of my body, and I'm always afraid that what if I have some residue semen on my hands from walking around and touching things at work or at home since I live with a brother. I never touch myself if I feel any wetness, but I guess since I'm accessing my genitals multiple times in a day, I'm worried something could happen. I also have been having recurrent yeast infections so from time to time I feel inside my vagina for any discharge, and again I don't necessarily wash my hands prior- so again that risk sinks in, what if I had some semen from somewhere on my hands and didn't know it. I know this sounds irrational but I just cannot get pregnant in any kind of way, if I do it'll make my family disown me, as well as make me lose my religion. I just need some help knowing that living normal life without any sexual activity cannot get me pregnant. Can you help me with some of these fears?
Posts: 197 | From: California | Registered: Mar 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Okay, thanks for filling me in again.

As I understand it, you are not engaging in ANY sexual activity with any partners.

If that is so, you do not have ANY risk of pregnancy. None. You cannot have semen on your hands from some mysterious source. Semen is only going to come directly from a penis, so if you're not putting your hands on one, it can't be present on them.

How about we also talk about your situation with your family? It's pretty scary to be living in an environment where we feel that if a given thing happens, we will no longer be loved, included, housed or fed.

--------------------
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: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
srk20
Activist
Member # 59241

Icon 1 posted      Profile for srk20     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I guess that's why the fear was always so huge for me and affected me so much. I do come from a loving and supportive family, but since I've been raised in a very religious household it is just expected of me that an unplanned pregnancy or even the act of intercourse will not happen before I get married. It just won't. And for myself, I have abided by that. I don't have intercourse and don't plan on doing it till I get married. Like I said before, the few non-period months just really scared me into thinking that it could be possible because my bf and I were being sexual in terms of oral and manual, and dry humping with clothes on, just not having any type of intercourse. We have since stopped that but this fear of pregnancy won't escape me. Especially since I've been reading things like women can have bleeding and a period and still be pregnant, or women can be on birth control and get pregnant, or that women can be pregnant for months and never register on a blood or urine pregnancy test. It just seems like theres an exception to every rule, so how will I ever know? Also this cyst that formed was not supposed to as I was originally told by my gyno because I'm on birth control. So since it formed, how do I know that the birth control is actually working? I just want to feel comfortable and know that pregnancy is not a possibility for me, but with my strange anatomy (uterine septum) and weird cycles (PCOS) and low dose birth control and self washing habbits (hands on genitals), I just feel like something COULD happen.
Posts: 197 | From: California | Registered: Mar 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
srk20
Activist
Member # 59241

Icon 1 posted      Profile for srk20     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
BUMP
Posts: 197 | From: California | Registered: Mar 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Robin Lee
Volunteer Assistant Director
Member # 90293

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Robin Lee     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I'm sorry this got missed.

Those are some pretty high expectations you've lived with. It sounds like they're expectations you're comfortable with, but that they've also put a lot of pressure on you.

For someone to become pregnant in the first place, she has to be having sexual activity that would lead to pregnancy. The types of activities you've described don't lead to pregnancy, and you've also stopped them for your own peace of mind.

Also, you mention having a variety of medical concerns. I imagine that you're being watched pretty closely by your doctors as you're being treated? So, going for months without knowing you were pregnant probably wouldn't happen, right?

Speaking of your doctor, just because the Pill didn't help with your cyst doesn't mean that it's not working as birth control. When doctors prescribe things to help with something, they hope that they'll work, but they don't always know. It often takes a few different treatments before something works. It's not because the doctor doesn't know what they're talking about, it's just because the human body is complicated. But the pill not working as a cyst-treatment doesn't mean that it isn't working for it's stated purpose--birth control.

It might be helpful to remember that for all the unusual stories we see on the Internet of women getting pregnant in spite of this that or the other thing, half of them are likely not true or have more going on. For example, while a tiny percentage of women do get pregnant even while using birth control, many of those who say they do were likely not using the birth control as recommended. So remember that for the things that happen to other people, we're only hearing what they report. For the things that are happening with you, you know exactly what is going on:

1. You are not engaging in any sexual activities with your boyfriend that could lead to pregnancy.
2. You're on birth control.
3. You have medical help that you can consult if you do have a reproductive-related concern.

What do you think?

--------------------
Robin

Posts: 6066 | From: Washington DC suburbs | Registered: Dec 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
srk20
Activist
Member # 59241

Icon 1 posted      Profile for srk20     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
I totally agree with what you're saying there. I used to be much more risky when I was younger and much fearless, and it's strange that I'm no longer engaging in any sexual activity and yet am soooo worried about it all the time. I've also noticed myself taking pregnancy tests after a period just to make sure it wasn't withdrawal bleeding. I then spend quite some time looking at the test to see if what I'm seeing is an evaporation line or a faint line showing that I could be pregnant. The tests that I've been using are the first response ones and I've read that they almost have some type of line there. I just want to stop being scared. I guess I've taken on quite a few health issues in the past year that it's gotten me scared that anything could really happen to me and fear of the unknown like HIV or Hepatitis C or pregnancy, things that take a little time for you to find out if you have; those are the things that are the scariest for me. I've grown up washing my vulva after I urinate, everyone in my family washes themselves. But now, I've gotten scared that I could somehow have gotten sperm on my hand from walking around my office or touching things/doorknobs that could've had sperm on them. How do I make sure that I can make this practice safe, should I be washing my hands before going to the bathroom every time? I do have specialists taking care of large problems but I don't have one doctor that I can go to for advice who knows everything, and my ob/gyn is really knowledgeable but very busy and in high demand so he rarely ever calls me back. How do I get over this anxiety of researching and taking tests, trying to make sure that I'm not pregnant and now just believing that I'm on birth control and my periods are periods?
Posts: 197 | From: California | Registered: Mar 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
skr20, I honestly think that at this point, your very best bet is to see a therapist or counselor about this anxiety.

We've already told you, time and time again, that you CANNOT become pregnant from things like somehow picking up sperm cells on doorknobs. I feel very strongly that we could keep saying these things to you over and over again and it's just not going to make any difference, since it obviously hasn't.

It seems pretty clear to all of us, I'd say, that this is extreme and profound anxiety, and that education and logic aren't having any impact. Neither is changing your behavior so that you're not taking any risks.

So, what's left is a phobia, is pervasive fear that is not at all rational, and which is clearly impacting your life in a very negative way. And that's the kind people almost always need dedicated help with from someone educated in and qualified to treat anxiety disorders. I really can't encourage you enough to seek out that help.

[ 04-23-2012, 02:55 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

--------------------
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: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
srk20
Activist
Member # 59241

Icon 1 posted      Profile for srk20     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Not sure if my previous post went through so I'll have to type it again. I do see what you're saying here, but I have some reservations. I still live at home and my family is very involved with my life. I don't think that I would be able to see a therapist without them knowing, and if they found out I wouldn't know how to justify the issue. I'm also scared of being put on any sort of anti anxiety medication because I've read some horror stories about side affects and dependency that they can cause. Is it possible that my anxiety could be a result of the birth control that I'm on?
Posts: 197 | From: California | Registered: Mar 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
We aren't specialists when it comes to anxiety, but I don't know of any association between anxiety disorders and hormonal methods of birth control, no.

Really, I think the deal is this: you've got to figure out some way of getting this anxiety evaluated and get help with it from someone qualified to do that or decide to live with it if you can't change it in the ways you have tried.

But we know that we really can't help you out with this any more than we already have, and it's all too clear that despite committing a lot of time and energy to trying, it's been of no use. So, we need to draw a line around our limitations with this, and also be sure that what we're doing isn't just making this issue worse or keeping you stuck, and I think the latter is likely true at this point.

--------------------
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: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
srk20
Activist
Member # 59241

Icon 1 posted      Profile for srk20     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Please know that your service has helped me tremendously with my worries and scares and has truly educated me, so it has been far from 'no use'. If I hadn't had anyone to speak to at all, I don't know what mental state I would be in since I was clearly going to all the wrong sources for information. This past year for me on this service has been like a continued course on sexual health. I understand that I should not be coming here with more freak outs and immediate requests, but I hope that I can still use this channel to gain more knowledge and understanding. I will try my best to seek out help from an external source. I hope that I can still come here if I need a sounding board.
Posts: 197 | From: California | Registered: Mar 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Heather
Executive Director & Founder
Member # 3

Icon 1 posted      Profile for Heather     Send New Private Message       Edit/Delete Post 
Of course, srk20, it's just that even though we'd often like to, we can't actually do everything, and there are some things we simply don't have either the education, training, tools or right environment -- sometimes all of those things -- to do or help well with.

I'd personally really hate to see you stay so plagued by this anxiety and really hope that you seek out help for it, even if you just do something like start with a hotline or website that is staffed with people qualified to help with anxiety disorders.

--------------------
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: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

   Close Topic   Feature Topic   Move Topic   Delete Topic next oldest topic   next newest topic
 - Printer-friendly view of this topic
Hop To:


Contact Us | Get the Whole Story! Go Home to SCARLETEEN: Sex Ed for the Real World | Privacy Statement

Copyright 1998, 2014 Heather Corinna/Scarleteen
Scarleteen.com: Providing comprehensive sex education online to teens and young adults worldwide since 1998

Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.

Powered by UBB.classic™ 6.7.3

Google
Search Scarleteen