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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » EXPERT ADVICE » Ask Scarleteen » I worry too much, I know. But can someone still reassure me please?

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Author Topic: I worry too much, I know. But can someone still reassure me please?
fridayiminlove
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So I've been taking Ortho Tricyclen Lo for about ten months now, never missed a pill, and if the time I take it varies for whatever reason, it's by a couple hours tops. So I figure this makes me a pretty good pill user. My boyfriend and I have been relying on withdrawal as a secondary method to my birth control pills because I got too freaked out to just rely on the pill. Based on your "Buddy System" article, this puts my chances of pregnancy at like 3% in the worst case scenario.
It's only Tuesday of my sugar pill week but there's literally no sign of my withdrawal bleed beyond PMS-y mood swings and its freaking me out. Usually I'd see some brown spotting by now. I had sex the weekend before last (17-19) when I visited my boyfriend, using withdrawal plus pills as protection.
Three questions then: is it normal as time on the pill goes on to get your withdrawal bleed later and later in the week?
And am I right in thinking I'm worrying over nothing? I get anxious every month, even though I'm pretty sure I'm doing things right to stay protected against pregnancy. (STIs aren't an issue with my boyfriend and I- negative tests for both of us).
Could a yeast infection affect my withdrawal bleed at all? I was not examined by a doctor in person, but they prescribed me a one-does pill over the phone which seems to have done the trick, so I guess that means I had a successfully treated yeast infection. I took that medication this past Friday the 24th.
Any reassurance or answers at all would be greatly appreciated, I know my post got rather long-winded and you're very busy.

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September
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It doesn't sound like need to worry about a pregnancy here.

It is normal for your withdrawal bleed to not start at the same day every month, and it can also happen even on the pill that your withdrawal bleed comes a little later than usual.

So, all in all, doesn't sound like there's cause for concern. But if your bleed doesn't show by the end of the placebo week and you're really worried, you can just take a test for some peace of mind.

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Johanna
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"The question is not who will let me, but who is going to stop me." -Ayn Rand

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fridayiminlove
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Thank you! Seriously, it's a relief to read that you think there's no cause for concern. Do you have any advice on how I can stop worrying so much every month? Because I get really really anxious (despite combining the pill and the withdrawal method) every day of my placebo week until I see that brown or red spot in my underwear. (And of course, now with this week and not seeing hide nor hair of my withdrawal bleed even though it's Wednesday and I usually have it by now, it's like my worst nightmare.)I'm really hoping my withdrawal bleed shows up soon, but if it doesn't by the time I start my new pill pack on Sunday, should I take a pregnancy test? Would missing my bleed completely mean I'm pregnant or does that just happen sometimes on the pill? And if you do advise taking a test, when am I supposed to take it?
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Heather
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Have you started by really considering if this is a good time in your life to be having the kinds of sex which present these risks at all?

Sometimes we're okay with some level of risk, or a small one does not feel like a big deal or something we can't handle. But there are also times when we just really, truly, do not feel up to taking any kind of risk at all, or just absolutely know that even though the risk is small, if a pregnancy happened we would not be able to deal with it or want to. Honestly, if I was feeling the way you are right now, I'd just be taking intercourse off the table, and enjoying other kinds of sex that don't pose pregnancy risks to spare myself these kinds of anxieties.

Another option is to use a backup method that's more effective in typical use than withdrawal. Using any second method always makes a big difference, but when you're using one that isn't as effective as others, you might find you feel better with a different choice in a backup method. Additionally, you could talk to your healthcare provider about using a method more effective and foolproof than the pill, too.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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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

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fridayiminlove
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I've definitely been thinking about maybe taking a break from intercourse. It's just that I always think I'm totally fine with the small amount of risk involved until the day my withdrawal bleed doesn't show up. And then I fret until it does. Only this time it hasn't yet and I'm still really concerned even though Joey was kind enough to reassure me that odds are I'm fine.

If I really do skip my bleed this week, do I call my doctor first and foremost or do I just go ahead and take a pregnancy test? I've read that it's normal to sometimes not get a withdrawal bleed, is that true, or does missing it indicate either pregnancy or a serious problem?

And I hate to pile on the questions, but do you have any advice on how I can talk to my boyfriend about this? Because I'd really like to use condoms as our backup method if/when we have sex since they're more reliable, but he's not a big fan of them. I don't know why- maybe it's easier not using them or it feels better for him without them, he's never given his reasons. Having him pull out was our compromise, since I need the peace of mind of a backup method but he'd still like to not wear a condom. Clearly my mind is not peaceful enough, but I don't know what to say or do about this. It doesn't really help that we only get a few opportunities to see each other over the summer, since we live in different states. We spend the bulk of our time together at college, where we both go to schools in Boston. So I don't know if this is something I should just wait to bring up until we're back at school, you know?

Again, really sorry for the long post, I had more to say and more to ask than I thought I would.

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Heather
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I don't think it's helpful to think about when you're worried and when you're not in that way. Whether the anxiety happens before, during or after, it's happening, you know?

For sure, sometimes we just skip periods or withdrawal bleeds, but when we're having the kinds of sex where pregnancy can occur, it's always wise to rule out pregnancy if and when a period is missed or late, since that does usually happen when someone is pregnant.

In terms of talking to your boyfriend, want to first let me know if you think you really are going to feel okay having intercourse at all at this time? because obviously, if you don't, it doesn't make sense to talk about condoms, it makes sense to talk about taking intercourse off the table.

(And no need for apologies!)

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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

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fridayiminlove
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I'm really baffled as to why my withdrawal bleed is missing in action- I'm a good pill user, plus all I was exposed to was possibly a small amount of precum. I can definitely say though that I can not handle this- there's such a tiny risk of pregnancy involved here and I'm completely freaked. So I guess maybe I do want to talk about taking intercourse off the table for a while, but I definitely also want to use condoms when I'm feeling comfortable with full on intercourse again.

I just really want to make sure he understands where I'm coming from here because otherwise I'm afraid this could become an argument if he doesn't get just how much anxiety this causes me. He's much more relaxed than I am in general- I do rank a bit high on the worrywart scale- so I'm afraid he won't really understand, even if he says he does to humor me. I want him to get how gut-wrenching this is for me- every time I've gone to the bathroom this week and there hasn't been any blood, it's just been awful. I know based on the facts and the science that logically I shouldn't be scared of a pregnancy here, but I can't help it, I am. We've been sexually active for just over a year, how do I tell him that I want to take a step back when it's been this long?

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Heather
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Maybe this will be an argument: are you not okay with that? In other words, can you two not have arguments and resolve them?

I can give you more feedback on the other things you've asked about having these conversations, but knowing the answer to that is pretty key, because if the answer is "no," then that means you two have a much bigger issue to work on first, IMO.

(In terms of why this is missing, sometimes we just don't know, and the same things that can cause periods to be missing or late -- like changes in our behaviors anxiety tends to create, for instance -- can cause withdrawal bleeds to be.)

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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

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fridayiminlove
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We can definitely have arguments and resolve them, we've done it in the past. I'm just a non-confrontational person in general, so I prefer avoiding conflicts. But if this becomes one, so be it, it's an issue that's important to me. I fully intend to stick to my guns here and hold off on intercourse for a while and always use condoms when we do go back to it. I just don't really know how to go about approaching this conversation.
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Heather
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Okay, no problem.

I think one very big thing to bear in mind here is that when it comes to pregnancy risks, you two are in a VERY different position, one that can't ever be reversed. While for sure, a pregnancy would have some impact on him and his life, it can't be compared to the impact it has on yours. It involves your health and body, for instance, and doesn't involve those things for him at all. You also have a greater social burden to bear with it, and greater responsibilities, no matter what choice you'd make with a pregnancy. You're the one who has to be so worried about it because you're the one who could get pregnant, not him.

None of that is anything you should have to rationalize or go nuts trying to get him to understand. He should be deferring to what you need when it comes to this, period, because it's not him at risk, it's you. If he doesn't get that, he needs to, but I'd say you should only have to say that once. Personally, if a male partner can't grok that or accept it, I don't think they're a sound person to be having intercourse with at all, because there's clearly then some kind of missing maturity or empathy piece that could really mess you up, you know?

That given, whether you're talking about taking intercourse off the table or condom use, I'd say to just step a bit outside your comfort zone for this very important thing, and make clear what you need in order to be comfortable with intercourse. Don't apologize for that or make excuses. Don't fight to convince him. Just say you continue to have levels of anxiety about this that are making a mess of your life sometimes, anxieties he too might have if the shoe were on the other foot and you either a) need to take intercourse off the table for a while or b) have condoms be used. Period.

Then he gets to decide if those things work for him or not, but if they don't, then this is all pretty easy: he's then opting out of sex with you, and that's that.

If around the condoms, you don't know what his deal has been with them, it's past time to talk about that together. Chances are good that whatever it is, it's dealable. For instance, a lot of guys who don't find them comfortable haven't been using them the right way so they can be, or don't know about how different styles can make a big difference. Or, if he's someone with a negative attitude about them that causes him to lose erection, he can work on changing that attitude: it's just not that hard.

But these are places where you're going to need to draw lines: sex always is in healthy relationships to some degree. If you haven't ever draw lines with him, he might have to get used to that, but that's okay, because that'll only improve everything. No lines = unhealthy dynamics. same goes with avoiding asking for what we know we need to try and avoid conflict. That's not healthy, either.

Lastly, sex with a partner isn't a Pandora's Box where once we open it, or start doing one activity, it always has to stay open. In ongoing sexual relationships, we're not always going to do all the same things, either around likes or wants or needs: things will shift often when sex isn't about obligation, but about pleasure, enjoyment and being in alignment with people's whole lives, because all those things tend to change often enough. So, just because you've had intercourse in the past doesn't mean you always have to.

Okay?

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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

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Heather
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I just realized we have a piece here that might give you some good cues for talking about this: http://www.scarleteen.com/article/boyfriend/hey_boyfriend_male_reproductive_choices

--------------------
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

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