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copper86
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Hello;

I have been on birth control for almost two years now; and have not missed a pill in over a year. Before my period starts (less than two weeks before), I usually get some cramps and PMS symptoms. This has to do with the birth control pill type I'm using (I had switched to Linessa from another type of pill due to breakthrough bleeding).

Three days ago, my partner gave me manual sex. He had urinated beforehand; and I am quite positive he did not masturbate during that time. My fear is that he might have had any leftover semen from prior ejaculations in his urine and that he might have touched his penis and had then touched me later. I've tried to retrace the time frame: we were out of doors and had talked for a minute or more before he had fingered me. He had touched some of my clothing before then; and I am aware that once sperm is exposed to the air, it will die quickly.

I know this may sound silly; but I am still nervous that I might have a risk of pregnancy. My partner is quite smart about these things, however; and I know that if he had anything on his hands (pee or otherwise), he would've wiped them before going near me. Also, the fact that he might have had sperm on his hands after touching his penis after urinating is all speculation... And I want to tell myself that I am safe; but I'm still worried.

I still have cramps and the feeling that my period is on its way. I just started my placebo pills today; but my period often comes early or after two placebo pills (and I know that my period can start anytime during my placebo week); so I'm trying not to stress about it. Could someone please put my mind at ease? I usually dislike posting personal information like this; but I thought it might help.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Robin Lee
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Welcome to Scarleteen.

The type of sexual activity you describe doesn't post a pregnancy risk. Even if your boyfriend had a drop of pre-ejaculate on his hand, it wouldn't have created a pregnancy risk when he touched you. Sperm isn't like bacteria; it can't just transfer from surface to surface and remain viable.

We do, naturally, recommend hand washing to eliminate dirt and bacteria which can lead to irritation or infections with manual sex, but know that this does not pose a pregnancy risk.

Here's some reading material that explains this further:

The Simple And Underrated Art Of Washing Your Hands

Pregnancy Scared?

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Robin

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copper86
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Hi!

Thank you so much for your response! I ended up starting my period this morning. I think one reason other than my paranoia for my period being "late" is because with the other brand of pill I was on (Try Cyclen-Lo), I would start my period anywhere from 5 days early to a day late; so I was never used to a period that came regularly. I am also afraid that I might be one of the rare women for whom the birth control pill does not work.

My last question might be an obvious one: How long can sperm live inside the human body? I've done lots of research on it and have gotten quite different results. Some sources say it's six days; and others say it's 72 hours (which I am more inclined to agree with).

Thank you so much for your time! It's nice to find a safe and non-judgemental place to post my questions and worries.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Robin Lee
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YOu're most welcome.

I'm wondering what you mean by the birth control pill not working for you?

I don't remember offhand how many days sperm is said to be able to live inside the body, but I know where to find the answer and will look it up and get back to you in a bit. [Smile]

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Robin

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copper86
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I've read that there are women for whom the birth control pill does not work; though they are perfect users. I've read accounts of women who were on the pill (and who used it typically or perfectly) getting pregnant - which really blew my mind at first (but I know missing pills/vomiting and diarrhea/antibiotics affect the pill's effectiveness).

I'm thinking the pill does work for me; since I've had sex and had still gotten my period later, but I'm a paranoid person by default.

Thank you for taking the time to look up the answer! It's insane that there are so many different responses for it!

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Kachina
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No method offers 100% protection. That is why we recommend using two methods, so if one fails, the other one will be a back up.

Sperm can live in the body up to 5 days.

[ 05-03-2012, 11:19 AM: Message edited by: KatWA ]

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~Kat
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copper86
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Thank you for your response!

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copper86
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I've noticed that after four days of my period, it is starting to taper off (some spotting). This has happened to me before - I might bleed for five days and then stop and start; or have nothing for a few hours and then a dramatic increase later - should I be concerned about anything right now? I know it's "normal" for periods to stop and start and for them to be lighter while on the pill; but mine usually last for six or seven days. I've been really stressed out this week; and I am still bleeding a bit.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Robin Lee
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It can be disconcerting when our bodies do something other than what we're used to them doing. You're absolutely right that these kinds of changes are normal. Stresss can definitely play a part in this. Also, our bodies aren't machines, and sometimes they just change what they do just for the heck of it.

A small change like this doesn't indicate that there is any problem. [Smile]

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Robin

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Robin Lee
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It can be disconcerting when our bodies do something other than what we're used to them doing. You're absolutely right that these kinds of changes are normal. Stresss can definitely play a part in this. Also, our bodies aren't machines, and sometimes they just change what they do just for the heck of it.

A small change like this doesn't indicate that there is any problem. [Smile]

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Robin

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copper86
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I don't mean to belabour the issue; but I'm a bit worried about what's going on. I did a lot of crying on Friday night (over something else) and had been stressed ever since; so I think that could be why my period is acting strange. I just don't like that it's tapering off now and not after the fifth or sixth day. It was a bit light(off and on with flow) last month too... So I can assume that this is just due to hormones or my body being strange and not pregnancy? I've had cramps and I would say too much blood for it to be anything different. Thank you for your time!

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Robin Lee
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As we often say here, if it looks like a period (or in this case a withdrawal bleed), feels like a period, and acts like a period, it's a period. There's nothing about this to indicate pregnancy.

Taking the birth control pill regulates the hormones related to reproduction, but our bodies have plenty of other hormones and they all interact with each other. It's not unusual for there to sometimes be less uterine lining than other times, which means that the uterus has less to get rid of during a withdrawal bleed.

Do you think you would feel less worried if you took a pregnancy test?

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Robin

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copper86
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That is a good point; especially about the uterine lining.

Most likely, but I only have one test left; and this might sound silly, but I don't want to take it now when I already have a withdrawal bleed and not have any on hand if I ever need more. The only sexual incident I've had within the last three months was the one exactly a week ago and I got my period; so I know it's quite low that there is anything wrong with me in that way. I just worry a lot. Would it be possible, after 8 months of taking a certain pill, that it would then make my period lighter? I'm home from university now permanently; so some of my recent periods have been goofy.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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copper86
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Would I even get an accurate reading if I were to test now? I'm still really worried. I had some light spotting today (into the fifth day); but after looking through my logs of past periods, some of them would taper off after four or five days.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Robin Lee
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Bleeds, whether withdrawal bleeds on birth control or periods, can vary from month to month.

It really does sound like these changes are just part of your usual variations. Variations in length and flow of withdrawal bleeds really doesn't have anything to do with pregnancy.

NOthing you've said indicates a pregnancy concern here and testing would be for your peace of mind only. [Smile]

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Robin

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copper86
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Thank you so much! I really appreciate your time!

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copper86
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I have a quick question.I have read your articles about pregnancy and implantation bleeding; but I just want to ask a quick question.

It was stated that it might take, give or take a week after sexual activity that would result in a pregnancy risk, for a pregnancy to occur. What if the person had a cycle like mine: they had the activity, then started their period four days later, that lasted from Thursday to the next Thursday (eleven days after the incident)? If I was pregnant, would my period/withdrawal bleed have stopped after the seven or so days it would take to fertilize an egg? I know you can't have a period and be pregnant; but I have been confused about this.

Edit: My period, though light after the fourth day, lasted eight days (a little heavier on the seventh day), which is normal-ish for me; and when I took a pregnancy test 9 days after the fingering incident, it was negative.

[ 05-11-2012, 01:11 PM: Message edited by: copper86 ]

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Heather
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The notion that a period would "stop" because someone became pregnant isn't a sound one. A menstrual period happens because the ovum from the previous cycle was not fertilized, and there won't be another ovum to fertilize until after a menstrual period has completed.

If a person had become pregnant in the cycle before, they would most typically miss a period entirely. If they didn't miss, it'd still be very unusual to have bleeding at the same time a period was expected, that looked and felt like a period, lasted as long as one, was as heavy, etc. if they became pregnant and were sustaining that pregnancy.

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copper86
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Oh, okay. So it looks like I do not have to worry. Thank you! [Smile] I just like to know as much about this as possible to put my (paranoid) mind at ease. [Smile]

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Heather
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Also, while we're talking about the secrecy issues in another thread, something else to think about is that hiding a relationship from everyone does tend to add way more stress and worries like these.

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copper86
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I think you are right about that, as well. I get stressed quite easily about a lot of things, though. Even though I know, rationally, that manual sex the way we did it does not constitute a pregnancy risk, I still get nervous (though many other times that we've done manual sex, I'd never worried about it then).

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Heather
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What do you think might reduce that level of stress and worry for you?

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copper86
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I think if I just sat myself down and told myself that, since I use birth control extremely well, it would be quite a leap if I somehow got pregnant (I haven't missed a pill in over a year; and have had intercourse and my period came, so I am assuming that I am not one of the rare women for whom the birth control pill does not work).

The other things are harder for me to control; since I'm always afraid that someone in the family would find out that I am seeing this person (i.e. by seeing a text). We are both adults now and being responsible; but due to the conservative nature of our families, I am sure things would not go well.

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Heather
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Would you feel better if we perhaps talked through something of a plan around this?

If so, I think we might want to start by weighing whether you think things will go better or worse if friends and family discover this -- and thus, also discover that you've been dishonest at the same time -- or if you disclose yourself before they (as people likely eventually will) find out on their own.

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copper86
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By a plan, are you referring to contraception reassurance; or with regards to the relationship?

As far as the relationship goes, I honestly do not want to disclose anything. I do feel guilty about not being honest with both families and friends; but I truly feel that my personal life is my business. Lots of my friends disclose all kinds of sex stuff; but I never say anything, partially because I find it vulgar (or like they're bragging), and because I am doing things in secret. The friends who do disclose those things would be horrified if I myself have had sex (not just because I'm not married, even though some aren't and are still having sex; but because they believe I don't want to have anything to do with that).

It's kind of a very sensitive subject; and it is honestly a lot more difficult than meets the eye, given the contexts of both families. But that isn't to say that I don't feel guilty for not giving the whole truth... I certainly do. But I enjoy being with him; and I would rather have it that no one knows about my sex life, since I would find it embarrassing, leering, and I would probably get judged for it.

This is in no way sounding rude - I appreciate your advice and replies - I just feel very afraid to even consider telling anyone. Some of my closer friends know (who don't interact with anyone that "we" know); so those are outlets I often use if I need to talk to anyone. [Smile]

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Robin Lee
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I hear how much safer it feels for you to keep your relationship private. It's always an option for you to do that, and for many people it is a good course of action.

What I'm wondering is: What if one or both families *do* find out about the relationship? Unfortunately, people have a strange habit of finding out things that we either don't want them to know or that they really shouldn't know. What would be the ramifications if someone in your families did learn of your relationship?

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copper86
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I feel bad bumping up a space in the "Emergency" thread over something that, though crucial to me, is not a risk to my health; so I will post my answer to your question in my other thread, "Awkward Situation." Thank you so much for your responses, I really appreciate them! I also truly appreciate the acceptance here and the lack of judgement!

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copper86
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As an aside question, is there any academic or scholarly source that can accurately state the failure rate of the pill? I just saw an article that said that 1 in 10 women who take the pill become pregnant; though they didn't state how the pregnancies occurred (late pills, other medications). Also, I do not know how accurate the source is. I certainly don't want to believe something just because it's there and adamant.

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Heather
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Well, understand that in the states, the FDA regulates medications very intensely, so any manufacturer stating the effectiveness rates of their BC pill has to source credible studies that prove that.

But you can also consult what we in the biz think of as the contraception bible, as it were, which is Contraceptive Technology. Most libraries will have a copy, and they also have a website online here: http://www.contraceptivetechnology.org/ and another one here: http://www.managingcontraception.com/

But just FYI, for the combined pill, the rate of effectiveness in perfect use for adult women is 99.7%, and in typical use, 92%. So, that article was publishing false information.

[ 05-16-2012, 11:32 AM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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copper86
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Thank you so much for these articles! I should know better due to my social sciences background to question the credibility of sources; but I just didn't understand what I was reading (since I was certain that my doctors would've told me about this).

I use Linessa, a combination pill; so that statistic relieves me considerably. I just like seeing sources like the ones you showed me - with stats and citing information.

I'm sorry - I'm sure you get these questions all the time - but does "typical use" refer to women taking the pill who are sometimes infrequent in taking it at the same time/window every day? Thank you again for those websites!

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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Heather
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Typical use, in the big picture, means people using a method outside strict study settings. And so, yes, not taking it around the same time every day can be part of typical use, rather than perfect use.

What I like to tell people is that with ongoing methods, and user-controlled methods, like the pill (not something like an implant, which isn't user-controlled, or a condom, whose effectiveness is really only about use at the time, not use the day before or a week later), is that if they use it as close to as-directed as possible, they should average perfect use rates with typical use rates and figure that's probably what they've got.

So, with the combined pill, around 95% (in one year).

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copper86
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Thank you so much for your fast and very knowledgeable responses!

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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