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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » EXPERT ADVICE » Emergencies and Crises » URGENT "Plan B" Advice/Pregnancy Question (Page 1)

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Author Topic: URGENT "Plan B" Advice/Pregnancy Question
ScaredGirl123
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I know there have been similar questions like this asked on here, but I feel my situation varies from the previously addressed ones, and I am begging someone to answer my questions.

I am not a teen, I am in my twenties, but just as sexually inexperienced as most teens. On monday night I did something completely out of character. I am extremely conservative politically/personally, and I am usually the one espousing sexual responsibility. As I said, I am in my twenties, and almost all of my friends are in relationships, whereas I have been single for over 3 years, and I have been feeling extremely lonely lately.

On Monday night, I met a man and brought him home with me. This was the first (and last) time I have ever done something like this. We did not have sex. He did not ejaculate, but there was precum on his penis. (He had used the restroom earlier if that makes a difference.) I know he adjusted himself several times, so I'm no positive if he got precum on his fingers, but I assume he did. I don't exactly what his hands touched, if anything, after adjusting himself, but he fingered me. He went deep, and I know this sounds silly, but he had large hands. (Also, I am a virgin, I don't know if this makes a difference as far as the hymen being an extra barrier against sperm.)

I've read so many things on the internet but I am just trying to get a conclusive answer. If a make urinates since he last ejaculated, is there sperm in his precum? Does precum on fingers in the vagine pose a pregnancy risk?

This happened on Monday, on Tuesday I was so worried sick that I could not go to work and just stayed home all day trying to do internet research. On Wednesday I saw my psychologist because, 1. it was the only medical professional I knew how to get immediate access to, and 2. I was hoping she would allay my fears a little bit. But she did not. She told me that there was a small risk of pregnancy in this situation.

Later that day I purchased the Plan B pill, but after finding so many conflicting things on the internet about it, I decided NOT to take it. I think I regret that now. But I am not sure. It has now been over 72 hours since the incident (it's been somewhere in the 80-90 range). My decision not to take it was also influenced by calling a pregnancy hotline where the young woman I spoke to said that if you are not OK with abortion you should not take the Plan B pill.

From my understanding, and what is written on the package, Plan B primarily works by delaying ovulation, but it can also block implantation once fertilization has occurred - and that is why it is controversial and I am wary of it from a moral standpoint. BUT - is this not the same way that daily birth control works? (I am not opposed to daily birth control - I used to be in on it, but since I have been single for so long, I went off of it.)

From my research, some recent studies show that Plan B does not block implantation - but that they had to put that on the package due to uncertainty and the possibility that it might. I did call the Plan B hotline too, and I don't know if their operators cannot give out new information unless it is absolutely confirmed or not - but they said that Plan B COULD prevent implantation once fertilization has occurred.

Also, I believe I am ovulating right now. My last period started (I believe on July 22nd, maybe the 21st.) So if I am already ovulating - Plan B wouldn't delay ovulation would it?

I suppose my main questions are:

1. Does my sexual incident pose any kind of pregnancy risk?
2. Chemically, how does Plan B work different than daily birth control? Is it possible for them both to block implantation once fertilization has a occurred? Essentially, is it any more "wrong" for someone so pro-life like myself to take Plan B than would be for me to take regular daily birth control?
3. If I did decide to take the Plan B, is it too late? Seeing as to how it has been over 72 hours. (I've read in some places it can work up to 120 hours - but I would guess the risk that fertilization would have already occurred would be higher at this point?)
4. I am experience some sporadic sharp cramps. Could this be due to stress? Ovulation? Pregnancy?

Obviously, my window with the Plan B is running out, if it has not run out already, so I URGENTLY need some answers! PLEASE. I have not felt worse in my entire life. I am so mad at myself for acting irresponsibly, my stomach has been upset all week, I cry several times a day, and I'm just going completely crazy inside my head. I have never been more disappointed in myself.

If Plan B is actually not chemically different in its effects than regular birth control, I will regret not haven taken it on Tuesday or Wednesday before I started ovulating.

I have a gynecologist on Monday, as it was the soonest I could get.

PLEASE PLEASE I AM BEGGING FOR SOME ANSWERS.

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Robin Lee
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Hi ScaredGirl123 and welcome to Scarleteen!

First of all, please take a deep breath. I hear how scared you are. Getting conflicting information like this really doesn't help matters. I will answer your questions one at a time, plus a few others that you asked in your post.

First of all the hymen, or the corona as it is now often called, doesn't block anything. After all, menstrual blood and vaginal secretions come through it. It is actually a stretchy membrane with many holes and slits. You can read more about:
My Corona: The Anatomy Formerly Known as the Hymen & the Myths That Surround It

1. NO, your sexual incident really does not pose any pregnancy risks. For pregnancy to occur, there needs to be direct contact between freshly ejaculated semen and the vulva (the outside of the vagina) or the vagina itself. pre-ejaculate can contain small amounts of sperm, but again there needs to be direct contact between the penis and the vulva or vagina. And yes, urinating does clear out the urethral tract and can clean that sperm out. However, you did not have direct contact.

I know it's confusing that you have not gotten one single answer on this.

Here is some more material to read:
Where DID I Come From? A Refresher Course in Human Reproduction
Pregnancy Scared?

2. Plan B does not differ from daily birth control. It's main function is to prevent ovulation. The jury is still out on whether it does anything else. But the information we have now is that it functions in the same way as birth control pills, only in a different time frame when the dosage is different. It may also help you to know that implantation (as you'll read in the articles I linked above) does not happen for several days after a sexual encounter.
Here is some more information on
Emergency Contraception (Plan B or the Morning-After-Pill)

3. Plan B can be taken within 120 hours of a sexual encounter. As I said above, you really haven't had a risk here. You did not have the direct contact with ejaculate or a penis that is required for their to be a pregnancy risk. If it would make you feel less anxious to take the Plan B, know that it may alter your menstrual cycles for the next few months, making periods early or late, or making you have spotting between periods. This is nothing to be concerned about and will go away.

4. I'm suspecting that your cramps are from stress, and also possibly from the deep fingering on Monday. Sometimes things can get irritated. Of course, mention the cramps to your gynecologist on Monday if they haven't gone away.

Is this helpful to you at all? WE can discuss any of it further.

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

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ScaredGirl123
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Thank you so much for responding so quickly. It does help alleviate my fears a little bit.

So, to your knowledge, pregnancy cannot result from pre-ejaculate and fingering? Is this because the pre-ejaculate was exposed to air first?

I am still at a loss as to what to do with the Plan B pill. I believe my ovulation window started yesterday or today - does that mean that Plan B would not work in delaying ovulation and if it was effective it would be in the nature of preventing implantation?

(I read that it prevents this by altering the uterine lining - I also read that daily birth control does the same thing - is that correct?)

Overall, would you recommend taking the Plan B pill? Would it be any differently morally, from a pro-life standpoint, than taking a daily birth control? (I'm sorry, there is just so much controversy over it.) And I feel like if I would have taken it Tuesday or Wednesday before ovulation started I would have felt easier about taking it. But Wednesday was the day I called that hotline and the girl basically told me it was morally wrong to take it.

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Robin Lee
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HI ScaredGirl123,


My apologies for taking longer to get back to you this time.

I'm glad this helped a little bit.

It really is very very unlikely for pregnancy to occur from fingering with pre-ejaculate on fingers. This isn't something that is studied a lot, so it's hard to give you scientific data on it. What we do know is that there are things sperm need to survive and do their work. While it's only one sperm that gets together with an egg, it's many many sperm that help it along the way. Sperm also need seminal fluid to move and to stay alive and viable. From what you've described you're not even terribly certain if there was pre-ejaculate on this guy's fingers. this tells me that if there was any fluid on his fingers at all, it was a drop. Everything we know about how pregnancy occurs indicates that this scenario really doesn't fall into any of the scenarios in which pregnancy could occur.

If you have indeed already ovulated, Plan B won't prevent ovulation.

What we know about how Plan B works is encapsulated in this paragraph from our article about it:

"although early studies indicated that alterations in the endometrium after treatment with the regimen might impair receptivity to implantation of a fertilized egg, more recent studies have found no such effects on the endometrium. Additional possible mechanisms include interference with corpus luteum function; thickening of the cervical mucus resulting in trapping of sperm; alterations in the tubal transport of sperm, egg, or embryo; and direct inhibition of fertilization. No clinical data exist regarding the last three possibilities."
Hormonal birth control and by extention emergency contraception is known to alter the uterine lining but it is not known whether and how this impacts its action as a contraceptive. I don't feel as if I'm in a good position to advise you on whether taking Plan B is right for you based on your moral beliefs; I can only give you the information that Plan B is not and cannot act as an abortifacient.

If you feel as if taking Plan B would ease your mind, then take it knowing that it will not hurt you. Know too that the chances of you becoming pregnant from this sexual encounter are slim to none.

Is there any other information I can give you that would be helpful to you?

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

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ScaredGirl123
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Thank you for getting back to me.

1. If today is the 13 or 14th day of my cycle, then I am already ovulating right?

2. And you're saying that daily hormonal birth control can possibly do all these same things that Plan B can possibly do? And Plan B can do nothing more than daily birth control?
"possible mechanisms include interference with corpus luteum function; thickening of the cervical mucus resulting in trapping of sperm; alterations in the tubal transport of sperm, egg, or embryo; and direct inhibition of fertilization."

3. What is the corpus luteum function exactly?

4. If I am already ovulating and there has been fertilization, Plan B could possible prevent implantation? (Not likely, but it could?) And could daily birth control do this same thing for someone who has already ovulated?

Thank you again. I'm sorry I am so paranoid. I am just really torn as to what to do.

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ScaredGirl123
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Oh, one more thing as well.

I am supposed to go out with friends tonight, but now I am afraid to go out and drink alcohol (I am over 21). Should I forgo these activities until I've taken a pregnancy test?

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Robin Lee
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HI There,

I don't know the answers to all of these questions, but I will find them for you.

In terms of drinking alcohol, I don't know what the answer is as I'm not a doctor. However, I doubt that it would do any harm.

And just to clarify something: If you were pregnant, and I really, really, really want to emphasize that becoming pregnant from the sexual activity you described is about as unlikely as finding hundreds of dollars just lying on the sidewalk, a pregnancy test would not show right now that you're pregnant. It takes several days for the body to become pregnant and a few more for a pregnancy test to pick that up.

With your questions about it, I think you might find it helpful to reach about daily hormonal birth control.

Combined Oral Contraceptives (The Pill)

I would also really encourage you, if you haven't already, to read the "where did I come from" piece. As I said above, we're really not qualified here to help you with your moral dilemma, but I do think it will help you to have all the facts.

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

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Robin Lee
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HI There,

I'm not sure if this would be useful to you, but I found a resource with a lot of information about religion and all aspects of sexuality, including birth control. You might find some helpful information here:

http://www.religiousinstitute.org/

(You can continue to talk with us, of course. [Smile] I just wanted you to have as much information that would benefit you as possible.)

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

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ScaredGirl123
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Thank you, I will look at that.

My concern now is just that I didn't take the Plan B before ovulation. From what I have learned here it seems to work the same way as daily birth control right? I just wish I would have found this resource earlier in the week. I don't want to take it if fertilization has occurred. I'm just wondering if there's a difference in the way Plan B and daily BC work. Does daily BC just delay ovulation or can it prevent implantation once fertilization has occurred also?

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ScaredGirl123
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Also, I am now having more stomach pain. Some sharp, some dull, some cramp-like, some in the more upper part of my stomach. Do you think that is just stress?
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Robin Lee
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Pain in your upper abdominal region sounds like stress to me. It's not an indication of pregnancy if that is what you're wondering.

Daily birth control pills have been around for a long time, and have been the subject of many, many studies. From this we know that their primary action is preventing ovulation. They do also make cervical mucus thicker and uterine lining thinner, which can both impede the process of becoming pregnant (and biologically, it's a pretty extensive process) but 9.999999 times out of 10 there's not going to be any egg released by the ovary so long as the pills are taken properly.

Were you able to read the articles I linked you to about reproduction and pregnancy risks? If so, does what I said above about this really not being a risk make sense to you?

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

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ScaredGirl123
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Yes, they make sense, and I know I am at minimal risk. I just can't stop worrying.

Today is the last day of the 120 hours in which I could take Plan B, and it is also the 14th day of my cycle, so I have probably already ovulated/am ovulating, and I don't think I would feel comfortable taking Plan B at this point. That information - the 9.99 times out of 10 an egg is not released if daily BC is taken properly - that is the information I was looking for. It doesn't seem like daily BC would prevent implantation, the way Plan B might - if I understand correctly?

The stomach pains I am feeling are all over my stomach. Some of them are cramp-like and in my lower abdomen/pelvis. Some of them are kind of sharp. Is this something to be concerned about or could it also be stress?

And I know this is the silliest thing I have said so far, but I was comforted when you said "becoming pregnant from the sexual activity you described is about as unlikely as finding hundreds of dollars just lying on the sidewalk" - then yesterday when I was on a bus a woman dropped a wad of cash (someone told her and she picked it up.) It just feels like these silly things making me worry more are all around me.

I keep thinking about Plan B and its success rate and just wondering if I should have taken it the very first day after this happened - I would have felt less guilty about it. In honesty, I did not find that religion and sexuality website to be very helpful because it just seemed like it was all from a pro-choice point of view, and not in line with my beliefs.

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Robin Lee
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HI There,

I'm glad you told me that the Web site wasn't helpful to you. There's never any pressure here to just agree to find something helpful because we give it to you. [Smile]

You keep mentioning that you're ovulating. Not everyone ovulates on the 14th day of her cycle, and in truth, it's pretty hard to know when we ovulate unless we track our cycles daily for several months, using basal body temperature readings and examination of cervical mucus. So, while I can't tell you for sure that you aren't ovulating, I can tell you that the number of days you are into your cycle isn't the primary determination for ovulation.

These stomach pains do sound like stress. They would not under any circumstances be an indication of pregnancy. Bodily changes from pregnancy don't start until a few weeks into the pregnancy; in factm, there would be no way to determine at this point whether you are pregnant; testing is not known to be accurate until 14 days after a pregnancy risk, or when a period is known to be late, whichever comes first.

From my understanding, there really is no solid evidence that Plan B prevents implantation.


I'm not sure if this is a difficulty for you, but in case it is I wanted to address the fact that your psychologist told you that your sexual activity posed a risk of pregnancy. Unfortunately, what we know about the training of most health care professionals, psychologists, social workers, even doctors, is that they don't receive a lot of training in sexuality. This means that when discussing sexuality these professionals often bring their own beliefs and knowledge into the discussion. This is not intended to paint your psychologist as unknowledgeable or us as your sole resource for accurate information; I only wanted to give you a little perspective.

IN fact, you might find it helpful to read information from medically related sites. The Mayo Clinic has extensive information on their site about birth control and related subjects.

What would you find most helpful right now?

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

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ScaredGirl123
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I am not sure what I would find the most helpful right now, to be honest. I suppose just reassurance that my incident does not pose a real pregnancy risk. I am still worried, and will be worried until the end of the month.

I feel stupid having bought the Plan B pill in the first place. But I still don't know whether I feel I should have used it or not. There is a lot of conflicting information out there regarding implantation - when I called the Plan B hotline they did say there was a possibility it could prevent implantation. So that's why I did not use it. It seems there is not yet one definite answer to this question. As emerging research shows it might not affect implantation - but traditional sources say it could.

I am having a lot of trouble just putting my mind at ease. My primary worry is pregnancy but I am also worried about STD's. I am seeing a gynecologist on Monday, but it might be too early to tell about either thing. I am hoping she helps to ease my mind a little though.

I keep going back over the incident in my head, and keep having these wonders/worries if more happened than I remember. Do you ever find others thinking along these lines? Maybe worrying about something too much causes them to go back over it in their heads and question their own memory?

And have you ever heard of any documented cases where a pregnancy has a occurred from the kind of incident I have described?

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ScaredGirl123
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Also, I appreciate your perspective on what my psychologist told me. I have honestly gotten more comfort from this message board than I did from talking with her.
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ScaredGirl123
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Sorry, for three replies in a row, I am just worrying a lot. I had a lot of things to do this month. But now I feel like I have to put everything on hold, wait until I get my period, to make plans for the future.
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Robin Lee
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I can absolutely assure you that if we thought there was a pregnancy risk from this, we would be the first to tell you. No, I've never heard of any documented cases of pregnancy resulting from what you described. As you know from our conversations, there needs to be contact between fresh ejaculate and the vulva or vagina. From what I understand of what you've written here, your concern is about pre-ejaculate that might have been on his fingers.

And we absolutely see people worrying to the point of wondering whether they've forgotten something that happened. It sounds to me as if you're very self-aware in general, so I suspect that you're remembering things accurately.

Some friendly advice: You don't need to put your life on hold. In about a week you can take a pregnancy test to put your mind at ease. Talking with your gynecologist about STI risks is a great idea; know that manual sex presents fewer STI risks than other types of sex, but it's still definitely a good idea to talk to your doctor about it.

I know you're scared, and based on what you've said it sounds like you're feeling a bit guilty too, which is going to increase your level of worry.

Can you do something nice for yourself to give yourself a break from all this worry?

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

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ScaredGirl123
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I am just trying to take it easy. I've talked to a few friends about it and that helps too. And I do appreciate all the advice you've given me, it's helpful to hear your reassurance.

You are right, I absolutely feel guilty. I cannot wait for this month to be over, hopefully all will be well, I can get on with my life and not make another mistake like this.

The only other question I can think of for right now is would you recommend holding off on drinking alcohol until I take a pregnancy test? (Like I mentioned, I am over 21.) I have few events coming up for work and what not where I know there will be alcohol.

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Robin Lee
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It's really what you're most comforttable with. I'm not a medical professional so I can't say with certainty, but I suspect that a drink or two won't hurt anything. You'll be able to take a pregnancy test in a little more than a week and then you'll know for sure. If it would ease your mind, you could drink nonalcoholic drinks until then.

Do you have a plan for working on the guilt and developing forgiveness for yourself?

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

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ScaredGirl123
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Do you suspect that a drink or two won't hurt anything because you believe there's not really a pregnancy risk here?

I believe that I have definitely learned from this and it will certainly affect my decision-making in the future. Obviously if it all turns out OK it will be much easier to forgive myself. If not, I will have to face to the consequences, but in order to ever move forward I will have to forgive myself, even if it takes a little more time.

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ScaredGirl123
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Also, as you said you are not a medical professional, do you believe a medical professional would have a different view on the possible pregnancy risk in this situation?
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Robin Lee
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It's certainly possible that a medical professional would have a different view of the risks of this situation. The information we provide here is based on medical and scientific fact, so any variation from a responsible informed professional would be in terms of how much risk they think is acceptable.


You're seeing your gynecologist tomorrow so you can discuss all of this with her.

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

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ScaredGirl123
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And my worry level just went up again.
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ScaredGirl123
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Help - I saw the gynecologist today and though she said she thought my risk of pregnancy was extremely low, as well as my risk of STI's - she didn't even think a blood test was necessary at this time - she told me something completely contrary to what I've been told/read in every other source of information regarding this situation. She said there is no difference between pre-ejaculatory fluid and semen, and in fact, that precum actually contains the MORE sperm than semen. How can this be? Everything else I've read says that precum acts as a sort of lubricant and may contain sperm (though less than full ejaculation), and even less if the man has urinated since his last ejaculation. Are these just theories and guesses? The woman saw today was a medical doctor.

Even after saying that though, she said she thought it was fine that I did not take Plan B and she wouldn't have recommended it anyway because she doesn't really think I'm at risk - since the precum in question had be transferred via fingers rather than penis.

Have you have heard of this before? That precum and semen are no different, and in fact precume actually contains more sperm?

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ScaredGirl123
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Hope to hear back from you soon.
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Karybu
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I have never heard from any reliable source that pre-ejaculate contains more sperm than semen. I don't know where your doctor got her information, but it doesn't match up with anything else I've read about sperm counts in pre-ejaculate.

--------------------
"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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ScaredGirl123
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I had finally stopped worrying a little, but it has been 9 days since the incident and today I found a small drop of blood in my underwear. It was off to one side and only one small spot. My period isn't due for another 2 weeks, and I never have spotting between periods. Could this be implantation bleeding? Or could it be caused by stress? Or could it just be nothing? PLEASE respond, I am freaking out.
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ScaredGirl123
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Re: my last post, I just found this on about.com:
"If you do notice when implantation bleeding occurs, you may experience light spotting, or only a single a spot of blood as small as a pinhead on your underwear."

Please, please. Tell me it could be something else.

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Karybu
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Implantation bleeding is uncommon - it happens in less than 1/3 of pregnancies. To boot, you didn't have a risk to start with, so you can be certain this is not implantation bleeding.

Stress can cause all sorts of changes to your cycle, including sometimes causing spotting. So it's very likely that stress is what's going on here. (And, just because you've never had spotting between periods before doesn't mean it's not possible - our bodies do all sorts of things all the time that we don't expect.)

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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ScaredGirl123
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THANK YOU thank you for responding so quickly!

I notice you are a different volunteer than the first one I talked to, who said my risk was very minimal. So you don't think I even had a risk to start with?

Again thank you, I can relax a little now knowing this could be from stress. Do you think it could also have anything to do with the pelvic exam I had on Monday?

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Karybu
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Reading back through the thread, I'm not seeing anywhere Robin said that the pregnancy risk was minimal; she says several times that pregnancy is not possible. And, from the Pregnancy Scared? article she linked you to earlier in the thread, there's this:
quote:
Were you only kissing, having oral sex, manual sex and/or dry sex, where everyone had clothes on and no one ejaculated on or very near anyone else's vulva? These kinds of sex do NOT present any pregnancy risks, though some can present risks of STIs.
It's possible that this spotting is from the pelvic exam - did you have a pap smear as well?

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"Another world is not only possible, she is on her way. On a quiet day, I can hear her breathing." -Arundhati Roy

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ScaredGirl123
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I feel dumb for saying this, but I'm not sure. To my knowledge, I did not. I was really nervous about being there, so I don't remember all of what the doctor said while she was examining me. I know she used a speculum and I'm not sure if that was just to look or if she did a pap smear as well.

She said she didn't see much risk either, so she just did what she thought was necessary. She wasn't concerned about STI's either, she didn't even give me a blood test. (But after what she said about precum being the same thing as semen and containing the most sperm, I don't know quite how I feel about her. Maybe she has to say stuff like that to young people to scare them away from the pullout method.)

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ScaredGirl123
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I know I opted out of the "PapSure" test which is some new test, I think it's some of kind of new more involved pap smear. But I got what comes standard with every exam, so if a regular pap smear is something that occurs at a standard pelvic exam, then I got one.

I'm sorry. Like I said, I was so nervous about being there, some of it is a blur.

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ScaredGirl123
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My period is still about a week away but today I had another small spot of brownish blood/discharge. Sometimes this happens like a day before my period, but usually not a whole week. I've also had some slight cramping. Is this something to be concerned about?
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Robin Lee
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A little bit of spotting isn't generally anything to worry about, but if this is unusual for you, it might be worth getting checked out.

Also, I know you were worried about pregnancy. If you still are, and would like to know for sure, you can take a test now and get an accurate result.

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Robin

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