When I was younger, I was afraid of seeing my family doctor. I never knew what my appointments were for; I just followed my mom into the office without knowing whether I’d be poked with a needle or prodded by a popsicle stick. I suppose most of my fear came from said unexpected stabbings, but as I aged and my check-ups became routine, the fear remained. Why?
Not knowing what I’d hear from my doctor caused so much anxiety that I avoided showing up all together. And when I did pay a visit, I got out of there as fast as I could. It wasn’t until I became sexually active that I realized ignorance isn’t exactly bliss when it comes to health. Turns out, it’s far less complicated to deal with your sexual health when you know w t f is going on; and it’s a lot less terrifying to be on top of it than pretending it isn’t there.
For birth control specifically, I found that most of my peers were deciding on their method based on recommendations (and horror stories) they heard from others. They simply waltz’d up to the nearest health clinic, asked for whatever prescription they deemed decent, and dealt with whatever repercussions followed suit. The Truth Report states that only a third of women get contraception information from their healthcare providers. That’s a pretty low fraction considering how important birth control (or lack thereof) is to the millennial.
I’m guilty of having done the same dance, but after throwing my hormones (and sanity) under the bus – and running them over a few times thanks to clearly unfitting birth control methods – I started seeking options that better addressed my unique body, lifestyle, and plans for the future. If your information sources are anything like mine, you’d be surprised to hear what your doctor has to say about addressing your needs.
Taking hold of your sexual health is ultimately in your hands. For most, family doctors are an untapped resource for valuable information. Ask them questions! Request their recommendations! That’s what they’re for!
If you need help ensuring you’ve addressed the most important points at your next check-up, bring along this checklist. You need to make an effort before your doctor can help you. At the end of the day, it’s not their full responsibility to make sure you show up, have all the legitimate facts, and are equipped to make huge decisions surrounding your birth control — it’s yours.