5:22 pm - 05/04/2010

Going to the gyno on your period?

I made a gyno appointment for tomorrow. Unfortunately, my period came 2 weeks early because I took Plan B. My question is, can I go to the gyno to get birth control even though I'm on my period? I know you can't get a pap smear while your period is heavy, but mine has lessened to a moderate flow. Do you even need a pap smear to get an Rx for birth control? This is (obviously) my first gyno visit so I'm really not sure how this works...especially on your period.

And I would totally just reschedule but that would take months :\

thank you <3
kitsunenomizu 4th-May-2010 10:38 pm (UTC)
Sometimes that depends on where you live, and also where you're going to get it, as far as whether it's a clinic or a hospital... When i was living in North Carolina, i had to get a pap smear before i got an Rx for birth control, but i was also a virgin then so i don't know if that had anything to do with it. When i moved back up to Wisconsin and got back on it, they had to schedule a smear because the examiner is only there once a week... but gave me an Rx for birth control.

I hope someone else can assist you more, as that's my experience.
marionravenwood 4th-May-2010 11:11 pm (UTC)
My question is, can I go to the gyno to get birth control even though I'm on my period?

Yes, you can.

Do you even need a pap smear to get an Rx for birth control?

No, there's no medical reason to need a pap test for a birth control prescription. Neither the However, in the US, many doctors require pap tests for birth control anyway. In my opinion, these doctors are bad doctors--the practice is paternalistic, manipulative, and unethical. So it's a good litmus test: if they require it, they're not someone you want to see anyway. You absolutely do not need a pap smear to get birth control pills, but you may have to be very clear and firm about it. Pelvic exams and pap tests do not have ANYTHING AT ALL to do with whether it's safe for a woman to use hormonal birth control. There is NOTHING a pelvic exam or pap test commonly detect that would prevent you from using hormonal birth control. The most important things someone can check before prescribing birth control are your blood pressure and your family history of stroke.

Neither the US Food and Drug Administration, the World Health Organization,Planned Parenthood Association, or the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists believe that a pelvic exam or pap smear should be required for hormonal birth control. According to WHO,a pelvic exam for contraceptives is a Category C. That is "does not contribute substantially to the safe and effective use of the contraceptive method."

See also: "No Strings Attached"
fireaphid 4th-May-2010 11:12 pm (UTC)
Medically, there's no reason to get a Pap test before getting prescription birth control. But many practices require it anyway because it was recommended a few decades ago before anyone knew how cervical cancer worked. Most doctors won't do a Pap while you're bleeding because the blood can lead to false positives. So, call the doc. and ask what their policies are. If they require a Pap and won't do it while you're bleeding, they can probably reschedule sooner. Keep in mind that if that's their policy, they probably get a fair number of last-minute cancellations for the same reason. Good luck!
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For the VP Team
bean668 5th-May-2010 05:46 am (UTC)
you can get a gyno exam while on your period. You can even get a pap, but there is a higher chance of false positives.

I remember when I asked my gyno if she could do an exam even though I was on my period. She said, "If a little blood scared me, I am really in the wrong profession."

sunbeatsclouds 5th-May-2010 05:08 pm (UTC)
I realize that this is now a day late, but it's generally a good idea to call the office and check. My old OBGYN didn't care, but my current one does. I actually just had the exact same issue, called to make sure it was okay, and was told that I needed to reschedule, even though I wasn't having a pap.
septicidal 5th-May-2010 05:15 pm (UTC)
If you have a primary care provider, they should be able to do a pap smear if your GYN can't fit you in. If I were in your place, I would call the GYN's office and ask, keep the appointment unless they offer to reschedule, and negotiate it with your GYN at the appointment. If they can't do the pap, ask for the birth control and ask if you have the option to get it done at your primary care office, since they would probably be able to fit you in sooner.

I was really relieved to learn that I could get pap smears and birth control through my primary care doctor, and didn't have to deal with the hell that is finding a gynecologist that doesn't have a fantastically-long waiting list.
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