Redfern Health Center

Women’s Clinic Frequently Asked Questions

It’s my first visit to the Women’s Clinic. What should I expect?

If your first visit to the Women’s Clinic is for your annual exam, you should allow ample time for your appointment as an annual exam appointment averages about an hour, much longer than other types of visits to the Women’s Clinic. During this time, you will be filling out paperwork concerning your personal and family health history, your height and weight will be measured, and the following procedures will be performed: hematocrit (finger prick/stick), urinalysis, head-to-toe physical, breast exam, Pap smear and pelvic exam.

If your first visit is a problem visit, your appointment will most likely require much less time than an annual exam. During your appointment, your vitals will be taken and your problem and concerns will be discussed with the nurse or nurse practitioner. Any additional tests or exams will depend on the problem.

How do I choose a method of birth control?

There are many decisions to make when choosing the right birth control method for you, from what type of hormones to how often you want to remember to take it (daily, weekly, monthly, etc.). If you are not sure which method of birth control is best for you and your lifestyle, the nurse or nurse practitioner will discuss the different types of birth control with you. Usually, you will be able to make an informed decision within the visit.

How do I take the pill?

The quick-start method (starting the pill on the day of your exam) has become the easiest and most popular method to start the oral contraceptive pill. Another option is to start taking the active pills on the first day of your period. There is no wrong time to start the birth control pill, but it is important to remember, once beginning, to take the pill about the same time every day (plus or minus one hour).

I missed one of my pills. What do I do now?

When taking birth control pills, it is important to remember to take your active pills about the same time every day. However, if you do miss an active pill, there are steps you can take to get back on track.

  • If you miss one active pill, take it as soon as you remember. Take your next pill at your regularly scheduled time; this could mean taking two pills in one day.
  • If you miss two active pills in a row, take two pills on the day you remember and take two pills the next day. Then take one active pill daily.
  • If you miss three active pills in a row, you may start a withdrawal bleed. If you are taking a monophasic pill (a pill that contains the same amount of hormones in each pill), you can start taking your pills where you left off, skipping the placebo pills and go to a new pack of pills. If you are taking a tri-phasic pill (a pill that contains varied levels of hormones), once you have started a withdrawal bleed, start a new pack of pills, using a backup method for seven days.
I’m almost out of birth control. How do I get more?

If you are approaching the time for your annual exam, make an appointment for your annual exam, and the Women’s Clinic will refill your prescription at that time. If your prescription will run out before your next annual appointment, there is no need to run out of birth control pills. Simply call and schedule a 15-minute appointment with the Women’s Clinic or come to Redfern and ask to be seen in the nurse’s clinic, where you will be provided with a prescription to last you until your next annual exam.

I have just started taking the pill and have spotting. What should I do?

During the first few months of taking the pill, your body will be adjusting to the introduction of hormones, so you might experience spotting between withdrawal bleeds, called breakthrough bleeding. If you continue to experience breakthrough bleeding after three cycles on your pill, you should make an appointment to change your birth control prescription. Emotional changes lasting more than three weeks warrant a change in birth control, and you should make an appointment to change your prescription.

There’s been a change in my period. Should I be concerned?

If you have started taking birth control, there’s no need to be concerned. Withdrawal bleeds on birth control usually are lighter, shorter and less painful. If the period/withdrawal bleed is heavier, longer or more painful, you will need to make an appointment with the Women’s Clinic to see a nurse practitioner.

I think I might be pregnant. What should I do?

If you have concerns about pregnancy, schedule an appointment with the Women’s Clinic. We can address these concerns and provide you with reliable testing. Serum and urine testing is available through Redfern’s Laboratory. Urine test results are available in five to 10 minutes, while serum blood test results take 12 to 24 hours.

What is emergency contraceptive and how can I get it?

Plan B (also called the Morning After Pill/Emergency Contraceptive) is a backup birth control method that can prevent pregnancy after unprotected sex or when other methods of contraception fail. It is most effective if taken immediately after unprotected intercourse has occurred. If taken within 72 hours of unprotected sex, studies show that pregnancy can be reduced by 89 percent, and while the percentage decreases over time, Plan B can be effective up to 120 hours after unprotected intercourse. To take Plan B, take one tablet as soon as possible and take the second tablet within 12 hours of taking the first. Or you can take both tablets at the same time; it is just as effective and easier (since it prevents forgetting to take second tablet).

If you are 18 years or older, you do not need a prescription to obtain Plan B. Redfern’s Pharmacy does offer Plan B. For privacy, a notepad is located at the pharmacy window for requesting Plan B or refills on other medications. If you are not sure that you need Plan B, please feel free to call Redfern Health Center Women’s Clinic.

I think I’ve been exposed to an STD. Does the Women’s Clinic really perform confidential STD testing?

Yes. All visits, medical or psychological, are strictly confidential. Your medical records cannot be released without your written consent except in the event of a life-threatening medical emergency, under subpoena or for reporting certain contagious diseases.

I think I’ve been sexually assaulted. What should I do?

If you think you have been sexually assaulted, it is important that you take the following steps.

DO

  • Go to a safe place
  • Call someone you trust for support
  • Call 911
  • Seek medical attention as soon as possible

If the attack occurred in the last 72 hours, it is important that you do not do any of the things listed below before going to the emergency room. If you believe you were given a date rape drug, be sure to tell the emergency room personnel.

DO NOT

  • shower
  • urinate
  • defecate
  • douche
  • drink
  • eat
  • smoke
  • comb your hair
  • change your clothes

Contact CU Cares at 864-656-2233 to obtain counseling services or to see what support services are available to you.