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Going Back to College? Schedule Your Annual Exam Today

If you’re heading back to school this fall, schedule your annual exam today. Even if you feel healthy, your annual exam can assure all is good or catch health concerns early when they are more easily treated. Here’s what you can expect at your annual exam:

  • Screen for health concerns and assess your risk for future concerns
  • Talk with you about birth control options, sexually transmitted infection (STI) prevention and your sexual health
  • Update your vaccinations
  • Provide you with other health-specific resources

Your annual exam can also offer some peace of mind when it comes to your sexual health. Women who are sexually active should be screened for chlamydia and gonorrhea until the age of 25, and then after 25 if at high risk. Your provider can also screen or other STIs, like hepatitis C, syphilis or herpes.

Finally, your annual exam can also keep you up to date on your Pap test, which occurs every three years, starting at age 21. A Pap test involves collecting cells from the surface of the cervix to look for changes that could be a sign of cervical cancer.

Birth Control and STI Prevention

To succeed in the classroom, you want to be smart about how you approach your studies and avoid leaving things to chance. The same goes for your sexual health when you’re off at college. If you will be sexually active in college, create a plan so that you can protect your health and the health of your partner. Here are some sexual health tips for people heading to college this fall.

Prevent Pregnancy

An unintended pregnancy can change your life trajectory in a hurry or leave you facing some significant decisions, and statistics show that people between the ages of 18 and 25 are the most common group to experience an unplanned pregnancy. Suffice it to say it’s important that you consider your birth control options if you expect to be sexually active this school year.

But what are some of the most common and most effective forms of birth control? Here’s a look at some birth control methods and their level of effectiveness.

Long-Acting Reversible Contraceptive (LARC) – The most effective forms of birth control on this list are long-acting reversible contraceptives, which are more than 99 percent effective at preventing an unplanned pregnancy. These devices are implanted or inserted by a medical professional, and they effectively alter the way sperm cells move so that they cannot reach the egg. An IUD or Nexplanon implants are examples of a LARC.

Birth Control Pills – Birth control pills are a little less effective than LARCs, as statistics show that they lead to 6-9 unplanned pregnancies for every 100 women who use the pill as their only form of contraception. The combined oral contraceptive pill safely stops ovulation, and if there is no egg to fertilize, pregnancy can’t happen. However, you need to remember to take your pill every day, otherwise it may not be effective.

Condoms/Diaphragms – Condoms and diaphragms are two types of contraceptives that work to block the sperm from getting to the uterus. Condoms can break and diaphragms can shift, and these methods lead to anywhere from 12 to 24 unplanned pregnancies per 100 people who use this as their only form of contraception.

Withdrawal/FAM – Withdrawal is a method in which a person withdraws from the partner prior to ejaculation in order to reduce the chance of a pregnancy. While FAM stands for fertility awareness method, and it involves tracking a person’s ovulation cycle to avoid having sex during the time while most fertile.

Avoid STIs

You also want to be mindful of preventing STIs if you will be sexually active. The best way to do that is to use a condom every single time you have sex, as it can greatly reduce the likelihood of contact between genital secretions. However, certain sexually transmitted infections like herpes and HPV can be transmitted from skin contact, so condoms are not a foolproof method for STI prevention. Other helpful ways to reduce STI transmission risk include:

  • Having fewer sexual partners
  • Being vaccinated against certain infections
  • Having a partner that is vaccinated against certain infections
  • Getting tested to ensure you are not carrying an STI

Our team hopes you have a great year at college, and we are here for you as you prepare for the year. For an appointment, call 763-587-7000 or book online.