During the college years, many women experiment with different sexual partners but many also find themselves in serious monogamous relationships. After finding the right man that is trustworthy and has been tested, it is normal to want to upgrade from condoms to a more permanent kind of birth control, especially if you don’t foresee having children for at least the next few years.
But keep in mind that condoms are the only contraceptive method that prevents the contraction of STDs. All other methods should be viewed as backup.
Cost may often limit the possibility of exploring different contraceptive methods, but as a student it is important to know that the Klotz Health Center on campus has great deals and opportunities for you.
The state-funded Family Planning, Access, Care, and Treatment (Family PACT) program offers free services for low-income CSUN students through the Klotz Health Center. In order to qualify, you have to live in California, be under 55 if you’re a woman or under 60 if you’re a man, and not make more than $1,700 per month, according to the Klotz Health Center website. Family PACT may provide pap smears, pregnancy testing, birth control, emergency contraception, condoms, sexual transmitted disease testing, birth control information and other sexual and reproductive health services, according to the Klotz Health Center website.
To see if you qualify, stop by the Klotz Health Center Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. and between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m.
Before getting to the specific types, here are a few things I learned in Amy Reichbach’s class which proved very informative and helpful to finding the right kind of method for me. Reichbach is the clinical patient educator at the Klotz Health Center. There are contraceptive methods that do not contain any estrogen hormones. Why fear estrogen, you ask? If you have chronic migraines or a history of breast cancer, this hormone puts you at a higher risk for both. Estrogen hormones have also been known to cause shifts in weight, mood and skin condition. Some of these include NuvaRing, the pill and the patch.
Other contraceptive methods like the implant, IUD (intrauterine device), and injections, though newer, seem to have little to no side effects. Also, the fertility restoring time is within a month after stopping or removing said contraceptive method.
Sounds great so why doesn’t everyone do it?
First of all, these last three methods (implants, IUD and injections) have not been out for more than 20 years, so although healthcare providers are confident in their effectiveness and lack of long-term side effects, it still may feel risky for some patients. Secondly, the cost for these methods without insurance is upwards of $700.
Like all new things, it may catch on more in a few years when it is more affordable to the general public.
I recently had a pregnancy scare of my own. For that period of time I experienced the fear, anxiety and elation involved with the prospect of bringing a life into this world. I spoke to other mothers including my own to weigh out the pros and cons (as most women do). Ultimately, I found myself wishing that I did not have to make this choice. Preventative contraception would have spared me the anxiety. The prospect of an abortion horrified me, not because of how I might be judged by others, but because I would constantly wonder what could have been, the mother I could be as the woman I am today, not to mention how it would affect my boyfriend. Having a child concerns both parties involved.
Unfortunately, a Nebraska teenager in foster care didn’t have that choice. A 16-year-old was denied the right to have an abortion in a ruling by the state Supreme Court earlier this month. The court ruled that she was too young to make the decision of having an abortion. When the judge asked her if she knew that the abortion would kill the fetus, the teenager said she understood but still wanted the abortion. The young girl didn’t want to be a mother at this point in her life, which is understandable.
Sadly, this young girl is going to be a mom, whether she likes it or not.
Regardless of how one feels about whether or not the Supreme Court’s ruling was fair, what we can all agree on is that sexual and reproductive health services need to be fully accessible.
But for many young women there are choices. There are many contraceptive methods of birth control, many of which do have side effects both long-term and short-term. The most important thing is to educate yourself about them. Work with a healthcare specialist who can go through you and your family’s health history to determine which is the best for you. It’s important. It matters. It’s about planning your future.
Here are some contraceptive methods that the Klotz Health Center at CSUN offers to all students:
Condoms: One time use.
The pill: Take everyday at the same time. (Each pill lasts 24 hours, so even if you are off taking it by an hour, it renders that pill benign. YOU CAN GET PREGNANT. No doubling up.)
The patch: Put on a fatty part of the body and swap out every week. Choose a different location on the body for each usage.
IUD: T-shaped plastic device that is inserted inside the cervix, with a short piece of soft wire (not felt by the penis). It can be used for 5 to 7 years.
Injections: You must visit the Klotz Health Center once every three months to get a shot.
Implant: A thin plastic bar about 2 1/2 inches long is inserted into the arm and can be left as effective contraceptive method for 3 to 4 years.
For more information about the Family PACT program at the Klotz Student Health Center, call 818 677–3651