Answers from the Health Educator – Latest and Greatest

Question from September 19, 2018

QUESTION: I was on Depo since June 20th and I was supposed to go get my shot on Sept 5th or the 10th but I missed both days. I have been spotting for 3 weeks through the end of August and I finally stopped spotting on the 10th of September. I had unprotected sex Sept 15th-18th. Lately I feel sick while I’m eating and it’s hard to go to sleep at night, I’m up all night while my boyfriend is asleep. I sleep all morning or may sleep in until 3-4 in the afternoon. Do you think I could be pregnant or it’s to early to find out?

ANSWER: It can take up to two weeks after unprotected sex for a pregnancy test to show whether or not you are pregnant, so if you had unprotected sex on the 15th a pregnancy test may not show an accurate result until the 29th. I would recommend getting a Plan B as soon as you can.  Plan B  is an emergency contraceptive that helps to decrease risk of pregnancy if you take it within 5 days of unprotected sex. After you take a Plan B you can ask your nurse if you could start Depo again.

Question from August 29, 2018

QUESTIONI am currently a student here in Athens and I am interested in getting on some form of birth control. I do have insurance but I do not think my parents would approve and do not want them to find out. Can I still get on birth control and if so, how much would it be if I do not use my insurance?

ANSWER: If you are under 20 years old you can go to either one of our Teen Matters locations and receive birth control for free no insurance needed. If you are 20 or older you can go to the Clarke County Health Department where they also offer free contraceptive pills, Depo shot, or free insertion for long-acting birth controls like the IUD or Implant.

Question from August 9, 2018

QUESTION: My doctor told me to wait two weeks for birth control to be effective, I got it on Wednesday, so I had sex with my boyfriend and he ejaculated inside me exactly two weeks after, (the second Wednesday) Am I protected???

ANSWER: From what you have described it sounds like you followed your doctor’s orders and waited two weeks before you had sex so you should not be at risk of pregnancy.

Question from August 7, 2018

QUESTION: Hi, I had unprotected sex on Sunday night and on Tuesday afternoon. I went to prevent with Depo shot. Is it possible that I may be pregnant?

ANSWER: The Depo shot is a form of birth control that can prevent pregnancy after 7 days of your first injection and can continue to reduce risk of pregnancy if you continue to get your shot on time once every three months. To prevent a possible risk of becoming pregnant after having unprotected sex for someone that is not regularly taking a form of birth control (like the Depo shot) Plan B is recommended. The sooner Plan B (or the Morning After pill) is taken the better it works, but you can take it up to 72 hours after unprotected sex.

Question from August 6, 2018

QUESTION: Hi so I’ve been on Depo for 6 months and I’m due for my next shot August 10th.  The last couple of times I’ve had sex it’s been protected but it was really painful.  Days after I have been spotting and it’s really light.  I was wondering if there’s a chance I could be pregnant or if the spotting could just be because it’s almost time for my next shot?

ANSWER: The spotting could be a sign that you are almost due for your next shot.  As long as you are not past due for your shot, then your risk of pregnancy is very low.  The only other concern I have is that you stated you are having pain with sex as well as the spotting a couple of days after – this makes me concerned you may have an infection.  There are various infections that can cause these side effects, including STDs or bacterial infections.  I would strongly advise you discuss these symptoms when you go in for your next depo shot and request testing.

Question from August 3, 2018

QUESTION: Been on Nexplanon for around  3 years now and rarely have periods.  Boyfriend had an “oops” 8 days ago and I just started up a period.  Like I said periods are rare for me.  Possibility of being pregnant?  Or is having a period the total opposite?

ANSWER: First, to answer your question, having a period is typically a good sign to indicate that you are not pregnant – it is more likely that you are having a period as a sign that your Nexplanon is getting close to being due for removal than it is a sign of pregnancy.  Second, you said you have had the Nexplanon for roughly 3 years now, remember that Nexplanon is a 3 year implant – so double check your dates to see if you are due for removal yet.  If you are due for removal (and reinsertion of a new implant if you choose), make sure you start using a back up method of protection – like condoms or abstinence – until you are able to get a new Nexplanon or method of birth control.  If you are unsure of when your Nexplanon is due for removal, I would advise to start using condoms until you are able to contact the clinic or doctors office where you had it inserted to confirm when you need to get it removed.  If you have any further questions, or need me to clarify anything, please let me know!

Question from August 2, 2018

QUESTION: Is it dangerous or unhealthy that I am taking two forms of birth control?  I take the birth control pills but I am also on the depo.

ANSWER: For short term fixes, like regulating bleeding patterns, it is often safe to be on a birth control pills as well as the depo shot, or implant.  BUT this should only be done after discussing it with a doctor or medical professional.  Some doctors or clinics will provide a three month supply of birth controls to help regulate bleeding patterns while on depo or Nexplanon – but it should only be done if already discussed with a medical professional.

Question from July 27, 2018

QUESTION: I’ve had the implant for a year now and I recently had unprotected sex for the first time and have been worried that I’m pregnant or if it’s possible for me to get pregnant.

ANSWER: Your chances of becoming pregnant while on the implant are extremely low!  5 in 10,000 or 0.0005% of users will get pregnant on the implant (and most of those pregnancies occur within the first week after getting the implant inserted or after the 3 years are up).  Remember, no method of birth control (other than abstinence) is 100% effective at preventing pregnancy but Nexplanon is the most effective birth control method available.

Question from July 23, 2018

QUESTION: I received my first depo shot the first week in February 2018, I think it was the 6th or 7th.  I received my second depo shot on April 25th.  I decided to get on birth control pills because of the side effects from the shot.  Next due date for shot was July 18th but started my new pack of pills today July 23, 2018.  So am I still protected with my depo and I’ve had unprotected sex 3 times since then?

ANSWER: When starting a new method of birth control it takes 7 days for the new method to become fully effective.  If you had unprotected sex within the first 7 days of starting birth control pills, it would be best to get and take a Plan B Emergency Contraceptive pill to help reduce your chances of becoming pregnant.  I would also suggest calling your doctor’s office or clinic where you get your depo shot, to see if you had any overlap in protection between your depo and birth control pills.  There are two different types of depo injection you can receive and each shot has a slightly different re-injection calendar – so depending on which type of depo you had been receiving you may or may not have still been protected during the first week you switched to birth control pills.

Questions from July 20, 2018

QUESTION: Hi, I swapped from depo to the Implant and was on my period and had unprotected sex with my partner after 3 days, is it possible for me to get pregnant?

ANSWER: It takes a new method of birth control 7 days to become effective – so your implant was not yet effective after only 3 days.  Just based on the information in your question, that would mean it is possible for you to become pregnant.

QUESTION: Hello, I just have a health related question, I was supposed to go back to my OB doctor to get my 3 dose of the depo shot. I was late for my second shot had gotten it in January, my next one was supposed to be in April but I missed it.  I haven’t had any period since I have been on the depo shot which was in September of 2017.  And since I have been off the shot I still haven’t received my period, and have had unprotected sex.  How long does it take to get pregnant after missing the shot?

ANSWER: First, you are no longer protected from pregnancy and are at risk of becoming pregnant any time you have unprotected sex!  Absence of a “normal” period does not necessarily indicate absence of fertility – so any time you have unprotected sex right now, there is a chance you could become pregnant.  Every person is different so there is no way to know when you will begin having regular periods again – users report their normal monthly period returning any where from a few months to 12 months after stopping depo.  If you are not trying to become pregnant, then you need to get started on a new method of birth control immediately or begin using condoms any time you have sex.

Question from July 18, 2018

QUESTION: Hi so I’m on birth control and I’ve been spotting for like 13 days and it comes and goes.  I recently had sex and my discharge when my bf ejaculated was white and bleedy.  What does that mean?

ANSWER: Hormonal birth control can often cause a change in bleeding patterns.  If you are spotting and have sex your discharge during sex may have blood in it as well – this is normal and nothing you necessarily need to be worried about.  Have you ever been tested for STDs before?  There are some STDs than can cause a change in bleeding pattern as well – so if your bleeding persists, or if you think there could be a chance you could possibly have gotten an STD, I would advise you come in to speak with a nurse and discuss your symptoms and concerns.

Question from July 16, 2018

QUESTION: I had sex sex with my bf on Thursday July 12th at night after ejaculation we noticed that the condom got stuck inside my vagina.  We tried to get it out but couldn’t find it, we then decided to take a morning after pill on Friday morning, now I just peed out the condom today (Sunday the 15th).  My question is will the morning after pill that i took Friday be effective if the condom has been inside me for so many days?  And how long does the semen stay alive inside the condom?

ANSWER: Plan B emergency contraceptive pills (or Morning After pills) do not kill sperm – they work to prevent ovulation and to prevent sperm and egg from meeting and fertilizing.  Plan B helps prevent the release of an egg, thickens the cervical mucus to prevent any sperm from reaching an egg, and things the lining of the uterus to ensure a less than hospitable environment in case a sperm and egg are still able to meet.  So even though sperm can stay alive inside your body for up to roughly 5 days, the Plan B has already worked to do its’ job to prevent ovulation and fertilization of an egg within your body.  The only thing you can do at this point is wait until it has been 2 weeks since the date you had sex and take a pregnancy test – this is advise we give any time a patient has unprotected sex and takes a Plan B pill.  Once it has been two weeks a pregnancy test will give you an accurate result and you will know whether or not you are pregnant.  Also, I would highly suggest you come in to be seen at your local Teen Matters or Health Department (or your nearest clinic or to your doctor’s office) and have a pelvic exam completed.  A pelvic exam is important in your situation since you had a foreign object inside your vagina for several days – it is important to make sure there are no signs or symptoms developing of any type of infection.  A final note is that your vagina and the hole you urinate out of are two different holes – you do not urinate out of your vagina you urinate out of your urethra, so it was just a coincidence in timing that the condom came out of your body at the same time you were urinating.

Question from July 15, 2018

QUESTION: Hello, after I get the Nexplanon how much time do I have to wait to have sex without protection?

ANSWER: It takes a new method of birth control, including Nexplanon, 7 days to become fully effective at preventing pregnancy.  And although Nexplanon is the most effective method of birth control (other than abstinence) it is still not 100% effective.  Also remember that Nexplanon does not protect you against STDs and that only condoms can protect you from getting an STD.

Question from July 14, 2018

QUESTION: How long after my first depo shot do I have to wait until the shot is fully effective and safe to have unprotected sex?  I did not get the shot while on my period.

ANSWER: It takes a new method of birth control, including depo, 7 days to become fully effective at preventing pregnancy.  It is still important to remember that no method of birth control is 100% effective at preventing pregnancy (other than abstinence) and that depo will not protect you against STDs (only condoms and abstinence can protect you from infections).

Question from July 11, 2018

QUESTION: Hi! I have a question concerning my birth control; I got my Nexplanon Implant on August 1st 2017 (about a year ago through Teen Matters) during the first day of my period and I did not have a period after that one up until about 2 weeks ago.  That period lasted around 5-7 days, it wasn’t painful or super heavy, but I’m starting to spot again! I am wondering if I am still protected from getting pregnant or if the implant is lowering in dosage or concentration.  Do I need to replace it if I get regular or frequent periods?  Does that mean it is becoming less effective?  Thank you very much!

ANSWER: A change in bleeding patterns is completely normal while on Nexplanon and those changes do not mean your implant is any less effective!  Changes in bleeding patterns are fairly common for many Nexplanon users – some users only experience the changes for the first 6 months or so, while other users may experience it intermittently throughout the 3 years they have the implant.  Breakthrough bleeding or irregular bleeding does not indicate that the birth control is not working as effectively so you do not need to worry about an increased risk of becoming pregnant- Nexplanon is the most effective method of birth control (other than abstinence) available and your chances of becoming pregnant are very, very low!  If the bleeding persists you can come back in to Teen Matters (if you are still under 20) and discuss the bleeding with a nurse.  If you have turned 20 since you got your Nexplanon you will want to call the Clarke County Health Department and set up an appointment for a counseling visit with a nurse to discuss the bleeding.

Questions from July 10, 2018

QUESTION: Hi, my boyfriend and I had unprotected sex this last Wednesday and I’ve been on the Nexplanon for a year and 2 months but don’t want to over think things he’s more than positive he didn’t cum inside me at all (pull out method) but I was just curious for a different input.  I’ve been kinda worried but don’t think he did.  I have been having a sick stomach though but felt bloated… Does pee smell different as an early sign?  Or could it be food you eat and lack of water that makes it stink?  Thanks so much.

ANSWER: Nexplanon is the most effective method of birth control (other than abstinence) available.  Your chance of pregnancy on Nexplanon is 0.0005% – meaning less than 5 in 10,000 women will get pregnant while on Nexplanon.  The symptoms you are experiencing are more likely from dehydration and diet, a stomach bug, or just from something you ate.  If those symptoms persist though you should follow up with your doctor’s office to discuss what could be causing them.  Please let me know if you have any further questions.

QUESTION: I got my period on last Sunday and I had sex protected that same day.  I then stopped bleeding on Friday and was spotting but then Saturday I started bleeding again.  Could I have gotten pregnant from that Friday I stopped bleeding?

ANSWER:  There is no way of knowing whether or not you are pregnant unless you wait until it has been 2 weeks since the date you had sex and take a pregnancy test.  Changes in your bleeding pattern are not necessarily a sign or symptom of pregnancy though.  Changes in bleeding patterns can be the result of many different things and pregnancy is just one of those possibilities (others could include an infection or STD, hormonal changes, changes in birth control method).  Unless you begin experiencing other signs or symptoms of pregnancy you probably do not need to be worried – but if you are still concerned after 2 weeks you could go ahead and take a pregnancy test and get an accurate result.

QUESTION: So I been having sex recently with my boyfriend and i was wondering why after having sex 2 days later I get a heavy bleed for a day?  Plus I’m on the depo shot..

ANSWER: Changes in bleeding patterns while on hormonal birth control can be fairly common – but if the bleeding only occurs when you have sex or after you have sex you may want to consider following up with your doctor/clinic and discussing the bleeding you are experiencing as bleeding can be a sign of an infection or STD.

Question from July 8, 2018

QUESTION: If I have sex a week in a half before my next Depo shot is there a chance I’m pregnant? I’ve been having pregnant symptoms like bleeding, sore breast, cramping, and peeing a lot.  Idk if it could be a uti or what.  I’m just worried because I read stories about people becoming pregnant on Depo but I thought when your on Depo our eggs our frozen and theirs a 1% chance so how?

ANSWER: As long as you were not over due for your next depo shot when you had sex, then the chance of you becoming pregnant is very, very low.  Bleeding is not a symptom of pregnancy – the bleeding, cramping, and peeing could indicate a UTI or other infection – the bleeding, cramping, and sore breasts are also common symptoms some depo users experience right before they are due for their next depo shot.  Although pregnancy can still occur for some depo users, it is not common, and usually only occurs when users do not return to their clinic or doctors office on time for their next depo shot and have unprotected sex.  With perfect use depo is considered to be 99% effective – with typical use depo is closer to being 94% effective (so approximately 6 women on depo out of 100 will become pregnant during a year).  Depo does not freeze your eggs but the hormones in depo work to prevent ovulation, thicken your cervical mucus, and thin the lining of the uterus – and all of those things work together to prevent pregnancy.

Question from July 7, 2018

QUESTION: I got the depo shot on the 28th of June so Thursday (it was my first shot and it wasn’t five days after my period) of and they said to wait a week to have sex and I had unprotected sex on the next Thursday which is 7 days and he also didn’t ejaculate in me.  Is there still any chance of me getting pregnant or is it safe to take a Plan B?

ANSWER: By the time you had sex (7 days after you started on depo) your shot was fully effective at preventing pregnancy and your chance of pregnancy is very, very low. Remember, no method of birth control (other than abstinence) is 100% effective at preventing pregnancy, so although there is a chance that pregnancy could still occur it is very unlikely.

Question from July 6, 2018

QUESTION: I have had the Nexplanon implant for about a year now and I’m also on the birth control pill to help with irregular periods.  My boyfriend and I had unprotected sex (he did not ejaculate inside me) a couple days before I was to start my period, and I still haven’t started my period, should I worry?

ANSWER: Nexplanon is the most effective method of birth control (aside from abstinence) and your chances of getting pregnant while on Nexplanon are less than 0.0005%.  Changes in bleeding patterns are common while on Nexplanon – so the missed/late period is likely just a result of the Nexplanon and birth control pills and not a sign of pregnancy.  Unless you begin experiencing other signs or symptoms of pregnancy you do not need to be worried.

Questions from July 5, 2018

QUESTION: I got my depo shot (for the fourth time) June 15, and had unprotected sex the same day, a few hours later, once.  He did not ejaculate in me, but there of course was pre-ejaculation.  I received my shot on time, but I’m hearing that the shot isn’t effective until 24 hours later?  That scares me, what are my chances of being pregnant?  Also, a little over a week later I had unprotected sex, and he DID ejaculate in me.  Could you give me an estimated percentage of my chance of pregnancy?  I’m really worried…

ANSWER:  I cannot give you an estimated percentage of your chance of pregnancy because that is an umber that will vary for every woman and every depo user.  What I can tell you is that as long as you get your depo shot on time you are provided with continuous protection against pregnancy so you do not have any lapse in pregnancy protection.  So any chance you have of getting pregnant from having sex will be very, very low.

QUESTION: Hey, my next depo shot is next week.  And I was wondering do they test you for STDs as well as pregnancy test before you get your next shot?

ANSWER:  Different offices/clinics may have different protocols that they follow – at Teen Matters we do not test for pregnancy or STDs before each depo shot.  We will run a pregnancy test if a patient is late for their next depo shot (or birth control refill) or if they request pregnancy testing.  STD testing is only done once per patient for free (female patients will get testing annually done for Gon/Chlam/Trich).  Rescreening can be done after 3 months if a patient has tested positive for an STD and received treatment.  If you think you need STD testing or have concerns, make sure you discuss them with your doctor/nurse when you go in for your next depo shot.

QUESTION: Hello, I don’t get my next depo shot until later in July and I’m bleeding real bad like I’m on my period and cramping real bad and me and my boyfriend had unprotected sex do that mean it’s a chance of pregnancy?

ANSWER: If you are not past the due date for your next depo shot then it is very unlikely that you are at risk of pregnancy at this time.  Bleeding while on a hormonal method of birth control is not a sign that you are at risk for pregnancy.  Changes in bleeding patterns are common while on hormonal birth control and should NOT be taken as a sign that the birth control is not providing you with protection from pregnancy.

Question from July 4, 2018

QUESTION: On May 17th I had my period – two weeks later on the 5th of June I started spotting on and off when I wiped for 5 days, now its July 4th and still had no bleeding.  Took a test today that said negative – what could this mean?

ANSWER:  Irregular bleeding/no bleeding can mean several different things – pregnancy is one those, but if you have taken a pregnancy test and it was negative, it is most likely that the irregular bleeding/absence of your period is the result of something else.  As long as it has been more than 2 weeks since the date you had unprotected sex, then your negative pregnancy test was accurate and it is unlikely that you are pregnant.  I would advise you follow up with your doctor/nurse that you see regularly to discuss your concerns about not having a period.   They will also be able to help to further get to the root of the problem.

Questions from July 3, 2018

QUESTION: I was on my period the whole time on my depo shot.  I’m a week late on getting my shot and I had unprotected sex.  Am I at risk at being pregnant?

ANSWER: Yes – anytime you do not get your depo shot on time and have unprotected you are at risk of becoming pregnant.  If you do not wish to become pregnant taking a Plan B emergency contraceptive pill will help to reduce your chances of pregnancy.  Also, make sure to return to your doctors office/clinic as soon as possible to get restarted on birth control.  Depo may not have been the right fit for you (since you stated you were bleeding the entire time) but you can discuss what other options may be available to you that may be a better fit for you as well!

QUESTION: So I had a miscarriage on May 6, 2018 and I got my depo shot that same day and today is the first I start back having sex but I had unprotected sex and I don’t get my next shot until July 30th.  So can you tell me am I good on getting pregnant?

ANSWER:  You are still protected from your first depo shot you received on May 6th.  Depo shots provide users with 3 months of protection against pregnancy – so as long as you get your next depo shot on time (July 30th according to your question) then you will have continuous protection against pregnancy and you will not experience a lapse in protection.

Questions from July 1, 2018

QUESTION: I got my 2nd injection May 21st of depo.  I was cramping and there is light bleeding.  I was wondering if it could be my period, but does that mean I will ovulate?  Or is it still safe to have sex during this?

ANSWER: Many users report changes in their bleeding patterns while on depo – which is most likely what you are experiencing.  Changes in your bleeding pattern do not necessarily indicate that you will ovulate.  And as long as you get your depo shot on time every 12-14 weeks then you have continuous protection against pregnancy and your chances of becoming pregnant will remain very, very low.