There is a lot of misinformation about Plan B, also known as the Morning After pill. I’ve found that a lot of this is spewed by the same people who fail at basic chemistry (I’m looking at you, people who believe that the Earth is only 6,000 years old!), and this video does a pretty fantastic job at explaining exactly how Plan B works. Contrary to what those protesting Planned Parenthood would have you believe, Plan B is not an abortifacient, in fact, if the fertilized egg has already implanted, it cannot harm the zygote. I know so many people who actually believe that Plan B is the same as RU486, the abortion pill. This is patently untrue. Plan B prevents unintended pregnancies, and RU486 aborts unintended pregnancies.
Another cool video from AsapSCIENCE explains some of the biological responses that men and women experience during orgasm. I’m sure that little in that video will be surprising to readers of this blog (savvy smart people that you are). I did find it both interesting and slightly vindicating that there is actual research to prove what many men and women in the BDSM scene have been saying for ages: that pain and pleasure are linked.
I’m really looking forward to more videos explaining the science behind sex. What did you think of these videos?
Today’s post is super short, and for that I apologize. I am actually pretty sick (complete with fever and headache), so this is really all I have energy to write today.
I received a final phone call from my doctor at Planned Parenthood. The results of my culposcopy have come back, and it looks like there is absolutely nothing for me to worry about. I don’t have any growths, and they actually couldn’t find any abnormal cells. While I do have to go back for another pap smear next year, it certainly seems like my body has shed most of the HPV that I was exposed to. I’m pretty happy about that.
You can read Part 2 here.
I had my follow-up appointment following my HPV diagnosis yesterday. I was scheduled for a culposcopy and possible biopsies if the gynecologist found any abnormal cells. Until yesterday morning, I had a pretty ambivalent attitude towards the appointment.
My thoughts went something alone these lines: I have an STI. Unfortunately, my STI is not one that I can just take an antibiotic and it will go away. HPV is a virus. I have no control over which strain I was exposed to. I was concentrating on being as healthy and stress-free as possible so that my body could fight the virus better. I thought that I had reached a point of acceptance.
Even though I had spent at least 8 hours researching HPV, reading about statistics, and learning as much as I possibly could about it, I woke up yesterday morning and was terrified. I know that several women on my mother’s side of the family have had complications due to cervical cancer. While I know that cervical cancer is caused by particular strains of HPV, I couldn’t help but wonder if there is a genetic component to the cancer as well, if there was some way to be more prone to HPV turning into cervical cancer.
I spent at least an hour crying in bed, with Fiance comforting me. He has really been amazing through all of this. I expected him to be just as stressed as me. After all, we haven’t used a barrier method in a long time, and if I have HPV, it means that he does too. Instead, he took the diagnosis in stride, and focused his efforts on comforting me. My dear friends wrote uplifting and encouraging things when I confessed my anxiety. Thank you, girls, it really meant a lot to me.
The culposcopy was similar to a really long pap smear. Unlike with a pap, the gynecologist did not use any lubrication when inserting the speculum, and the speculum was opened a bit wider than normal, which was uncomfortable. The gynecologist cleaned my cervix with a saline solution, and then she placed a cotton ball soaked with vinegar against my cervix. The cotton ball was so cold!
The vinegar will apparently react with any abnormal cells, and make it easier for the gynecologist to see if the virus is creating warts, or, worse, cysts and pre-cancerous growths. She then used a culposcope, which is similar to a microscope, to examine my cervix.
I am sure you can imagine my relief when the gynecologist told me that she didn’t see any abnormal cells, and I didn’t need to have any biopsies performed. She was pretty surprised herself, and told me that this only happens about 1 in 20 times that she does a culposcopy. She did, however, take a sample of the cells inside my cervix, which will be tested. I’ll receive the results in about two weeks.
I want to reiterate that without Planned Parenthood, I wouldn’t have been able to receive this sort of screening without basically going hungry for a couple of weeks. Please, if you have the chance and the liquidity, consider donating to Planned Parenthood. Your donations help women and men receive vital sexual health care and information. It certainly helped me.
You can find Part 1 of my Planned Parenthood Experience here. I was nervous when I woke up on the morning of my appointment. Bleary-eyed, I put on clothes, kissed the still sleeping Boyfriend goodbye, and headed to the car.
I entered the office and checked myself in with the front desk. After filling out some information regarding my current sexual activity, my income, and my sexual health history, I handed the clipboard in and watched Say Anything as I waited.
There was a group of three young women behind me, and they were discussing birth control options as they too were waiting to be seen. My ears perked up when one of them mentioned that she was considering getting an IUD. As readers of this blog are fully aware, I am a HUGE fan of IUDs, and I took the opportunity to share my experiences with it, and some of the awesome statistics.
After a short period of time, I was called into the back room, and had a chat with one of the attending nurses. She explained that, due to my symptoms and the length of time since my last pap smear, I was going to have a full pelvic exam and a full STI screening. She also explained that the state of California has an awesome program to help people with limited income to receive sexual health care for free, and even with my new job, I qualified.
The STI screening started right there in that tiny office with a prick of my middle finger. This particular test was to screen if I had been exposed to HIV, and amazingly, I would have the results of that test by the end of my appointment. I was blown away by this fantastic advance in HIV screening.
I went into the exam room after giving a urine sample, undressed my lower half, and waited again. When the doctor came in, she was very communicative and explained everything before she started examining me. She took three samples from my cervix, examined the positioning of my IUD (still in place!), and checked that my uterus and ovaries were not swollen. Before she moved her hands, placed the speculum, or swabbed, she was sure to tell me exactly what she was about to do. This definitely put my mind at ease, and kept me from jumping or starting when anything changed.
When she was done, she took one of the samples to their in-house lab, and checked it all out. Apparently, I had a bacterial infection that may have been the cause of the bleeding, and she handed me a prescription antibiotic. Then she told me that Planned Parenthood would call me if any of the other STI tests came back positive, but only if they were positive.
Unfortunately, I did receive one of those calls. My pap smear came back with some abnormalities. At some point in the past 10 years, I was exposed to HPV. The tiny sample that was taken was not enough to determine if I have one of the more benign forms, or if it is one of the types that can lead to cervical cancer. So, I have yet another appointment set to get some biopsies done.
I’ll have a post up on Wednesday, discussing HPV. I’ve gotten to know my STI a lot better since the diagnosis.