From Getting Birth Control to Your First Gyno Appointment, Here's How to Navigate the On-Campus OBGYN

Navigating your sexual health when you get to college may seem like a totally impossible task. Depending on your high school background, you may have never received proper sex education—or if you did receive the proper sex education, you’re still totally culture shocked by college hookup culture, but want to embrace the idea while keeping in touch with your inhibitions. Trying to remain safe during college is paramount to enjoying your four years—you don’t want a fun one-night-stand to result in an STI or pregnancy.

However, you may feel that birth control is expensive or your parents wouldn’t support you going on it. Maybe you’re self-conscious about buying condoms and want to find a more discrete way to purchase safe sex materials without having to look your local convenience store cashier in the eye. Or maybe, you’re simply curious about how to maintain your sexual health when you’re at college and your mom can’t answer all the doctor’s questions.

Your university provides innumerable resources for you to be prepared to have safe sex, keep your downstairs healthy and happy, or to just keep you informed—with services provided confidentially and usually at a discount/free if you’re an eligible student. On-campus sexual health resources are your new best friend for your next four years.

 

  1. 1. For if you're curious and want more information

    Whether you’re having sex with multiple partners, having sex with one person, or abstaining from sex (any decision is okay!), you should be taking steps to ensure that your sexual health is in tip-top shape. However, you may be uncomfortable with the thought of visiting a gynecologist and getting an examination. While it is totally valid to not want to go to an OB/GYN, it is essential to your health that you at least partake in research about your body so you can make the best decisions for you and your healthcare.

    A great place to start for information is simply booking an appointment with an on-campus consultant or gynecologist. At this first appointment, you can just get a baseline for your health, talk about what is or isn’t comfortable in regards to your sexual health, and if you menstruate, what is or isn’t regular. Making these appointments is easy—all you have to is call or set up an appointment online at your student health center!

    There are numerous other resources to contact on campus if you don’t want to immediately schedule an appointment with the OB/GYN. Student health ambassadors, condom delivery services, and expert panels are all resources you can explore at your university to help educate yourself on not only safe sex and sexual health, but also actually be given the materials needed to pursue that safe education.

  2. 2. For if you want birth control & safe sex supplies

    If you’ve compiled the information and you’ve decided you needed to pursue contraceptives, you can easily get birth control on your college campuses. A few universities even offer emergency contraception such as Plan B in vending machines around campus. Accessible birth control? Sign me up.

    If you would like to get birth control without your parents knowing, there are a few options you can take. If you’re under your parents’ insurance and don’t necessarily feel comfortable bringing up contraception to them, you may have to pay out of pocket—so ensure you talk with your school health care provider about how to make birth control affordable for you. If you’re on your school’s health insurance plan, still discuss your options, though you have a lot more freedom in terms of being able to get birth control without your parents’ consent.

    If you’re unable to afford birth control, still visit your on-campus gynecologist to discuss other contraceptive options you can explore: condom, internal condoms, birth control sponge, spermicide, and many more.

  3. 3. For if you have an UTI 

    Think you have something a little more serious going on then just needing a simple check-up? Or are you repeatedly getting urinary tract infections and don’t know what to do about it? Your on-campus gyno can help.

    You know the drill: don’t wipe back to front, and always pee after sex. Sometimes, no matter our best intentions, we can’t help but fall victim to the excruciating pain of a UTI. Unfortunately, if you’ve fallen victim to one of these infections, you have no choice but to visit a doctor. In order to lessen those urgent care fees, visit your on-campus gyno in order to receive necessary antibiotics and lessen your chances of getting another UTI.

    If this is an issue that is repeatedly worsening your health and quality of life, your on-campus gyno is a resource so you can avoid getting those UTIs. There could be a more serious reason behind why you are consistently these infections, such as faulty birth control.  

  4. 4. For if you think you have an STI 

    If you’re choosing to be sexually active, even if you choose safe sex methods there’s always a chance that you may contract a sexually transmitted infection from your partner. What’s important to note is that if you contract an STI, you should not be ashamed. For example, out of 820,000 people diagnosed with gonorrhea in a single year, “70 percent of those diagnosed were aged 15 to 24.” Always remember to be transparent with your partner in terms of your sexual history and be receptive to their sexual past.

    If you’re experiencing symptoms that are similar to an STI, you need to schedule an appointment with your on-campus gyno as soon as possible. Don’t worry about your confidentiality being breached—no one is going to know at your student health center that you are being tested for STIs. Above all, know that if you are experiencing these symptoms, it is of utmost importance to go to your on-campus gyno. You can talk to them about treatment options there, but untreated STIs can lead to serious consequences.

An on-campus gynecologist can be an invaluable resource for you to explore during your four short years of university. Get to know your local campus health center's OB/GYN and ensure that you maintain your sexual health whether you're sexually active or not. 

Her Campus is celebrating National Women's Health Week — click here to explore health resources, fact sheets and more.