Birth control, menopause, sexual health & annual exams – Horizons empowers women through preventive care and education.
“What we women need to do, instead of worrying about what we don’t have, is just love what we do have.”
– Cameron Diaz
All women and men should have control over if and when they become parents. Making decisions about birth control (contraception) is not easy. Explore the methods below and talk with us to decide which method is right for you. Only the male latex condom helps protect against HIV and other STDs, in addition to protection against pregnancy.
Male condoms are 84 to 98% effective at preventing pregnancy and can be used only once. You can buy them at a drug store. Condoms come lubricated (which can make sexual intercourse more comfortable and pleasurable) and non-lubricated (which can also be used for oral sex). Always keep condoms in a cool, dry place. If you keep them in a hot place (like a billfold, wallet, or glove compartment), the latex breaks down, causing the condom to tear or break. Latex or polyurethane condoms are the only method other than abstinence that can help protect against HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases (lambskin condoms do not).
Oral contraceptives, “the pill,” are 95 to 99.9% effective at preventing pregnancy. The pill contains the hormones estrogen and progestin and is available in different hormone dosages. A pill is taken daily by mouth to block the release of eggs from the ovaries. Oral contraceptives lighten the flow of your period and can reduce the risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), ovarian cancer, benign ovarian cysts, endometrial cancer, and iron deficiency anemia. It does not protect against STDs or HIV. The pill may add to your risk of heart disease, including high blood pressure, blood clots, and blockage of the arteries, especially if you smoke. If you are over age 35 and smoke, or have a history of blood clots or breast, liver, or endometrial cancer, your doctor may advise you not to take the pill. Some antibiotics may reduce the effectiveness of the pill in some women. Talk to your doctor or nurse about a back-up method of birth control if she or he prescribes antibiotics.
The Mini Pill
Mini-pills are 92 to 99.9% effective at preventing pregnancy if used correctly. The mini-pill needs to be taken at the same time each day. A back-up method of birth control is needed if you take the pill more than three hours late. Unlike the pill, the mini-pill only has one hormone progestin instead of both estrogen and progestin. Taken daily, the mini-pill thickens cervical mucus to prevent sperm from reaching the egg. It also prevents a fertilized egg from implanting in the uterus (womb). The mini-pill also can decrease the flow of your period and protect against PID and ovarian and endometrial cancer. Mothers who breastfeed can use it because it will not affect their milk supply. The mini-pill is a good option for women who can’t take estrogen, are over 35, or have a risk of blood clots. The mini-pill does not protect against STDs or HIV. Some antibiotics may reduce the effectiveness of the pill in some women. Talk to your doctor or nurse about a back-up method of birth control if she or he prescribes antibiotics. You will need to visit you doctor for a prescription and to make sure you are not having problems.
The patch is 98 to 99% effective at preventing pregnancy, but appears to be less effective in women who weigh more than 198 pounds. This is a skin patch worn on the lower abdomen, buttocks, or upper body. It releases the hormones progestin and estrogen into the bloodstream. You put on a new patch once a week for three weeks, and then do not wear a patch during the fourth week in order to have a menstrual period. It does not protect against STDs or HIV. You will need to visit your doctor for a prescription and to make sure you are not having problems.
Sexual difficulties affect both men and women. The most common issues for women are:
– Not being in the mood for sex
– Trouble becoming aroused (vaginal dryness) and having orgasms
– Pain during sex or sexual activity
These concerns are not uncommon, and your doctor probably has helped many women like yourself. Your doctor can suggest treatments to help you achieve a healthy, satisfying sex life.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases (STDs)
At Horizons you can get regular pelvic exams and full STD tests. The best way to greatly reduce your risk of contracting an STD is to use a condom every time you have sex.
‘I am an example of what is possible when girls from the very beginning of their lives are loved and nurtured by people around them. I was surrounded by extraordinary women in my life who taught me about quiet strength and dignity.’
– Michelle Obama
What is it?
Menopause is the natural time in a woman’s life (usually mid-40s) when her period stops, and declines in reproductive hormones may cause physical symptoms.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms can start months to years before menopause. Most common are: hot flashes, night sweats, low libido, vaginal dryness, insomnia, mood swings, anxiety, among others.
Is it possible to feel better?
Yes! Horizons offers a simple hormone replacement therapy (HRT). The procedure is quick and doesn’t involve any patches, creams, gels or daily pills. Visit our site to learn all about our HRT program.
What is Hormone Replacement Therapy?
“There was nothing I wouldn’t do, no matter how dirty or hard.”
– Lilly Ledbetter, inspiration for Fair Pay Act passed in 2009
Your annual exam includes: heart and lungs check, pelvic exam (assessment of size, shape of uterus + ovaries), checking for tenderness in movement of uterus, PAP smear, testing for gonorrhea/chlamydia/trichomonas, wet prep (looking for trichomonas, yeast, bacterial vaginosis).
We’ll also discuss modifiable risk factors, such as smoking, weight management, alcohol or drugs, breast exam (educating on mechanics of breast exam and what normal feels like).
We will screen for risk factors like diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension, osteoporosis, colon cancer.
Expect a PAP after age 21 every 1-3 years.
Send us a quick message to schedule your annual check-up, STD test or simply request a call back.