Birth control pills are not handed out like candy. You have to go through a birth control pill examination before your doctor can prescribe the contraceptives. Some of the prescribed tests are not crucial and can be postponed to a later date. The tests also vary based on age.
Mandatory birth control pill examination
These are tests that the doctor must administer before you start birth control or refill your prescription.
Your doctor should check your blood pressure before you begin taking the birth control pills. This is because the hormones found in birth control pills can sometimes cause your blood pressure to rise. In extreme cases, the pills can cause secondary hypertension.
If you have a history of hypertension, then you should inform your doctor before going on the pill. For the average woman, blood pressure tests can be done annually if she is in good health.
Ask if you are a smoker
Smoking is a high-risk factor when taking contraceptive pills. Your doctor will, therefore, enquire if you are a smoker.
Your risk of having a stroke or a heart attack increases when you are a smoker on the pill. You can also develop a blood clot. However, it does not mean that smokers should not be on birth control as there are contraceptive pills that are suited for them.
Ask if you’ve had a problem with blood clots
People with blood clot issues are also in the high-risk bracket when using oral contraceptives. The birth control pill is known to increase the possibility of blood clots. The hormones, estrogen and progestin, found in many oral contraceptives cause an increase in clotting factors. Doctors, therefore, have to check for a history of blood clotting as part of the birth control pill examination. If you have had blood clots in the past, the doctor can recommend a suitable type of contraceptive.
Some of the birth control tests can be skipped and done at a later date. Although these tests are important, they are usually not mandatory when signing up for an oral contraceptive plan to encourage more women to get on the pill. Some of these tests can be costly while others might discourage women from getting the contraceptives due to anxiety. The non-mandatory birth control examination includes the following tests:
These exams help check for breast cancer. This is because studies have shown that some contraceptives increase the risk of breast cancer. The breast exams are still important although the high-risk contraceptives are now rarely prescribed. Although getting a breast exam is not mandatory, it is important that you get it several times a year so that if you develop breast cancer, it can be detected early enough.
This exam is used to test for sexually transmitted infections. It is also important if you have complications such as abdominal pains or vaginal discharge. You can opt to skip this birth control pill examination if you are in perfect health.
This test is used to check for cervical cancer. You can skip it during a birth control examination, but you should make a point of having the Pap smear done at a convenient time. Teenagers also don’t get pap smears since they are inconclusive.