Female contraception needs more conversation

Students deserve many options, especially while exploring sexuality, preferences at university



Dr. Nigel Campbell talks about the importance of women’s health and birth control on Monday afternoon at Pullman/Moscow OB/GYN. “Effective use of birth control is very empowering to women in terms of making sure that life unfolds the way that they would like it to unfold,” he said.

REID BROWN, Evergreen reporter

For many women, college is the first opportunity for true independence in their personal decisions with health and sexual activity. A lot of times, people don’t think about what contraception they will use until the moment comes.

“The heat of the moment happens,” said Dr. Megan Guido, family practice trained physician at Pullman Family Medicine.

Alongside regularly seeing WSU students for typical sickness, long-term wellness and preventive care, the physicians at Pullman Family Medicine on Stadium Way offer all kinds of birth control, from implant options and IUDs to the pill, as well as counseling and STD screening.

Guido encourages young women to meet with their physician and start birth control before they go to college or early on in their college journey. That way, if and when the student chooses to become sexually active, they can be safe, Guido said.

“Effective use of birth control is very empowering to women in terms of making sure that life unfolds the way that they would like it to unfold,” said Dr. Nigel Campbell, private practice obstetrics and gynecology specialist at Moscow/Pullman OB/GYN.

In college, people are at the highest risk for sexually transmitted infections than any other time in their life, and there may be a lot of anxiety associated with going to the doctor to discuss sexual health, said Campbell.

However, there are many services in Pullman that care for students and work to prevent STIs, STDs, and unplanned pregnancies.

“It’s probably much more accessible and much less invasive to get started on birth control than one might expect,” Campbell said.

Pullman Family Medicine, Moscow/Pullman OB/GYN, Student Health, and many other practices on the Palouse work with students to understand and provide for their unique needs, Guido and Campbell said.

“Much like trying on a piece of clothing, there is no perfect birth control for everyone. There is only one that is ideal for you,” Campbell said.

Guido and Campbell agree that there are many different birth control options available and the process of choosing one is very individualistic. Birth control pills are a popular option among female college students, but like all types of birth control, this option comes with its own drawbacks.

“If you have a hectic schedule, or you happen to be somewhat forgetful, birth control pills, which are quite easy to use and very accessible, may not be a good option for you,” Campbell said.

Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation about birth control out there, from what is on the internet to what is shared between friends, Campbell said.

“For example, you’ll look up ‘prevention of pregnancy with condoms.’ Well the box says … that they’re 97 to 98 percent effective. That’s with perfect usage. With actual usage, over the course of a year, one out of five women will get pregnant when using condoms exclusively,” Campbell said. “Make sure that any children that are had are a welcome visitor in your home. That might be during college or it might be significantly later.”

Unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases can divert students’ attention from their studies and prevent students from achieving their goals in college, Campbell said. Having a child is something that should happen when and if the person is ready for that responsibility.

“Birth control is something that, for most women, they’re going to be concerned about for 10, 15, 20 years, so it is something that is pretty important to understand,” Campbell said.