Women’s health services are available at the Health Center for all currently enrolled students. The clinic is staffed by a Women’s Health Nurse Practitioner. The clinic is held on alternating Tuesdays and Wednesdays from 9:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Appointments are required. There is no fee for this service however, if testing is done through an outside laboratory such as Lab Corp, Quest or the Department of Health, there is a fee.
Annual women’s health exams are offered. All sexually active women and all women age 21 years and older are encouraged to have an annual exam visit. At the annual exam visit, the Nurse Practitioner will take a detailed health history and makes an assessment of current health status, risk for sexually transmitted infections (STI) and contraceptive needs.
The annual women’s physical exam includes a general physical including an examination of the breasts and if deemed necessary for your individual needs a pelvic exam. The decision to do a pelvic exam, STI and pap testing is based on the individual risk factors, current symptoms and current pap screening guidelines.
Women can also have screening blood and urine tests ordered as appropriate.
Many women have questions about their breast health. There is a wide range of normal breast sizes and shapes, as well as variations month to month in healthy women. It is important that all women are familiar with their breasts and are encouraged to perform self-breast exams on a regular basis. The breast exam is part of the woman’s annual exam. If you have concerns about your breast health, such as lumps, nipple changes, breast pain or other problems, please schedule an appointment with the Well Women’s Clinic so that these concerns can be addressed.
Contraception / Birth Control
The Well Women’s Clinic offers counseling on contraceptive options. The range of contraceptive options can be confusing and the decision is an important one. We are happy to meet with you to discuss any and all of your birth control or contraception questions in order that you make the best informed decision about your needs. Remember only abstinence can claim 100% effectiveness but used correctly, the following contraceptive options can provide safe effective birth control for the sexually active student. Remember that condoms when used properly are the only method shown to reduce the spread of STIs.
- Hormonal methods (pills, patches rings, injections)
- Condoms with other barrier method
- Cervical Cap
Emergency Contraception or “Morning After Pill”
Emergency Contraception-Web Page Info Update 9_15
Many women have questions regarding their menstrual cycle. The Well Women’s Clinic is here to answer your questions and address your concerns.
Knowing what a normal menstrual cycle is can be very helpful. A typical healthy young woman will have a menstrual period about every 28 – 32 days. The length of the cycle is counted from the first day of bleeding until the next month’s bleeding begins. The number of days a woman bleeds can range from 1 to 8 days. Some women experience menstrual cramps with their menstrual cycle. These cramps can range from mild to severe (dysmenorrhea.) Severe menstrual cramps can be very difficult to deal with and pose a significant health concern for women who suffer from them. Some women also experience significant mood disorders such as depression and anxiety associated with their menstrual cycle or the 2 weeks prior to their cycle. Other menstrual problems can include heavy bleeding, irregular cycles, bleeding in between cycles and late cycles. In young women the most common reason for a late or irregular cycle is pregnancy. It is important that you talk to a health care provider if you are experiencing any problems with your menstrual cycle.
Pap Smear and Human Papilloma Virus Testing
Pap Smear screening tests are usually done at the annual women’s health exam. The test looks for changes in the cervix caused by the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV) infection. The first Pap test is recommended at age 21 unless the woman is sexually active. Guidelines from the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists recommend that women begin Pap test screening at age 21, be screened every 2 years through age 30, and then be screened every 3 years as long as their last three test results have been normal. If the Pap test shows abnormalities, further tests and/or treatment may be necessary. Women who have been vaccinated against HPVs still need to have Pap tests.
Students can schedule an appointment with the Well Women’s Clinic for this exam and testing.
Human Papilloma Virus and HPV Vaccine
Women and men can pass HPV to their sexual partners by having vaginal, anal or oral sexual activity. HPV can cause genital wants and almost all cervical cancer is caused by HPV infection. HPV can also cause cancers of the vulvar, vagina, mouth, throat, penis, anus and rectum.
The HPV vaccine is not currently available through the Well Women’s Clinic. However, a prescription can be provided for this medication. The woman can then return to the Well Women’s Clinic for the administration of the vaccine.
The HPV vaccine provides protection from the two types of HPV that cause over 70% of cervical cancers and the two types that cause 90% of genital warts. The vaccine is recommended for women between the ages of 9 and 26 years. It still has not been approved for administration to women over age 29 or to men.