I have an appointment with my doctor to talk about birth control, because my period symptoms are difficult to manage. What questions should I ask? Are there any questions they may ask me? How do I know if I am receiving the right pill for me?

Awesome question and great job advocating for yourself! There are a lot of different methods for birth control methods (pills, patches, rings, injections, implants, intrauterine devices (IUDs), etc.) available, so you have options! It’s also important to mention that if it’s your first time using birth control, it’s not uncommon for teens to try a couple different types, until they find the one that works best for them and their bodies! The choice is ultimately up to you and how you feel, but your health care provider (HCP) is there to help guide you in the right direction!

You might find it helpful to start by creating a couple of lists. The first list should include the symptoms that you find difficult to manage during your periods, such as cramping, mood swings, nausea, etc. Another list may be questions you have about birth control in general, such as which have lower risks for break through bleeding (aka bleeding between periods), which provide long-term relief, and/or which ones have less side effects, etc. It’s also important to think about how you want to take birth control – do you want to take a pill every day, would you rather have an implant placed under your skin, etc. You might find it helpful to create a “note” in your phone, that way you can add to it if a question comes to mind. Creating these lists and sharing them with your health care provider (HCP), will only help you and your provider through the process of choosing the right type of birth control.

Finally, your HCP may ask you some questions about your past medical history as well as the history of your family to make sure it’s safe for you to use different birth control options. They may ask you if you have ever been diagnosed with a bleeding or clotting disorder such as Hemophilia, Von Willebrand Disease, or Factor V Leiden. Your HCP may also ask if you have ever been diagnosed with migraine headaches. These are some conditions that may make some birth controls unsafe for you to take, but don’t worry, you still have options! If you don’t know the answers to these questions, it’s OK to say you don’t know. You can also talk to your HCP to about the possibility of ordering a blood test to make sure you don’t have a bleeding or clotting disorder, especially if you aren’t sure, it’s always better to be safe than sorry!