When people think of Planned Parenthood, many tend to think of health care services like birth control, STD testing, pregnancy testing and emergency contraception. Although those services are important and life-changing, they’re not the only services Planned Parenthood offers. Here are five Planned Parenthood reproductive health services you may not be aware of, but can book an appointment for right now.
Annual Gynecological Exams
Many Planned Parenthood patients and supporters don’t know we provide annual gynecological exams. But, we do. Also known as wellness exams or well-woman visits, the annual exam is an excellent opportunity to talk to the clinician about sexual health and/or general health topics. During the visit, the clinician may ask questions about your reproductive health and other health habits to better determine the care that’s right for you. If you can only get to the health center once a year, then make that visit an annual wellness exam.
Urinary Tract Infection Testing and Treatment
Urinary tract infections (UTIs) may not sound like a reproductive health problem, but certain behaviors can either increase your chances or prevent UTIs. Nonetheless, Planned Parenthood can treat your UTI and assess any other infections or pelvic pain. The clinician will do a quick test to make sure the problem is, in fact, a UTI and not something else. Testing also lets the clinician know which bacteria are causing the infection so they can prescribe the appropriate antibiotics.
Yeast Infection Treatment
Sure, yeast infections can be treated over the counter with Monistat, but one of the benefits of going to Planned Parenthood for treatment is making sure the yeast infection is actually a yeast infection. Some yeast infection symptoms are also symptoms of other issues, such as bacterial vaginosis, STDs or urinary tract infections. Using Monistat when it’s not a yeast infection can do more harm than good. Planned Parenthood clinicians will conduct testing before offering the appropriate treatment.
Pap tests, or Pap smears, are a type of cervical cancer screening recommended for those ages 21 and up. You need a Pap test every three years or every five years, depending on your age. You can also get a Pap test separately or as part of your annual gynecological exam. Planned Parenthood also provides additional services, such as cryotherapy and LEEP, if your Pap detects abnormal cells on the cervix.
Yes, not only does Planned Parenthood see men, but we provide vasectomy counseling and perform vasectomies. The first visit for the procedure, the counseling visit, is about education and consent. The second visit is the procedure itself. Three months after the procedure, there will be semen test to make sure the vasectomy was successful. However, vasectomies do not prevent pregnancy right away. It does take a few months for the semen to be sperm-free.
Overall, Planned Parenthood provides a wide variety of accessible, affordable and high-quality reproductive health care services. Best of all, you don’t have to wait two months for an appointment. Not only can you make an appointment online for any of the mentioned services, but there are still spots available this week and next week at all eight of our health centers! Now that you’re aware of these five services, make sure to tell your friends and family about them.
Allison Reilly is the Marketing and Communications Coordinator at Planned Parenthood of the St. Louis Region and Southwest Missouri.