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To say that relationships are “hard work” is a definite understatement. Falling in love might be easy, but maintaining a strong bond over time requires a lot of effort. One way to make it easier? Learn how your partner wants to be loved, because the truth is, not everyone craves the same time of affection. When partners aren’t clear on what the other needs to truly feel loved, miscommunication ensues and can put enough strain on a relationship that it begins to break down.

That’s the idea behind “love languages,” a theory of relationships put forward in the classic #1 New York Times bestseller The 5 Love Languages by Gary Chapman.

If you’re in a relationship and don’t know about the five love languages, to be honest, the time to start is now. Looking at your relationship through this lens is certain to give you some insights into how to give your partner love in a way they can understand and reciprocate.

What Are Love Languages?

Love languages are the way people prefer to give and receive love. Not everyone feels loved or feels like they are giving love via the same things. These different ways of giving and receiving love are called languages because when you’re not on the same page with your partner about how to make each other feel loved, it can be as challenging as if you were actually speaking a different language.

This breakthrough concept in the psychology of love has been helping repair relationships and marriages for more than 25 years. While it’s possible to learn and use love languages without reading the book (there are a multitude of online resources), the original advice given by Chapman still rings true and is a great starting point.

Can People Have More Than One Love Language?

Typically, people “speak” nearly all the love languages, they simply prioritize them differently. For example, a person may prefer to receive love in one language but is also open to receiving love in other languages. Or, a person may have the ability to give love in many different languages. It’s important to discover the primary love language since that is what will fill your partner’s love gauge.

People can and do give and receive love in different languages. In fact, if you’re not giving your partner love in their primary language, you may be missing the boat and leaving your partner feeling unloved or uncared for. This can happen even if you have the best of intentions and are giving your partner love in every other language possible.

Here’s how you can understand the five different types of love languages and how to give and receive love in each language:

Types of Love Languages

According to author Gary Chapman there are five primary love languages used for giving and receiving love in romantic relationships, as well as in friendships, parental relationships, and other types of partnerships.

Words of Affirmation

Words of affirmation are encouraging or complimentary statements about your significant other. Congratulating them on a job well done or complimenting a nice outfit when you know they’ve put a lot of effort into their appearance can be exactly what the person who speaks this love language needs to hear.

How to Give Love in This Language

Speak kindly to your partner often and encourage them at every opportunity. Verbally let them know that their efforts are seen and valued, and use words to convey how much you love them. Give affirmations face to face often, but the occasional text message or social media post with words of appreciation can help keep it fresh.

How to Receive Love in This Language

If you speak this love language, be sure to recognize when your partner has made an effort to show you love in this way. Avoid arguing with compliments and instead, accept them with a gracious “thank you.”

Acts of Service

Acts of service refer to any acts that you know your partner would want you to do. When you perform an act of service for a partner who speaks this love language, you are embodying the old adage that “actions speak louder than words.”

How to Give Love in This Language

Pay attention to the needs of your partner and learn how to meet some of those needs on your own without being asked. Make sure the lawn gets mowed regularly, rub your partner’s feet after a long day at work, or choose any act of service that puts your partner and their needs above your own, at least briefly.

How to Receive Love in This Language

Be gracious when someone goes out of their way to perform an act of service for you. Don’t respond with, “oh, you didn’t have to do that.” Instead, acknowledge their gift of service and show them gratitude.

Receiving Gifts

For many people, receiving a gift is the ultimate act of love. Selecting a gift that you know someone will truly appreciate can be extremely meaningful for people whose primary love language is the giving and receiving of gifts.

How to Give Love in This Language

Don’t miss any important gift-giving holidays and be sure to select a thoughtful gift that shows you’re paying attention to what they like or need. Also incorporate some “just because” gifts — few things are better for a person who speaks this love language than an impromptu gift.

How to Receive Love in This Language

Receive gifts graciously, even if it’s something you’re unsure you’ll like. Recognize the effort made and that for individuals who don’t speak this love language, gift giving may be more difficult. Give tips, hints, or suggestions to partners who struggle with this type of love language.

Quality Time

Quality time is important for every relationship, but especially so for individuals whose primary love language is spending time with their partner. A movie night on the sofa is going to go a lot further for the person who speaks this language than a gift or even words of encouragement.

How to Give Love in This Language

Make an effort to spend time with your partner without distractions. Put your phone away and make them your focus during this time. Get creative and discover different ways to spend quality time together that are new and exciting.

How to Receive Love in This Language

Make room in your schedule for times that your partner initiates spending quality time with you. Try to be distraction-free during your quality time and show your partner gratitude for taking time out of their day to spend solely with you. If this is also your partner’s primary love language, quality time can be a great way to recharge both of your batteries.

Physical Touch

Physical touch is the act of being physically affectionate with your partner. While this includes sex, it’s not limited to it. Physical intimacy of any kind falls under this love language.

How to Give Love in This Language

Touch your partner often, even just briefly or in passing. Give hugs frequently, initiate massages, and make time for sex. During times when you don’t feel like being sexually responsive, give your partner some cuddle time instead.

How to Receive Love in This Language

Acknowledge your partner’s touch and let them know that it feels good to you. Tell them that you appreciate their long hugs in the middle of the day and that you recognize that they’ve made an effort to show you love in the way you receive it best.

Discover Your Partner’s Love Language

Discovering your partner’s love language is easier than you think. Reading The 5 Love Languages is a great way to start, but you can also simply take some time to think about what makes you feel most loved. List them in order from most to least, and have your partner do the same. Compare your lists and see where your disconnections are. Is your partner’s primary love language one of your last? You might have to work harder at consciously giving your partner love in their language. Or, if you share love languages, make sure there’s enough back and forth so that each person feels individually loved and cherished.

 

About the Author

Kaylen Jackson is a 14-year writing veteran. She currently works on a variety of projects, including in-depth content marketing strategies and SEO. Kaylen lives life with the philosophy that there are few problems that can’t be solved with a hug, a snack, and a nap.

The post Do You Speak Your Partner’s “Love Language”? appeared first on Nurx.

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Nurx by Nurx - 4d ago

Nurse practitioner Heather Harvey provides care to Nurx patients from her home state of Alabama, where she also works for the public health department seeing clients in the office and through a mobile unit in the community. She possesses deep experience in women’s health and infectious disease diagnosis and treatment, so we thought we’d ask her some questions about sexually transmitted infections. 

Do most STIs have symptoms?

No — in fact, the most common symptom of an STI is no symptoms!

Why is it important to be tested in multiple parts of the body?  

STIs can infect any mucus membrane, and with certain STIs like chlamydia and gonorrhea, a urine or vaginal test won’t be able to detect an infection in your throat or rectum. If you use it during sex, you should test it. 

What do too few people know about STIs?

People forget that STIs can cause infertility, increased risk of tubal pregnancies, and long term pelvic pain due to pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which can scar the reproductive organs and in some cases lead to the fallopian tubes or ovaries needing to be removed. And in rare cases, PID can lead to death. I had a 17-year-old patient who nearly died from an undiagnosed gonorrhea infection.

How soon can pelvic inflammatory disease develop?

That depends, it can happen any time during the infection but PID can begin quickly for some women while others can be infected with an STI for a year or more and not develop any complications. But there’s no way to know which way it will go for you, which is why regular testing is so important. 

Do you think more people will get STI tests as home testing becomes widely available?

Yes, I think a lot of people are afraid they’ll be judged if they ask for STI tests in a traditional medical office, and home tests take that pressure off. 

What do you like about working at Nurx?

I wanted to work for Nurx because of their mission to make getting birth control and PrEP easier. In rural areas, people often have to travel a long distance to see a provider. Getting birth control sometimes requires waiting for more than an hour to see a provider to write a prescription, and many providers are still not comfortable with PrEP. And the Nurx platform is a great option for people who are embarrassed to seek STI testing, because it allows them to be educated, tested, and treated without fear of stigma.

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Thinking you should test yourself for STIs? Learn more about the Nurx STI Home Test Kits.

This blog pro­vides infor­ma­tion about telemed­i­cine, health and related sub­jects. The blog content and any linked materials herein are not intended to be, and should not be con­strued as a substitute for, med­ical or healthcare advice, diagnosis or treatment. Any reader or per­son with a med­ical con­cern should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other healthcare provider. This blog is provided purely for informational purposes. The views expressed herein are not sponsored by and do not represent the opinions of Nurx.

The post Q&A with a Nurx STI Expert appeared first on Nurx.

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Nurx by Ashley Henshaw - 1w ago

In the days leading up to your period, you might experience premenstrual syndrome, more commonly known as PMS. Physical symptoms often include cramping, headaches, breast tenderness, bloating, fatigue, and constipation. PMS can also cause emotional changes such as irritability, anxiety, mood swings, and depression. Because PMS is so common, many women are familiar with these symptoms and have come to expect them every month. However, there are some facts about this condition you might be surprised to learn. Check out these five things you may not know about PMS.

PMS Can Get Worse as You Age

Although you might assume that PMS symptoms would ease up as your reproductive years wind down, sadly that’s not the case. For some women, PMS symptoms worsen in their late 30s and 40s as they start to enter perimenopause, which is a slow transition to menopause. The body’s changing hormone levels are less predictable during these years, which can cause some or all PMS symptoms to be more pronounced.

Women who are sensitive to changing hormone levels during their menstrual cycles are more likely to experience worsened symptoms during perimenopause. Once menopause occurs, however, you’ll no longer experience PMS.

PMS Can Make Other Health Problems Worse

Certain health conditions, particularly those with symptoms similar to PMS, might worsen in the days leading up to a woman’s period. About half of all women seeking treatment for premenstrual syndrome have a disorder that PMS can exacerbate.

Health issues that PMS can affect include:

  • Depression: Symptoms such as anxiety, despair, irritability, and fatigue are associated with both PMS and depression. While women with depression might experience these symptoms all month, they can worsen during PMS.
  • Irritable bowel syndrome: IBS is associated with cramping, gas, and bloating, all of which might worsen during PMS.
  • Bladder pain syndrome: Painful cramps are more likely to occur during PMS in women who have bladder pain syndrome.
  • Chronic fatigue syndrome: Women with CFS often have heightened symptoms right before their periods. In addition, research suggests that women with CFS are more likely to experience heavy menstrual bleeding and early menopause.
There’s a Severe Form of PMS Called PMDD

If your PMS symptoms seem especially bad, you might be experiencing premenstrual dysphoric disorder (PMDD). With this condition, symptoms commonly associated with PMS are more pronounced, particularly those affecting mood. A woman with PMDD might experience severe irritability, anxiety, or depression. Some even experience panic attacks or thoughts of suicide.

Around 5% of women experience PMDD during their reproductive years. Symptoms of PMDD typically begin to appear in a woman’s 20s, and the condition is most common in women in their late 20s to mid-30s. Besides age, other risk factors for PMDD include stress, personal history of mood or anxiety disorders, and family history of premenstrual mood dysregulation.

Hormonal Birth Control Can Ease PMS and PMDD Symptoms

Birth control pills might be able to relieve some symptoms experienced during PMS or PMDD. Some medical providers prescribe birth control pills containing a hormone called drospirenone, including Yaz and Yasmin, because it helps regulate progestin levels. Because progestin fluctuations can interfere with a mood-regulating hormone called serotonin, drospirenone can reduce irritability and other mood changes associated with PMS and PMDD. Drospirenone also has diuretic benefits, which can decrease fluid retention in the days leading up to your period.

Another way to potentially ease the symptoms of PMS and PMDD is to take birth control pills continuously so you skip your period. Just dispose of the sugar pills at the end of the pack each month and start on the next pack immediately. By keeping hormones in the body at steadier levels, this strategy might help prevent or lessen some PMS and PMDD symptoms.

Talk to your medical provider about taking the pill or other forms of hormonal birth control such as the patch or the ring. They’ll discuss your symptoms and concerns in more detail to help you find the best birth control fit for your needs.

Antidepressants Might Help With PMDD

If you have PMDD, you might want to consider using antidepressants to help manage the condition. Research shows that 60-90% of women with PMDD respond to treatment with drugs that block the reuptake of serotonin, including selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Prozac and Celexa. In many cases, women who use antidepressants to treat PMDD only need to take the medication in the days leading up to their periods, not every day.

Women should talk to their medical providers to find out if antidepressants might help them get PMDD relief. Keep in mind that these meds might have some side effects, including nausea and reduced libido.

The more you know about PMS and PMDD, the better you’ll be able to manage your symptoms. The most important thing to know: You don’t have to suffer!  If PMS is really bringing you down, talk to a provider about a prescription for hormonal birth control or an antidepressant (or both) and end your premenstrual misery.

This blog pro­vides infor­ma­tion about telemed­i­cine, health and related sub­jects. The blog content and any linked materials herein are not intended to be, and should not be con­strued as a substitute for, med­ical or healthcare advice, diagnosis or treatment. Any reader or per­son with a med­ical con­cern should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other healthcare provider. This blog is provided purely for informational purposes. The views expressed herein are not sponsored by and do not represent the opinions of Nurx.

The post 5 Things You May Not Know About PMS appeared first on Nurx.

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You might not want to think about sexually transmitted infections, but ignoring STIs won’t protect you. In fact, it’s just the opposite — educating yourself about which STIs are out there and what the risks are is an essential part of taking care of your sexual health. To make sure that your STI IQ is up where it should be, test yourself with our 9 question quiz.

This blog pro­vides infor­ma­tion about telemed­i­cine, health and related sub­jects. The blog content and any linked materials herein are not intended to be, and should not be con­strued as a substitute for, med­ical or healthcare advice, diagnosis or treatment. Any reader or per­son with a med­ical con­cern should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other healthcare provider. This blog is provided purely for informational purposes. The views expressed herein are not sponsored by and do not represent the opinions of Nurx.

The post Quiz: What’s Your STI IQ? appeared first on Nurx.

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Sexually transmitted infections (STIs) are super-common: One in two sexually active people will contract an STI by age 25. But many people who are at risk don’t get tested as much as they should, or at all, which means they don’t know their status and may be going untreated and infecting their partners. To understand what’s up with people not getting tested, we partnered with DKC Analytics and surveyed 1000 Americans about their attitudes and actions when it comes to STIs.

The statistics tell a disturbing story: While the vast majority of adults believe in the importance of preventing STIs, most do not follow their own advice. We created a visual snapshot of the issues surrounding the American STI epidemic. Educate yourself on the issue, and if you need to check yourself for STIs learn about home STI testing with Nurx. 

This blog pro­vides infor­ma­tion about telemed­i­cine, health and related sub­jects. The blog content and any linked materials herein are not intended to be, and should not be con­strued as a substitute for, med­ical or healthcare advice, diagnosis or treatment. Any reader or per­son with a med­ical con­cern should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other healthcare provider. This blog is provided purely for informational purposes. The views expressed herein are not sponsored by and do not represent the opinions of Nurx.

The post What We Say (but Don’t DO) About STIs appeared first on Nurx.

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You probably haven’t thought much about sexually transmitted infections lately. STIs aren’t a hot topic on social media or in the news, and they definitely don’t come up IRL conversations. So you might not even know that the US is seeing what the CDC calls a “steep and sustained” rise in STIs.

The Problem

But even if you haven’t heard about it, the American STI epidemic is very real. Infections like syphilis, chlamydia, and gonorrhea have been increasing (by a lot), and new HIV infections have been holding steady. And those are just the cases we know about — many people don’t get tested regularly (or at all). Although the CDC estimates that people between 15 and 24 make up half of new infections, only 12% of Americans in that age group have been tested. 

It’s easy to forget about STIs, since many have no symptoms. But these silent STIs can have serious consequences: Each year, untreated STIs lead to an estimated 20,000 cases of infertility among American women. And being infected with an STI like syphilis or gonorrhea makes you more susceptible to acquiring HIV.

Our Solution

Although those stats might sound scary, you actually have nothing to fear from STIs — they are all treatable or totally manageable, as long as you know your status. Nurx wants to take anxiety and stigma out of STI testing, and help you make it a routine part of taking care of yourself.

So today we’re launching three STI Home Test Kits. Each of these kits contains everything you need to test yourself for some of the most common STIs from the privacy of your home, then send in the samples in a prepaid envelope to our partner lab. It’s convenient, private, and fast, with no trips to the doctor or clinic required.

STI testing with Nurx offers a very different experience compared with other home tests you might have heard of. For one thing, we offer tests for multiple places in your body, to check for throat and rectal infections. For another, our providers will connect you with treatment if you do test positive for any STIs. In some cases they can prescribe medication directly, and in others they’ll help you find a good treatment option near you.

Most importantly, when you test with Nurx you have unlimited access to our medical team, who  are experts in sexually transmitted infections and sensitive health issues. You can privately message them, any time, with questions about testing or STIs. 

Curious? If you’re having sex, you probably should be. Watch a video about our home STI testing through Nurx.

Here’s the low-down on the three kits, and who they’re right for:

The Full Control Kit

What: Tests for HIV, Hepatitis C, syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia

How: Urine collection, an oral swab, a rectal swab, and a blood spot card (which involves a finger prick to get five drops of blood).

Who: If you haven’t had STI testing in a year or more, use this set of tests to get a full picture of your sexual health. It’s especially recommended for anybody who engages in oral or anal sex, because it contains chlamydia and gonorrhea tests for the throat and rectum. These infections tend to stay in specific areas, so an STI test that only looks at urine might not tell the full story.

Get the Full Control Kit

The Healthy Woman Kit

What: Tests for HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, and trichomoniasis

How: A vaginal swab, an oral swab, and a blood spot card (which involves a finger prick to get five drops of blood).

Who: This set of tests looks for infections that affect female bodies, and includes throat testing to check for chlamydia and gonorrhea infections from oral sex.

Get the Healthy Woman Kit

The Basics Covered Kit

What: Tests for HIV, syphilis, gonorrhea, and chlamydia

How: Urine collection and a blood spot card (which involves a finger prick to get five drops of blood).

Who: This kit provides an essential status check, and could be a good choice if you’ve already been tested within the past year and just need an update, or if you’re confident you don’t need throat or rectal testing. 

Get the Basics Covered Kit

Have questions? Find answers to STI FAQs, or email us at support@nurx.co  

This blog pro­vides infor­ma­tion about telemed­i­cine, health and related sub­jects. The blog content and any linked materials herein are not intended to be, and should not be con­strued as a substitute for, med­ical or healthcare advice, diagnosis or treatment. Any reader or per­son with a med­ical con­cern should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other healthcare provider. This blog is provided purely for informational purposes. The views expressed herein are not sponsored by and do not represent the opinions of Nurx.

The post Why We Launched STI Home Tests (and Why You Might Need One) appeared first on Nurx.

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The next time you’re at the drug store picking up Advil, tampons, or condoms, imagine what it would be like if you could grab your birth control pills off the shelf the same way – no questions asked or prescription required. No more marking your calendar to order refills, and no interacting with a provider just to get the go-ahead to take hormonal birth control in the first place.

In June this seemed like it could be reality sooner rather than later, thanks to a Twitter exchange between Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ted Cruz in which the political opposites discovered they agreed that the pill should be OTC.  And the issue is headed to the Senate, thanks to the “Allowing Greater Access to Safe and Effective Contraception Act,” which was introduced March 29th by Republican Senator Joni Ernst of Iowa and would make the pill available over the counter nationwide. If this happens, the U.S. would join the more than a hundred countries where this is the norm.

It Only Sounds Simple

Since it has bipartisan support in Congress and isn’t even up for debate in much of the world, making birth control available without a prescription should be a no-brainer, right?

If only it were so easy. For one thing, Cruz and Ocasio-Cortez support OTC BC for very different reasons — as the Washington Post explains, Cruz and some other Republicans don’t want insurance companies to have to pay for birth control (which they’re currently mandated to under the Affordable Care Act) and making it available without a prescription would shift the price to women, not their plans. Women are less enthusiastic about prescription-free pills when they realize that over the counter could also mean out of pocket, so Democratic Senator Patty Murray of Washington has introduced a bill that aims to secure insurance coverage for birth control in the event that it becomes available over the counter.

Efforts to make the pill available OTC aren’t new, and have been a long, slow, slog, stymied by regulatory hurdles and political roadblocks. For one thing, a Congressional bill can’t change the status of birth control pills on its own – it takes the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to do that, in response to a petition from a drug company. That step, though, is also moving closer to reality, with two pharmaceutical companies, Cadence and French company HRA Pharma, both in the early “research” stages of the process. And the Ernst Senate bill aims to facilitate that process by directing the secretary of Health and Human Services to fast-track review of any oral contraceptive drugs once the FDA application has been made.

Some states have pushed ahead of the Federal government and made oral contraception available on the spot with a prescription issued by a pharmacist. The latest to do so was New Hampshire, which in July 2018 joined California, Colorado, Hawaii, Maryland, New Mexico, Oregon, Tennessee and Washington D.C. in passing such a state law. 

This doesn’t necessarily mean, however, that in these states today you can walk into your local CVS or Duane Read and order up some pills. The laws require pharmacists to have special training and don’t require pharmacies to provide the service, so phase-in has been slow in many places.

Why OTC Contraception Makes Sense

From the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology (ACOG) to Planned Parenthood, many of the most respected women’s health and advocacy organizations have come out in favor of the “free the pill” movement. Even the usually conservative American Medical Association voted this summer on a resolution to support OTC pills. 

The “free the pill” movement makes sense to many given that more than 10.5 million American women are currently on an oral contraceptive, and that pills containing low-dose hormones are actually much safer than many of the other medications that stock pharmacy shelves. Simply put, wouldn’t it be great not to deal with the difficulties and delays many women face when trying to get a birth control pill prescription when they need one?

Why Some Have Concerns

That said, there are some legitimate reasons why talking with a doctor before starting to take birth control pills is a good idea. Hormonal birth control, especially combination pills containing both estrogen and progestin, pose risks for many women, such as those with high blood pressure or who experience migraines with aura. 

There’s also concern about some of the less serious side effects that are relatively common when you start a new pill, such as acne and mood swings. Having a medical provider available to talk over these issues might help you weather them better. Lastly, some experts worry that without the need to consult a doctor or nurse practitioner about birth control, women might not seek help as readily for concerns about STIs and other reproductive health issues.

The Bottom Line

While it may still be some time before you can walk into a pharmacy and buy a pack of birth control pills without a consultation of any kind, the landscape looks to be changing fast. Meanwhile, telemedicine services like Nurx make it much easier to order birth control online, by connecting you with a licensed provider virtually for a prescription and sending the medication directly to your door. 

About the Author

Melanie Haiken is an award-winning health, science and travel writer and founder of www.health-conscious-travel.com

More articles that might be helpful:

Which Emergency Contraception Pill is Right for You?

Our Commitment to Reproductive Care

5 Period Myths to Stop Believing

 

This blog pro­vides infor­ma­tion about telemed­i­cine, health and related sub­jects. The blog content and any linked materials herein are not intended to be, and should not be con­strued as a substitute for, med­ical or healthcare advice, diagnosis or treatment. Any reader or per­son with a med­ical con­cern should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other healthcare provider. This blog is provided purely for informational purposes. The views expressed herein are not sponsored by and do not represent the opinions of Nurx.

The post When Will the Pill be Available Without a Prescription? appeared first on Nurx.

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PrEP (pre-exposure prophylaxis) is a once-daily pill that protects people from acquiring an HIV infection. The drug, named Truvada, is approved by the FDA and contains two medications: tenofovir and emtricitabine. Similar to how birth control prevents women from becoming pregnant, taking PrEP every day protects you from becoming infected with HIV if you come in contact with the virus.

Clinical study results show that PrEP is up to 99% effective in people who are at risk of getting HIV. According to the CDC, nearly 1.1 million people in the U.S. are at risk of contracting HIV. Generally, PrEP is recommended to help prevent HIV in people who:

  • Have an ongoing sexual relationship with an HIV-positive partner
  • Are involved in sexual relationships with multiple partners
  • Engage in anal sex without using condoms with sexual partners who have been diagnosed with a sexually transmitted infection (STI) in the past six months
  • Do not use condoms and have one or more sexual partners whose HIV status is unknown
  • Share needles and syringes to inject drugs

Because PrEP is still relatively new (Truvada was approved by the FDA in 2012), many people don’t know enough about it, and there are some myths circulating about the medication. To cut through the confusion, we’re sharing seven common misconceptions about PrEP, and the facts you should know.

Myth: You Can Take PrEP as Needed

Some people think you can take PrEP only on the day you plan to have sex, or before a big party weekend. This is inaccurate. For PrEP to be effective, you must take it once a day, every day. Only then can this treatment provide you with maximum protection against HIV.

Myth: You Don’t Need to Use Condoms on PrEP

Even when taking PrEP you should continue to wear condoms for extra protection, and so you don’t catch other sexually transmitted infections. PrEP does not prevent transmission of STIs like syphilis or gonorrhea.

Myth: PrEP is Only for Promiscuous People

When Truvada first became available some people were hesitant to take it for fear of stigma. But being proactive and using preventive HIV therapy does not mean somebody is planning to have sex with lots of different people (and no judgements if that’s what you’re into — just be safe). Whether your sex life is wild or mild, protecting yourself is smart.

Myth: PrEP is Only for Gay Men

PrEP can be used by women, straight men, and trans people too. Any healthy individual who has multiple sexual partners can benefit from PrEP and should consider taking it.

Myth: PrEP is Too Expensive

While paying for PrEP out-of-pocket could be expensive, most health insurance plans cover PrEP treatment, and there are payment assistance programs available for those without coverage or with big co-pays. If you request PrEP through Nurx their team will help you apply for payment assistance to make the medication affordable for you.

Myth: The Lab Work is Too Inconvenient

While it’s true that starting and staying on PrEP requires you to get blood tests every three months, to ensure that you’re HIV negative and that your kidneys are healthy, this shouldn’t be a barrier. Nurx now offers  at-home PrEP test kits that allow you to do the necessary tests by pricking your finger, placing a few drops of blood on a card, and sending it into their partner lab.

Myth: You Need to Take PrEP for Your Entire Life

While it is true that PrEP therapy is only effective if you take it every day, you do not have to continue treatment if you think you no longer need it. If you are no longer sexually active or no longer in multiple sexual relationships and you and your current partner have both tested negative for HIV, you can stop taking PrEP.

The Bottom Line

To benefit from PrEP, it is important to know the facts about it. Don’t dismiss this highly effective preventive treatment for HIV based on rumor. When it comes to your sexual health, knowledge is power.

If you think it is right for you, request PrEP now.

This blog pro­vides infor­ma­tion about telemed­i­cine, health and related sub­jects. The blog content and any linked materials herein are not intended to be, and should not be con­strued as a substitute for, med­ical or healthcare advice, diagnosis or treatment. Any reader or per­son with a med­ical con­cern should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other healthcare provider. This blog is provided purely for informational purposes. The views expressed herein are not sponsored by and do not represent the opinions of Nurx.

The post 7 PrEP Myths (vs Actual Facts) appeared first on Nurx.

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Many women consider an annual appointment with the gyno to be a given, as essential to responsible self-care as a twice-yearly trip to the dentist or a flu shot in the fall. But other women . . do not. Less than half of American women see a gynecologist or OB-GYN yearly, and that percentage has been declining. If you’ve been wondering how often to see the gynecologist, and what’s in it for you, check out these five little-known factoids. 

You might not need a Pap smear.

Thinking about the OB-GYN probably calls to mind placing your feet in cold metal stirrups, and the pinching of the Pap smear that follows…and ranks right up there in the delightfulness quotient as getting a tooth yanked. But an annual Pap smear is so last century. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), women in their twenties only need a routine Pap test every 3 years, while women aged 30-65 can stretch that interval out to 5 years if they have an HPV test at the same time. Certain strains of HPV, or human papillomavirus, are associated with virtually all cases of cervical cancer, so if your HPV test is negative that means you don’t need to worry about cervical cancer or precancerous changes for a while. And most women over the age of 65 can skip the test entirely.

If you’re really squeamish about those stirrups, one option is to test yourself for HPV in the privacy of your own home. Home HPV test kits allows you to swab your vagina yourself, then break the tip off the swab off, insert it into a special container, and mail it in to a lab for analysis. If it turns out you are carrying at least one of the high-risk strains, you can go see a gyno in-person for additional screening like a Pap smear.

A pelvic exam is different from a Pap smear.

It’s easy to get confused, but they are actually two very different things. A Pap test screens for cervical cancer. Your gyno uses a small spatula and brush to collect cervical cells, then sends them off to a laboratory for analysis. A pelvic exam looks for signs of fibroids, ovarian cysts, or even ovarian cancer. Your gyno inserts two fingers into your vagina and then places her hand on the outside of your belly to check your cervix, uterus, ovaries and fallopian tubes.

While docs used to recommend all women get pelvic exams every year, the thinking on that, like Pap smears, has changed. The American College of Physicians and ACOG now say that if a woman is healthy and not complaining of any symptoms like pelvic pain or bloating, she may not even need one. They’re not very effective at picking up conditions like early-stage cancer, they’re uncomfortable, and they may also raise your risk of having other medical tests or even surgery that turn out to be unnecessary.

Your gyno can be your primary care doctor.

At this point you may be thinking, “If I don’t need an annual Pap or pelvic exam, why see a gyno at all?” but there are still good reasons to see one regularly. In fact, if you’re healthy, your gyno can serve as your primary provider. Groups like ACOG recommend OB-GYNs do things like check your height, weight and blood pressure, take a careful family history, screen you for depression, make sure you’re up to date on all your vaccinations, and, if it’s appropriate, send you off for bone mineral density or colorectal cancer screening. (You can find a list of age-appropriate evaluations and screenings here.) Just keep in mind that if you do have a chronic disease, such as high blood pressure or type 2 diabetes, your OB-GYN may refer you to an internist (someone who focuses on primary care) or a specialist for your condition.

Ask to be tested for STIs.

Less than half of women aged 15-24 get screened for common sexually transmitted infections such as chlamydia or gonorrhea, even though they should. The federal government’s Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has set specific guidelines for screening if you’re a sexually active female. They include:

  • If you’re under age 25, get tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia every year.
  • If you’re over 25 but have a new partner, or multiple sex partners, get tested for gonorrhea and chlamydia every year.
  • You should be tested at least once for HIV if you’re in your teens or 20s. If you’ve had unsafe sex with someone and you don’t know their HIV status, you should also get screened.
  • If you’re pregnant, you should be tested for syphilis, HIV, and hepatitis B early in pregnancy.

OB-GYNs don’t always test for STIs if you don’t ask, so if you’re sexually active and your doctor doesn’t raise the issue you should. You can also test yourself for common STIs with a home test kit. 

Don’t be embarrassed to tell all.

When it comes to your below-the-belt woes, your gyno has seen and heard honestly everything. So, while you may be mortified that your nether regions seem to smell like a fish market, or by the fact that you pee whenever you cough or sneeze or feel pain in a certain sex position, she won’t bat an eye. It’s also important to tell her about these pesky signs, since they could indicate a potentially serious condition such as a vaginal infection or something like a fibroid. Oftentimes, these problems are also easily fixable and can be solved with something as simple as a medication change or a few sessions of pelvic physical therapy.

You also shouldn’t sweat it if you haven’t had time for a close shave or a bikini wax, because your gyno is more focused on your lady bits rather than, er, all your trimmings. Ditto if your period and check-up coincide. You won’t gross your gyno out—for her your most private goings on are just another day on the job.

About the Author

Hallie Levine is an award-winning journalist who has covered health and wellness for more than twenty years for publications including Consumer Reports, The New York Times, Health, Prevention, Time, Reader’s Digest, Parents, Good Housekeeping, and Redbook.

The post 5 Things You May Not Know About Your Gyno Appointment appeared first on Nurx.

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Nurx by Kari Brummond - 3w ago

The intrauterine device, or IUD, is a very popular form of birth control in other countries, but American women use it much less often. The reason that this easy and reliable pregnancy prevention strategy isn’t more popular probably has to do with some myths that make IUDs seem risky. Have you heard that IUDs can make you infertile or mess up your insides in a serious way? While some IUD myths have their basis in a bit of fact, many of them are total falsehoods. Check out the statements below and see whether you can separate fact from fiction.

Myth or Truth? IUDs Cause Abortions 

Myth. Let’s say it together: IUDs are birth control. One more time for the people in the back: IUDs are birth control!  Often misrepresented, IUDs occasionally are lumped in with abortifacients, a term used for drugs that cause abortions.

This is not how IUDs work.The copper IUD works as a spermicide, killing sperm before it reaches the egg. Hormone-based IUDs release progesterone, which thickens cervical mucus, making it impossible for sperm to enter the uterus. In both of these situations, the IUD kicks into action before fertilization occurs, putting the IUD squarely in the category of contraceptive, not abortifacient. In rare cases when sperm does manage to reach an egg despite the presence of an IUD, the device will prevent implantation from happening, but a fertilized egg isn’t a pregnancy until it has implanted in the uterus.

Myth or Truth? IUDs Increase Your Risk of Infertility

Myth, though it has its roots in truth. An early IUD called the Dalkon Shield did lead to infertility, and worse, in some women. Infections caused by the Dalkon Shield in some cases meant that when women later tried to get pregnant they couldn’t, or had an increased risk of ectopic pregnancy and miscarriage. But today’s IUDs are different, and studies show that women who use IUDs do not have an increased risk of infertility, ectopic pregnancy or miscarriage compared to women who don’t use IUDs.

Myth or Truth? IUDs are Better for Women Who Have Been Pregnant Before

This one is somewhat true. Although plenty of women who’ve never been pregnant happily use IUDs, the insertion process can be more painful in women who’ve never given birth, because after giving birth a woman’s uterus tends to enlarge slightly, making the insertion process easier. But regardless of whether or not you’ve had a baby, IUD insertion can be painful and doctors suggest you take painkillers, OTC or even prescription, before the procedure.

Myth or Truth? IUDs Aren’t As Effective as Other Birth Control Methods 

Myth! The truth is that IUDs are effective more than 99% of the time, which is better or equal to other methods. While some other methods are that effective with perfect use it can be hard to use the pill or patch perfectly, but with the IUD there’s nothing to remember. 

Myth or Truth: IUDs Stop Your Periods

Truth, in some cases. While the copper IUD does not stop your periods, the hormonal IUD typically lightens and even stops monthly bleeding. This happens because the progestin released by the hormonal IUD suppress build up of the uterine lining. However, with both IUDs, you may notice slight changes to your cycle at the beginning of use. During the first few months after insertion, all types of IUDs are associated with heavier periods, irregular periods, and additional cramps. That should all subside after the first three to six months. 

Myth or Truth? IUD Strings Are Dangerous

Myth. IUD strings are completely safe, now. But the belief that IUD strings can hurt you has its basis in that disastrous early 1970’s IUD, the Dalkon shield. This IUD featured a string containing hundreds of nylon fibers wrapped around each other. This design made the string extra strong, but its size allowed bacteria to enter the uterus, leading to infections, sepsis, miscarriages, and even infertility or hysterectomies.

IUDs still contain strings, which allow doctors to remove the IUD, but the strings are now much smaller and safer. Ideally, you should check that your IUD is in place by feeling the strings at least once a month. They are at the top of your uterus and feel like floss. Some men claim they can feel the strings during sex, but most partners don’t experience any discomfort. If you have issues, ask your doctor or midwife to cut your strings shorter.

Myth or Truth? Getting an STI While Using an IUD is Extra-Risky

There is some truth to this one. As our friends at Bedsider explain, if you have an undiagnosed STI and get an IUD inserted you are at increased risk of pelvic inflammatory disease (PID) a condition which can threaten your fertility. That’s why it’s smart to get tested for STIs before you get an IUD inserted, and many doctors will require you to take an STI test before they’ll perform the procedure. But after you’ve had the IUD in place for 20 days your risk of getting PID from an STI is the same as that of a woman without an IUD. Regardless, you should be tested for STIs at least once a year, and more often if you have a new partner or are unsure of a partner’s STI status.

How did you separating IUD fact from fiction? Could you tell the myths from truths? 

If you’re looking for a new birth control methods, check out Nurx. While Nurx doesn’t offer IUDs, since they have to be inserted by a physician, you can request a prescription for birth control pills or the birth control patch, ring, or shot and the Nurx medical team will prescribe it online and have it sent to your door. 

About the Author

With over a decade of content writing experience, Kari can write about any topic under the sun, and she loves helping people make informed choices about how to be safe while expressing their sexuality.

This blog pro­vides infor­ma­tion about telemed­i­cine, health and related sub­jects. The blog content and any linked materials herein are not intended to be, and should not be con­strued as a substitute for, med­ical or healthcare advice, diagnosis or treatment. Any reader or per­son with a med­ical con­cern should con­sult with an appropriately-licensed physi­cian or other healthcare provider. This blog is provided purely for informational purposes. The views expressed herein are not sponsored by and do not represent the opinions of Nurx.

The post Test Your IUD Knowledge appeared first on Nurx.

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