The Pill: Myths and Facts
Not a License for Sex
Lori’s mom told me privately that she was afraid that putting Lori on oral hormones would give her the green light for sex. I reassured her that’s not the case.
“You know, fear of pregnancy actually isn’t the major reason girls decide not to have sex. They wait or don’t wait because of peer pressure, the values of their friends and family, concern about their reputation, or just plain good judgment. Being on the pill probably won’t affect her decision one way or the other.”
I also remind parents that this is a great time to revisit the “what you didn’t learn in sex ed” discussion. Whenever I prescribe oral hormones for girls who are virgins, I tell them it’s incredibly important to their future health to wait until at least eighteen to have sex—and even longer is better. I also remind them that the pill doesn’t prevent sexually transmitted diseases. (You should see their faces when I open my huge medical textbooks and show them actual photos of women with herpes, genital warts, syphilis, and pus-filled blisters. It makes quite an impression.)
And, of course, I remind them that even if they never, ever miss a single pill, one in one thousand women who take the pill will still get pregnant. Of course, most women and teens do miss a pill now and then: In that case, 8 percent of women will get pregnant on the pill. You heard me. That’s eight out of one hundred. I’ve delivered several babies who were “pill accidents.” I even know several women doctors who got pregnant this way. If it can happen to doctors, it can definitely happen to you.
Don’t suffer, Be Happy
Eventually we got Lori on a regimen of prescription-strength Advil and oral hormones. I’m happy to say it worked. She stopped missing school, her grades climbed, and she was soon back to her old self. Her only regret was not coming to see me earlier. Don’t let that happen to you. Remember, you deserve to feel great every day—not just three weeks a month.