I’m just coming into the office so I can start on birth control – do I need a pelvic exam?
Gloucester Massachusetts - Not necessarily. Women under 21 years old who are coming in to start a birth control method other than an IUD, or for a routine annual wellness exam, most often do not need a pelvic exam. A fully clothed physical exam will be done to determine if they are good candidate for the chosen birth control method, and/or to assess overall health and wellness.This exam is usually is limited to checking thyroid (neck), heart, lungs, skin, and abdomen. However, it is recommended that women over 21 years old begin routine Pap testing (cervical cancer screening) which does involve a pelvic exam. If a patient has not already received, or is not up to date with, routine annual wellness exams and Pap testing from another provider, we do recommend that patients over 21 years old who present for birth control management also receive a full gynecological exam including a pelvic exam and Pap test either during their initial visit, or soon after to ensure proper gynecological care. Similarly, we also recommend that all women who present with abnormal symptoms such as pelvic pain, abnormal bleeding, abnormal discharge, and/or new lesions/bumps to vagina or vulva also receive a pelvic exam to appropriately assess and treat any underlying conditions.
I’m coming in for routine STD testing just to be sure. I don’t have any symptoms…what can I expect?
Your office visit and testing approach will depend on your specific risk factors and symptoms. After reviewing your history, your nurse practitioner will discuss specific recommendations for testing. Generally speaking, for many low-risk individuals coming in for routine STD testing with no other symptoms, or known contact to diseases, the testing is typically limited to a urine sample to test for the two most common STDs: Gonorrhea and Chlamydia. A rectal swab and/or a throat swab may also be necessary if the patient has had receptive oral or anal sex. The samples are sent to a lab off site and results are usually back within a week or so. While certainly not required, a genital exam is recommended for patients coming in for STD testing, even if they have no symptoms, since it can be helpful in identifying skin conditions, undetected genital lesions, and vaginal infections. Patients who present with abnormal symptoms such as abnormal penile or vaginal discharge, pelvic pain, abnormal vaginal bleeding, pain or burning with urination, and/or new lesions or bumps to genitals DO require a genital exam for appropriate assessment and treatment. ALL patients who come to Health Quarters are offered HIV testing, which can be done with a simple finger stick. Results are provided in just 10 minutes. In some cases, HIV testing may require drawing blood. Results will be available in about a week.
Is Plan B the same as the abortion pill?
Also known as the morning-after pill, emergency contraception may prevent pregnancy but it will not stop an already-established pregnancy. Emergency contraception can reduce pregnancy risk for up to five days after unprotected sex but the sooner you take it, the better it works. If you had unprotected sex less than five days ago, check out this page to learn about your options.
Can I bring someone to my appointment?
You are welcome to bring one support person to the clinic, but it is not required. Companions must provide government-issued photo ID and are not allowed past the waiting room. There are several coffee shops nearby if your companion would like to go for a walk while they are waiting.
Why does Health Quarters say “patient” or “pregnant person” instead of “woman?”
Health Quarters is committed to providing sexual health and abortion services for everyone. As Jack Qu’emi reminds us in this great video from All Access, gender neutral language for abortion access is important because “not everybody who has a functioning uterus identifies as a woman. Some trans people need access to abortion. Some trans people have periods. Some trans people can get pregnant.” If you have questions about our language choices or suggestions about how we can be more inclusive, please let us know!
How do I find Health Quarters?
Health Quarters Beverly: Our address is 100 Cummings Center, Suite 131-Q, Beverly, MA. We are located in the 100 building of a large office park. Landmarks include: A large white sign that says "Health Quarters" over our door, two trees, some bushes, and a fire hydrant. You can walk directly into the clinic from the parking lot, please allow time to find parking.
Health Quarters Lawrence: Our address is 280 Merrimack Street, Suite 501, Gloucester MA. We are located in the Riverwalk office park, in the North B section where the parking lot is located. Enter through the G Entrance and make sure you take the elevator that goes all the way to the 5th floor. Take a right when you exit the elevator. Please allow time to find parking.
Health Quarters Haverhill: Our address is 215 Summer St. Suite 216 Haverhill, MA 01830. We are located in the Medical Building across the street from the Linwood Cemetery. Be sure to come around to the back of the parking lot and come in the door on the right.
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