Sexual Health FAQs

Q. How soon can I use home pregnancy tests?

A. Home pregnancy tests are most accurate about 27 days after conception. This is when a menstrual period is 10 -12 days late, although some tests do say they can be used as early as 2 days after a missed period. * Update: Some of the new pregnancy tests say you can use them one day after a missed period. If your cycle is not regular, wait another day to use it. (Or you might be wasting your money).

*Some claim they are accurate 5 days before you have missed your period. I would go with the older tests since there is some data on how accurate those are.

Collect a good urine specimen. If the directions call for the use of a container, use a new or clean one. A washed-out bottle may interfere with the results. Most tests today provide a small disposable cup for you to use or you pee directly onto them. Perform the test in the morning when urine is the most concentrated. BUT, you can use them at any time of the day.

(Refrain from the use of aspirin or marijuana the day before and the day of the test). Results can be one of two things:

Positive. Almost always means pregnant. False positives (says pregnant when not) are very rare. Things that cause a false positive include marijuana, aspirin, hormones, birth control pills, methadone, tranquilizers, and soap or protein in urine.

Negative. Usually means not pregnant. False negatives (says not pregnant when pregnant) are fairly common. This happens if it is too early in the pregnancy to make the results of the home test accurate.

If you suspect you are pregnant even though a home pregnancy test is negative, you should have a pelvic exam by a GYN health care provider and blood test or repeat the urine test in a couple days.

For an update on Home Pregnancy Tests see: Pregnancy Tests.

Q. What is a dental dam [vaginal dam] and how is it used. I don't mean when the dentist uses it.

A. Dental or vaginal dams are rectangular pieces of latex used for safer sex protection while performing oral sex on a female. (Many are flavored, BTW). Since STDs can be transmitted from either partner to the other during oral sex, it is important to use a dental dam. They should also be used for oral to anal contact for the same reason. Yep, it sounds like it takes the fun out of oral sex, but genital herpes or oral herpes sure as heck does more!

Dental dams should be placed on the area which is being pleasured. Make sure not to flip over the dental dam during use to prevent the transmission of STDs between partners. An alternative to using a dental dam is regular plastic wrap, which should be used in the same way as a dental dam. Some people cut a condom in half and use that on their tongue. The dental dam probably is better protection, IMHO.

You can buy dental dams at at most stores that sell condoms. (Remember, in the USA & Canada, you can buy condoms or any birth control at any age! (Many universities give them out for free at their health centers, so check and see.

Q. Will penicillin will make my birth control pills less effective? (Amoxicillin, Augmentin)

A. Absolutely Yes, Yes, Yes!!!

Penicillin & it's 'brothers' -- amoxicillin, augmentin, ampicillin, Pen VK, etc.-- all have the potential to interfere with the effectiveness of birth control pills. Always use a back-up method of birth control when taking any antibiotic, BUT do continue to take your pill as you usually do!

When in doubt, ask your pharmacist when you pick up your antibiotic. Tetracycline will also interfere with the pill’s effectiveness.

Don't stop taking the pill while on penicillin, as your body is already used to the 'cycle' of the pill. How antibiotics interfere with birth control pills is actually not really understood.

If you are an adult female, who has had a total hysterectomy (with your ovaries removed), this also applies to you. You may find that your estrogen replacement therapy is not as effective. (Ask your GYN if he or she wants you to increase your dose to avoid any hot flashes, flushing or night sweats). I found this out myself since I had my ovaries removed. It was obvious that my estrogen pills were just not as effective.


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