How To Find Birth Control That Isn’t Inconvenient & Expensive | Houston, Sugar Land, Woodlands
A female physician reveals the best way to get birth control.
by Thi Vo, DO
Chief Medical Officer
Let’s talk birth control.
As the great Lil’ Wayne once said, safe sex is great sex. Better wear a latex. ‘Cause, you don’t want that late text. That ‘I think I’m late’ text.
You know it, your momma knows it, Lil’ Wayne even knows it—birth control is a significant component of women’s health.
So why is it so darn complicated?
As a female physician, I have found the best model to offer affordable, convenient birth control for my patients. And there’s no gatekeeping here—in this post, I’ll be sharing all the secrets on where to seek birth control and the different options, and I’ll even be getting transparent with pricing (finally!).
1. Get It From The Right Place
Whether you’re already on birth control that you love or still searching for options, the most important first step (and I cannot emphasize the importance enough) is choosing the right care team for you.
Ask yourself these questions about where you get your birth control from:
- Do they know me, my history, and spend unrushed time getting to know me?
- Are they convenient to reach for follow-ups via phone or text? (Your care team—not just a receptionist. It is the 21st century, isn’t it?)
- How much am I paying? Why is it that much?
- Can I trust that I’m receiving the best option for my body?
- Can I receive any necessary refills without showing up in-office?
If your current option doesn’t hit those marks, it’s time to reevaluate.
If you’re like some people, you may not even be going through your OBGYN or primary care office. You may be giving those heavily-marketing online services like Hers or Nurx a try. But those subscriptions can still be costly in the long run, inaccessible to those without insurance, run out of stock quickly, and limiting. Most importantly—they don’t provide personalized care for your body.
I encourage everyone to look more into the model of care I found (direct primary care) for birth control options that take your lifestyle, history, and preferences into consideration. Don’t settle for heavily-marketed, impersonal services when it comes to your reproductive health.
2. Choose The Right Option For You
Talking to your doctor about your history and goals can help identify underlying issues and pinpoint the best treatment plan.
At my clinic (First Primary Care), we have several options:
- Oral birth control pills, which you take at the same time every day.
- A patch that you can change once weekly for three weeks. You take it off for a week and then repeat the process the next cycle.
- The NuvaRing that you insert like a tampon for three weeks. You take it out for a week and then repeat it.
- An injection that lasts for three months at a time.
- The implant, which you insert in your non-dominant arm.
- Intrauterine devices (IUDs). There’s a hormone and a non-hormonal type, and it can last from 3-12 years.
With birth control options, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all. Discuss it with your doctor or your care team to see which one fits best for you and your lifestyle. And remember: the birth control options above do not protect you from sexually transmitted infections or diseases!
3. Price Shop Through Your Primary Care
The price is another reason to ditch those online prescription services and traditional office models.
I use my network to advocate and search the lowest prices on the market for my patients (without billing insurance!) Here’s the typical breakdown for pricing in the First Primary Care model:
- At First Primary Care, birth control pills can be as low as $4 a month (instead of ~$40 in most other places).
- Injections (lasting up to three months) are less than $40.
- Implants or IUDs are a little more costly in the hundreds, but they do last for several years.
So at First Primary Care, once my patients decide which birth control route they want to take, I send that prescription to their pharmacy or a specialty pharmacy.
Patients not only get birth control for far cheaper, but they don’t have to pay co-pays or additional fees either (which saves hundreds to thousands of dollars).
In most traditional models, clinics will charge you for the insertion and removal of the implant. In First Primary Care’s model, it is all included (no hidden fees, for real).
4. Prepare For Side Effects & How To Get Direct-Text Access To Your Doctor
The most significant difference between getting birth control in a direct primary care model versus the other traditional models is that you have that direct access to your physician routinely.
When I start a patient on birth control, there’s typically a lot of irregular bleeding and side effects within the first three months. Even though I discuss it with my patients in advance, it’s nice that the patient can reach out to me directly and get their concerns addressed or just reassurance that all is okay.
Lastly, symptoms and other side effects can be rooted in unrelated issues like high cholesterol, diabetes, stress, or another underlying condition. When these issues arise with women who only see their OBGYN for birth control, they often have to be referred to primary care, which is inconvenient and costly.
Trained in family medicine, I see patients that range from babies to the elderly, but we also have a strong component where we study OBGYN care. We were trained heavily on women’s preventative health, prenatal health, pregnancies, and even delivering babies. That’s why having a primary care doctor administer your birth control is a great option—it’s all-inclusive!
If you’d like to learn more about my model of care and try out the direct-relationship model for your health needs, click below! We’re now accepting patients all across Houston.
Thi Vo, DO