SSU Student Health Center (SHC) Women's Health & Contraception

Confidential women's health services are offered to regularly enrolled SSU students, with no charge for medical visits during the school year. Nominal fees are charged for pharmaceuticals, certain lab tests, summer visits, and to participants in pre-designated special SSU enrollment programs.

A. One-time women’s health/contraception session:

  • Required for individuals seeking prescription contraceptive services for the first time at SSU. Includes video, handout information packet, etc.

B. The initial medical visit for an individual seeking hormonal contraception at SSU includes:

  • Clinician review of the patient's pertinent women's health medical history, individualized women's health and contraceptive consultation, and limited physical exam as indicated.
  • Pap smear, pelvic exam and/or breat exam only as indicated by age, symptoms, previous findings, standard recommendations for patient age, etc. Pap testing is not recommended before age 21.
  • Chlamydia testing and testing for other sexually transmitted infection as indicated. (Chlamydia testing is recommended anually for all sexually active women under age 25 - with or without symptoms, and for women of any age with symptoms or a new sex partner since their last recent chlamydia test.)

C. Re-check & refill visits for contraceptives are vest scheduled during the regular school year.

D. Scroll down to learn more about contraceptive options.

E. Periodic Women's Health Maintenance Visits 

  • Periodic women's health maintenance visits as medically indicated are also available in accordance with standard CDC and Preventive Services Task Force guidelnes for women that are not seeking contraception from the Student Health Center: This may include a review of the patient's women's health related medical history, physical exam and lab testing only as indicated by medical history, symptoms age, and other factors. May or may not include Pap, breast exam, pelvic, STI testing.

F. Emergency Contraceptive Pills (ECPs) Are:

  • Hormonal preparations that can help reduce the risk of pregnancy following unprotected intercourse.
  • Are available via a medical visit or from a Pharmacy.
  • Designed for use in unexpected situations of unprotected intercouse, such as method failure, sexual assault, etc
  • Most effective when used ASAP and within 72 hours of unprotected intercourse, but may work if taken up to 5 days after unprotected intercourse.
  • Are not a substitute for or a reliable method of ongoing contraception
  • Get more information at 707 664-2921; the Princeton Emergency Contraception Website

G. Pregnancy Testing:

  • Home test kits are available at a low cost at the SSU SHC Pharmacy. Medical visits with a Nurse Practitionr or an RN are available by appointment. These are best scheduled only if you are at least 5 days late with your period or have symptoms that concern you or if you have had a positive home pregnancy test.

H. Pharmacy Services - See http://www.sonoma.edu/shc/services/pharmacy/html

  • Prescription contraceptives are dispensed only to SSU students who have received a medical evaluation and prescription from the SSU Student Health Center. A brief appointment for a one-month prescription of continuing hormonal contraceptives can be arranged pending a student's full examination here. SHC prescriptions may also be filled at off-campus pharmacies at the student's own expense. Condoms, foam, home pregnancy tests, etc. are available at low cost without a prescription.

Contraceptive Options available at the SSU Student Health Center 664-2921

No prescription required:

  • Condoms: Male & Female more effective @ pregnancy prevention when used w/spermicide. Help protect against sexually transmitted infection.
  • Spermicides: foam, jelly, film) prevents sperm from reaching and fertilizing an egg. Usually best used in conjunction with condoms. Much less effective when used alone than when used in combination with condoms.

Prescription required:

  • Hormonal Contraceptives: Hormonal contraceptives contain estrogen & progesterone (or progesterone alone) & prevent pregnancy by suppressing the release of eggs from the ovary as well as by causing cervical mucus to thicken which interferes with sperm motility. They do not protect against sexually transmitted infection.
    • Birth Control Pills (combined estrogen and progesterone)
      • Reversible, and generally safe and reliable when used correctly; have non-contraceptive benefits (e.g. reduction in menstrual flow, discomfort, and anemia; decreased risk of ovarian and uterine cancer).
      • Must be taken at the same time each day; reduced efficacy in obese individuals..
      • Possible minor side effects: (e.g. nausea, headache, fluid retention, depression)..
      • Possible serious side effects (rare - but some of these are more common in smokers): blood clots, heart attack, stroke, blood pressure increase, glucose intolerance, gall bladder or liver problems.
    • Nuva Ring (Vaginal Ring) or Contraceptive Patch - contains estrogen and progesterone
      • Similar to the combined birth control pill in effectiveness, action, and side effects. Hormones are delivered by a flexible polymer ring that is placed in the vagina, left in place for 3 weeks, and removed for one week or by an adhesive square applied to the skin weekly that contains estrogen and progesterone.
      • There is less theoretical chance of nausea and no daily pill taking required with these methods, but there is probably a greater failure rate in obese individuals.
      • Either of these two methods have been associated with a higher risk of blood clots, heart attack, or stroke in some women.
    • Depo Provera is a progesterone only injectable contraceptive given at 3-month intervals.
      • Convenient 99% effective contraception without the need to remember a daily pill.
      • Contains no estrogen, avoids estrogen related side effects; o.k. for use in nursing mothers.
      • Reduced menses, menstrual cramps, anemia, spotting and possible possible irregular menses may occur.
      • Reversible method, but return of ovulation may be delayed.
      • Possible progestin related side effects (e.g. acne, fluid retention, weight gain, depression).
      • Long-term use may reduce bone mineral density and increase the risk of osteoporosis later in life.
      • Therefore, the FDA currently recommends that the use of Depo Provera beyond 2 years should occur only if other birth control methods are not adequate for the individual.