All posts by Billie Jo

Billie Jo, RN, BSN, joined the First Care Clinic team in 2017 as our Nurse Manager. Billie Jo is a Registered Nurse with 16 years’ experience including 15 years working in labor and delivery and post-partum care. She completed her clinical training as a nurse sonographer in 2017. Billie Jo enjoys spending time with her husband and children and anything outdoors.

January is Cervical Cancer Awareness Month

Cervical cancer is one of five main types of cancer that affect a woman’s reproductive organs. Cancer is a disease in which cells in the body grow out of control. Cancer is always named for the part of the body where it starts.

Nearly 13,000 women in the United States are diagnosed with cervical cancer each year. Yet the disease is preventable with vaccination and appropriate screening (Pap and HPV tests). Read stories from some women who are survivors of cervical cancer.

There are two tests that can help prevent cervical cancer or find it early:

  • Pap smears – The Pap smear looks for precancers, cell changes, on the cervix that can be treated. Finding cell changes early and seeking treatment can prevent cervical cancer. Pap smears can also find cervical cancer early, when treatment is most effective.
  • HPV tests – These tests look for HPV, Human Papillomavirus. HPV is the virus that can cause precancerous cell changes and cervical cancer.

First Care Clinic offers Pap smears and HPV testing in Madison, Wisconsin, free of charge.

Find out more about Pap smears and HPV tests.

Wondering if you should get tested?

  • If you are age 21 or older, you should start getting regular Pap smears.
  • If you are age 30 or older, or if you’ve had unclear Pap test results, the HPV test can be used to screen for cervical cancer along with the Pap test.

What are the symptoms?

  • There may not be any symptoms early on, which is why testing is so important.
  • Later on, cervical cancer may cause bleeding. It could also cause vaginal discharge that is not normal for you, such as bleeding after sex. Other things can also cause these symptoms so the only way to know is to get tested.

Ways to prevent cervical cancer:

  • Have regular Pap smears
  • Get the HPV vaccine
  • Don’t smoke
  • Limit your number of sexual partners
  • Use condoms during sex

Ready to get tested? Call or text us today to make your appointment for a Pap smear or STI testing in Madison, Wisconsin. It’s free of charge.

Help! I Might Need the Morning After Pill

What is emergency contraception? How does it work? When can I take it? How effective is it?

What’s the difference between the morning after pill and the abortion pill?

What if I’m pregnant?

Birth control failure
Concerned about the condom breaking or forgetting to take the pill?

If you’ve had unprotected sex questions like these may be swirling through your mind. Or you might be wondering these things if the condom broke or you forgot to take your regular birth control. These questions can be hard to sort through.

The morning after pill and the abortion pill are not the same thing, but are often confused. If you’re wondering what they are or what the differences are between the morning after pill and the abortion pill, keep reading.

What is the morning after pill?

  • The morning after pill is often referred to by the brand name that started it, Plan B®.
  • It’s a drug intended to be taken as soon as possible within the first 72 hours after unprotected sex to prevent pregnancy.
  • It contains a high dose of a progesterone, which is found in many kinds of birth control pills.

How does the morning after pill work?

What are side effects? Short-term side-effects of taking the morning after pill may include:

  • Nausea & vomiting
  • Changes in your period
  • Cramping and abdominal pain – this could also be a sign of an ectopic pregnancy. If you have severe abdominal pain three to five weeks after using the morning after pill you should get immediate medical help. You could have an ectopic (tubal) pregnancy.
  • Tiredness
  • Headache
  • Dizziness

What else should I know about the morning after pill?

What is the abortion pill?

  • The abortion pill is not the same as the morning after pill.
  • The “abortion pill” is not actually one pill, but two separate medications.
  • The abortion pill involves taking two different drugs to cause a medical abortion. These are Mifeprex® and misoprostol.
  • The first drug is known as Mifeprex®, mifepristone or RU-486. In March 2016, the FDA made approved changes to the Mifeprex®/mifepristone regime. Mifeprex® is now approved, in a regimen with misoprostol, to end a pregnancy through 70 days since the first day of a woman’s last menstrual period.
  • Misoprostol is taken 24 to 48 hours after taking Mifeprex®.
  • About 7 to 14 days after taking Mifeprex®, a woman should follow up with her healthcare provider. This visit is to make sure the abortion is complete and to check for complications.

How does the abortion pill work?

What are side effects and potential complications of the abortion pill? Women who have taken Mifeprex® should seek immediate medical care for:

  • Sustained fever
  • Severe abdominal pain
  • Prolonged heavy bleeding
  • Abdominal pain or discomfort or generally feeling sick for more than 24 hours after taking misoprostol. Generally feeling sick could include weakness, nausea, vomiting and/or diarrhea.

These symptoms could be a sign of serious complications.

What else should I know about the abortion pill?

  • Ignoring the FDA guidelines below makes a medical abortion less safe. You should not take mifepristone if it has been more than 70 days since your last menstrual period began.
  • Do not order the abortion pill online.
    • Online purchasers of the abortion pill may bypass important safeguards designed to protect women’s health.
    • Drugs purchased online are not subject to FDA manufacturing controls or inspection. There is no way to be exactly sure what they contain.
    • If dangerous side effects occur, you will need a healthcare professional to take care of you.

What if I change my mind?

  • Under a doctor’s care, women have successfully continued their pregnancies after taking the first does of the abortion pill, mifepristone. Find out more: abortionpillreversal.com
  • Women should not attempt to counteract the abortion pill without the help of a medical professional.

If you have had unprotected sex and are concerned about pregnancy in Madison, Wisconsin, text or call us at 608-259-1605. We can help to answer your questions so that you can make an informed decision.

I Can’t Be Pregnant

“I can’t be pregnant. Not right now.”

“I have plans. And I can’t afford a baby.”

Perhaps you or someone you know is having thoughts like these. You may wonder what to do next.

Should I have an abortion? Parent? Or maybe consider making an adoption plan? All of these sound like hard choices. Where do I go from here?

The nurses and patient advocates at First Care Clinic are here to help you sort through your options and create a plan to move forward. Come see us.

To find out more or to make an appointment, call or text us at 608-259-1605.