When I was about 20, I was placed on birth control by a gynecologist to manage irregular periods. This is a very standard treatment for irregular periods, one which almost every woman I know seems to have been on, some as very young teenagers.
About a year later, I started my first part-time office job, which required lots of sitting at a desk and typing. So much computer work seemed to trigger muscle tension in my shoulders, leading to headaches. So, I called to see my general practice doctor.
My regular doctor was not in, so I saw his partner, Dr. Clueless. He looked over the list of my medications and said “So you’re on birth control?”.
“Yes,” I replied, wondering what this had to do with my headaches.
Dr. Clueless: “So you’re married?”
Dr.: “So you must be in a monogamous relationship?”
Me: “Um no, not that either.” (I’m now getting annoyed by this line of questioning.)
Dr.: “Well, I hope you’re using condoms!”
Me: “Actually, no I’m not. Because I’m not having intercourse.”
(Doctor looks confused)
Me: “I have never had sex. I am a virgin.”
Dr.: “Well then why would you be taking birth control?”
Me: “I have irregular periods. My gynecologist, who is also a reproductive endocrinologist, prescribed them to me for hormonal regulation. Can we talk about my headaches?”
The worst part of this episode, other than the fact that he had no idea how to help my headaches and muscle tension, was that I left feeling ashamed and embarrassed, even though he was the one who demonstrated a complete lack of knowledge. As a doctor licensed to practice in the US I would assume he would have heard of such a very common medical practice. And even if he hadn’t, there was no reason to give me the concerned father-figure routine.
Oh well, guess it’s #MFIF
-What a Headache, US