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Gynecologic and Reproductive Health

Gynecologic and Reproductive Health Clinic

The Gynecologic and Reproductive Health Clinic at UCI Student Health Center is staffed by OB/Gynecologists, Nurse Practitioners, as well as Family Medicine physicians who are specially trained in reproductive health care. Click below for more information on each topic.

Services offered include:

  • Comprehensive gynecologic exams
  • Pap smears for cervical cancer screening
  • Screening for Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI)
  •  Contraceptive counseling and prescriptions
  • Long-acting reversible contraception: Insertion of Intrauterine Devices (IUD) or Arm Implant
  • Pregnancy options counseling
  • On-site medication abortion services (see Pregnancy Options)
  • Endocrine problems, abnormal pap smears, breast lumps, chronic pelvic pain, and other complex women's health problems are also evaluated and treated by the staff of SHC's Gynecologic and Reproductive Health Clinic.

Make an appointment:

Call SHC's appointment scheduling line at 949-824-5304 for an appointment with one of our providers. Your primary care provider can also refer you to an on-site OB/GYN or to a provider in the community

Gynecological Care & Screening

We recommend to all of our patients that they consider a once yearly Wellness/Preventive Health Visit with a clinician to discuss health concerns and to determine if any vaccinations or health screening tests are recommended, particularly if they are sexually active. Certain vaccinations may be mandated by the University. Visit our Health Clearances and Immunization Requirements webpage for detailed information.

If you have a cervix, you may need a PAP smear/pelvic exam for cervical cancer screening, depending on your age, sexual practices and family/medical history. These are now scheduled separately as new guidelines recommend starting PAP smears at age 21, with less frequency thereafter. Read more below.

Routine pelvic or "gynecologic" exams are a very important part of health care. This exam provides an opportunity for your clinician to detect and test for abnormalities of the breast, vulva, vagina, cervix, ovaries, fallopian tubes, uterus, and colon.

You may need more frequent pelvic exams if you have:

  • a history of abnormal PAP test results
  • a history of sexual health problems or risks
  • a family history of certain kinds of cancer
  • a sexually transmitted infection or a sex partner with an infection
  • recurrent vaginal infections or other symptoms
  • or if you are interested in an insertable contraceptive device like an IUD or diaphragm

Avoid having a routine pelvic exam or PAP smear during your menstrual period. Menstrual blood can affect some laboratory test results. For most people, the most comfortable time to have a gynecologic exam is right after your period ends. Avoid having sexual intercourse or inserting any vaginal medications for about 24 hours before your exam.

To visualize the vagina and cervix, your clinician will use a vaginal speculum. This speculum is placed into the vaginal opening and after applying gentle pressure to open the speculum, the vaginal walls and cervix can be seen. This portion of the exam is short and will usually last for only a few minutes. The clinician may also perform a physical exam of the external genital anatomy and may place 1 or 2 fingers into the vagina while pressing on the abdomen to feel the mobility and size of the uterus and ovaries.

PAP smears, which screen for cervical cancer, generally start at age 21 for most people and are indicated every 3 years until age 29, then every 5 years from aged 30 thereafter along with HPV co-testing. More frequent screening may be needed in some circumstances. A brush is used to gently swab your cervix and the cells are visualized under a microscope for any abnormalities.

For more information about Pelvic Exams and PAP tests

In addition to the gynecological exam, clinicians may also perform a clinical breast exam in order to check for lumps or other abnormalities. During the exam, the clinician can teach you about the anatomy, and will advise whether you need further screening tests like ultrasound or mammography.

Make a list of the questions you want to ask your health care provider. Consider writing these questions down on a piece of paper or store them on your phone so that it is easier to remember to ask these questions during the appointment.

  • Ask if you can have a friend in the room with you if you think you would feel more comfortable with another person present.
  • Ask about SHC's Clinical Chaperone Policy.
  • Inform your clinician at the beginning of the visit if you have any of the following symptoms:
    • Abdominal pain or cramping
    • Abdominal lump, swelling or bloating
    • Abnormal vaginal bleeding, spotting or discharge
    • Pain with intercourse
    • Breast lump, pain or discharge
    • Fever
    • Abnormal bleeding or irregular menses
    • Unexplained weight loss
    • Persistent digestive problems

Call SHC's appointment scheduling line at 949-824-5304 to schedule an appointment.

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STI's)

We can test for and treat most sexually transmitted infections during an on-site visit. This can be scheduled with any primary care provider. STI's can be transmitted by any type of sex including oral, anal or vaginal sex, or genital skin-to-skin contact with another person. STI's don’t usually have any symptoms so it is important to come in for regular testing. We offer services in testing and treating: Chlamydia, Genital warts, Gonorrhea, HPV vaccine, Herpes, Syphilis, Trichomoniasis.

We also offer safer sex education including prevention methods such as condoms which are readily available on-site at the SHC at no cost.

For more information: Visit Sexually Transmitted Diseases - Information from CDC and UCI's Center for Student Wellness and Health Promotion.

Testing for STI's and all other preventative care services are covered 100% by UC SHIP. There are no office visit copays or coinsurance for diagnostic testing for which the student is financially responsible. Please reach out and make an appointment at the Student Health Center for testing by calling 949-824-5304.

Contraception

The Student Health Center provides several options for contraceptive management. Since there are many factors to consider when making this important decision, your SHC provider is available to assist you in determining the safest and most appropriate method based upon your individual needs and preferences.

Many methods of contraception are available at the SHC. If you would like to further discuss these options or receive general information, please schedule a consultation appointment at 949-824-5304.

If you are ready for a prescription or to start the process to obtain an IUD, Depo-Provera shot or arm implant, you may follow the directions below to access birth control online.

Directions to Access the Online Birth Control Questionnaire

  1. Access the Student Health Patient Portal directly here or go to the SHC homepage and click "Student Health Patient Portal".
  2. Enter your UCINetID and password
  3. On the next screen go to the left side column and click "Messages".
  4. Click "New Message" and select "I would like to send a secure message to the Student Health Center"
  5. Choose "Birth Control Online Request". Follow the instructions in filling out the online questionnaire. You will receive a response within 1 to 2 business days.

Insurance Coverage and Costs for Online Birth Control: Please visit here

For more information:

Emergency contraception is available for use if a condom breaks, slips or is not used. EC is not as effective as using a method of contraception preventively but helpful and safe to use after unprotected intercourse if pregnancy is not desired.

EC must be taken within 3 days of exposure and the sooner the better. Plan B or Next Choice can be purchased without a prescription by anyone. ella is a type of emergency contraception that may be taken up to 5 days from unprotected intercourse and is available by prescription only. ella (Ulipristal) is covered by UC SHIP and can be requested from your SHC or community provider. ella may be better tolerated by some patients and it is available at the UCI SHC Pharmacy with a prescription. 

See also:

Which EC Is Right for Me? 2021-03-EmergencyContraception-english.pdf

EC Pill 2021-03-english factsheet_emergcontra

Pregnancy Options

Think you might be pregnant? Here are some of your options. Our clinicians at UCI Student Health Center can assist you with navigating these options.

The UCI Student Health Center can arrange an appointment for a nurse visit for pregnancy testing. This is a covered benefit of UC SHIP. Call SHC's appointment scheduling line at 949-824-5304.

Tips on Pregnancy Testing:

Are you trying to test too soon? For most women, the pregnancy test will not become positive until approximately 2 weeks from the time of suspected conception.

Pregnancy is a time where particular attention and care is recommended, and certain medical conditions require additional management and treatment during pregnancy. Due to the specialized nature of pregnancy-related care, all patients are referred to medical providers outside the SHC for ongoing care and treatment.

Your SHC clinician can request a referral on your behalf or you may contact the SHC Insurance Services department directly to request a referral at 949-824-2388 or by email at shc-insurance@uci.edu

The period after becoming pregnant can be an unexpected, confusing, stressful, and emotional time.  Many people are initially undecided about what to do next after becoming pregnant.  Being aware of your options is an important first step as you move forward with making a decision. 

If you would like to speak with a clinician regarding your options in a confidential, safe space, please make an appointment with our Gynecologic and Reproductive Health Clinic to discuss your pregnancy options. 

Additional  Resources:

It is possible to end a pregnancy either with a medication abortion or procedural (surgical) abortion. Click on this website to learn more about the differences: early_abortion_options.pdf.

On-Campus Medication Abortion

In partnership with UCI Health and School of Medicine, medication abortion services are now available at the UCI Student Health Center for pregnancies up to 70 days (10 weeks). Please expect 2-3 clinic visits. This benefit is covered by UC SHIP and select non-SHIP plans. Cash pricing is also available if you prefer that we not bill your insurance plan. Please indicate your preference (cash payment versus billing insurance) when you complete the online screening questionnaire prior to your initial visit. For information about keeping your medical and mental health information confidential even if you are a dependent and covered under someone else's insurance plan, visit here.

Medication Abortion Steps:

  1. Please call our appointment line (949-824-5304) to schedule an in-person visit to the SHC. You should complete the online screening questionnaire prior to your visit. Access the questionnaire online at the Student Health Patient Portal.
  2. At the visit, we will take your medical history, complete lab work and perform an ultrasound. Prepare for this visit to take 1-2 hours.
  3. If eligible for a same-day medication abortion, you will be given the first of two pills (Mifepristone) at SHC.
  4. The second medication, called misoprostol, will be sent home with you to take 24-48 hours after the mifepristone dose.
  5. The second appointment will be scheduled 1-2 weeks after the mifepristone for a follow-up visit.

You will be guided through this process by our staff and clinicians with detailed instructions and what to expect both for your appointments at the SHC and later, when you are at home. Although complications from a medication abortion are rare, if you have any concerns or are experiencing severe pain or bleeding, please call the Student Health Center at 949-824-5301 during regular business hours; or SHC's after-hours Nurse Advice line at 949-824-3870; or seek immediate medical assistance by proceeding to the nearest hospital emergency department or urgent care center or by calling 911.

Emergency Services and After-Hours Care 

Off-Campus Family Planning Services

The UCI Health Women’s Options Center (WOC) provides off-campus medication abortion services and procedural abortions for patients in their first and second trimester. To make an appointment, please call 714-456-7188. There are several other locations in Orange County that provide off-campus family planning services, including Planned Parenthood and Family Planning Associates. Remember to contact SHC's Insurance Services department prior to accessing off-campus care to request a referral: 949-824-2388 or by email at shc-insurance@uci.edu

Additional Resources

 

If your possible pregnancy is the result of non-consensual sex, there are many resources available to you with whom you can speak confidentially. Please visit the Campus Assault Resources & Education (CARE) website for a list of resources for help with any of the following:

  • Emotional support
  • Medical care options
  • Legal resources
  • Safe housing
  • Academic adjustments

For urgent confidential support 24/7, call CARE at 949-824-7273 or the UCI Counseling Center at 949-824-6457 (select Option # 2. You will be transferred to a crisis support line.)