Do you have PCOS? Clinical Trial looking for participants.

Dr. Sarah Altman is participating in a clinical trial to evaluate the efficacy of a novel neurokinin-3 receptor antagonist compared to a placebo in improving menstrual regularity, hirsutism, and other symptoms in women between 18-45 years of age with oligo-amenorrhea due to PCOS.

Please contact Dr. Sarah Altman if you are interested:

Aventiv Research 614-501-6164

99 N Brice Rd Suite 260  Columbus, OH 43213

Should I have my cholesterol tested?

There are several risk factors for heart disease and stroke.  These include obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking history, high blood cholesterol levels, and family history of heart disease and stroke.  High cholesterol can build up in your blood vessels causing narrowing and reduced blood flow.  This can lead to heart disease and stroke.

The U.S. Preventive Task Force recommends that men get a blood cholesterol test at age 35 years and women at age 45 years.  This should be done every five years.  The cholesterol test may be performed at an earlier age or more frequently if you have any of the cardiovascular risk factors mentioned above.  The accuracy of cholesterol tests done at public screenings such as health fairs varies.  It is probably better to discuss this with your provider who can order more reliable testing.

Dr. Matthew Peters

The truth about antibiotics and birth control!

Q: I heard that antibiotics interfere with birth control pills, but I’m on the birth control that gets implanted under my skin – will antibiotics interfere with that too?

A: I’m so glad you asked this question!  This is one of the biggest medical myths of all time; one that gets propagated in doctors’ offices, health clinics, hospitals, blogs, magazines – and OK fine, student health centers – every day.  So now, for the first time ever… in print… online… on this blog… the TRUTH!

The only antibiotic that has ever been shown to interfere with birth control levels and effectiveness is a medicine called rifampin which is used to treat tuberculosis.  Rifampin may also interfere with the birth control patch and vaginal ring so if you are taking it, be sure to use a back-up, non-hormonal (i.e. condom) form of birth control.

There are some other medications that can interfere with your birth control, however, and if you are taking any of them you should always use back-up contraception.

  • Griseofulvin
  • Phenytoin (Dilantin)
  • Carbamazepine (Tegretol)
  • Phenobarbital
  • Topirimate (Topamax)
  • St. John’s Wort (herbal supplement)

But in general, your birth control will not be affected by any run-of-the-mill antibiotic that you might be taking for things like sinus infections, strep throat, urinary tract infections, skin infections, acne, etc.  Some people believe that because antibiotics disrupt the normal bacteria in the gastrointestinal tract, they will interfere with the absorption of the birth control pills from your stomach.  But this is not an issue, and even if it were, it wouldn’t apply to birth control methods that don’t involve swallowing pills like the skin patch or the vaginal ring or Implanon.

Now, there are enough women out there who swear that they have little antibiotic babies running around the house that your health care provider will probably still tell you to use back-up just in case.  And birth control doesn’t do anything to protect you against sexually transmitted infections, so using a condom is a good idea no matter what medications you’re taking.  But you can rest assured that your birth control is just as effective when you’re taking antibiotics as when you’re not.

More questions about your medicines?  Make an appointment to discuss them with a healthcare provider, or stop by and visit the SHS Pharmacy.  Our friendly Pharmacy staff will be happy to answer your questions.

John A. Vaughn, MD (OSU Student Health)

Is prolonged bleeding normal after starting birth control?

Q: Is it natural to have prolonged periods after just starting birth control? I started taking the pill when I started my period and it still persists.

A: Irregular bleeding is the most common side effect of birth control pills.  It is especially common during the first three months as your body adjusts to the hormones in the medication.  However, other things (like sexually transmitted infections) can cause prolonged bleeding too.  If the bleeding is especially heavy (more than a normal period), persists throughout the whole month or occurs only with intercourse – especially if you’ve stopped using condoms – you should see your women’s health care provider to make sure nothing more serious is going on.

The most common cause of irregular bleeding is missed pills, so make sure you are taking the pill every day, and at the same time every day.

Birth control pills can cause a lot of other side effects, especially bloating, nausea and breast tenderness.  Most side effects resolve after a few months, but the clinicians in our Women’s Services Department usually recommend that you check in with your health care provider after your first 3 months on the pill to make sure everything is going OK.  If you have any questions or concerns about birth control, they’re happy to answer them for you.

John A. Vaughn, MD
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University

How soon are you safe after starting birth control pills

Q: I was previously on birth control for almost 2 years and in the middle of April I stopped taking birth control pills. At the begining of June I started back on birth control again. Is it safe to have protected sex now with just the pill and without using another form of birth control, or do I have to wait an entire month after starting on birth control?

A: You will be protected from getting pregnant after 7 days of consistent use of birth control pills.  Consistent use means that you’re taking the pill every day at the same time (plus or minus 2 hours).  So basically, one week of birth control pills is enough to put the ovaries to sleep and keep you from getting pregnant.

However, having the phrases “protected sex” and “without using another form of birth control” in the same sentence makes us a little nervous.  We can not stress enough that birth control pills (or patches or shots or IUD’s) only protect you from getting pregnant.  They do NOT protect you from contracting sexually transmitted infections such as HIV, syphillis, gonorrhea, chlamydia, HPV, etc.  So please, please, please make sure that you are using other forms of barrier protection (condoms, dental dams) to protect yourself from contracting an STI.

Any Ohio State student (even thsoe without Student Health Insurance) can be seen at Student Health Women’s Services.  We now have 3 full-time health care providers (1 doctor and 2 nurse practitioners) who are available to consult with you for any concerns related to your reproductive health.  We encourage you to see us during your time at Ohio State wo we can help you maximize your health!

Li-Chun Liu, CNP – Ohio State Student Health Services

#TBT Bigger Bust Belief Burst

SpencerTurner---BiggerBustBeliefBurstDr. Turner received a question on bust developing courses in 1975. The question asked if they are safe and do they cause any side effects in the future. While I personally have not received such questions, a quick search on Google shows that this is still a very popular topic.

It is possible, with exercise, to increase your bust measurement, but as Dr. Turner indicated this measurement does not actually measure the size of your breasts, but rather the circumference of the chest.  The breasts themselves do not contain any supportive muscle tissue. Therefore it is not possible, through exercise to increase your cup size.  What exercise can do, however, is develop the muscles behind your breasts to make them more attractive.

The original article can be read in the Lantern Archives.

Is Your Bra a “No Phone Zone”?

Are you one of the 40% of college females who has taken to the practice of storing their cell phone in their bra?  What about one of the 3% who report doing it more than 10 hours a day?  You’re in luck, two enterprising college students have invented the JoeyBra.  This bra features a side pocket big enough to hold your phone.

But – is this really a good idea?  What about the whole cell phone next to the skin causes cancer thing?

To date there is no scientific evidence proving or disproving a correlation between cell phones and cancer.  The technology is just too new for there to have been sufficient long term studies.  It could actually take as long as 20 to 30 years to accumulate and study the clinical cases where the cell phone is suspect.

Some doctors, however, say that they are seeing evidence of breast cancer that could be connected to the storage of cell phones in the bra.  Both Donna Jaynes, 38, and Tiffany Frantz, 21, were diagnosed with breast cancer. Neither had genetic or family risk factors, but both were in the habit of storing their cell phone in their bra.   The locations of their tumors were relative to where they stored their phone.

Should you declare your bra a “No Phone Zone”?  That’s up to you, but keep in mind that phone manufacturers do provide a recommendation for safe storage in their documentation.  For the IPhone that safe distance is at least 5/8 of an inch away from the body.

Submitted by Tina Comston, M.Ed.

Reviewed by Mary Lynn Kiacz, M.D.

Can a Toilet Give You Gonorrhea?

an aquarium you don't want to visit!

Clinical Correlations is a blog managed by the NYU Department of Internal Medicine.  I was perusing it this week and came across a great post about whether or not you can catch gonorrhea from sitting on a toilet seat.  The blog is written by medical students and physicians for medical students and physicians, so it’s a little heavy on the scientific details, but it’s actually pretty readable and since this is a topic that is always of interest around campus, it’s definitely worth a read. 

Check it out… and always remember to put the lid down when you’re done!   

John A. Vaughn, MD
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University

Enough with the manscaping, already!

Dr. Emily Gibson, Director of Student Health Services at Western Washington University, wrote a great story about the risks of frequent pubic hair removal in their student paper.  I agree with my esteemed colleague that the obsession with pubic hair removal on campuses nationwide has gotten out of hand – I encourage you to check out the article, and put the razor/wax/light saber away for a while.

John A. Vaughn, MD
Student Health Services
The Ohio State University

Have you been asked the Five P’s??? – April is STD Awareness Month

GYT - Make your appointment!

Use protection

Let’s say you are going to Student Health or your private caregiver.  In most cases, they are going to ask you a few questions about your sexual health and sexual practices. These questions are very personal, but they are as important as the questions about other areas of physical and mental health. Your answers are kept in strict confidence. 

So, are you ready to talk about your five P’s?  The five “P”s stand for Partners, Practices, Protection from STDs, Past history of STDs, and Prevention of pregnancy.


  • Are you currently sexually active? (Are you having sex?)
  • In the past 12 months, how many sex partners have you had?
  • Are your sex partners men, women, or both?


  • What kind of sexual contact do you have or have you had?
  • Genital (penis in the vagina), Anal (penis in the anus), Oral (mouth on penis, vagina, or anus)?

Protection from STDs

  • Do you and your partner(s) use any protection against STDs? If not, why?  If so, what kind”
  • How often do you use this protection? If “sometimes,” in what situations or with whom do you use protection?
  • Are there other forms of protection that you would like to discuss today?

Past history of STD’s

  • Have you ever been diagnosed with an STD?
  • Have you had any recurring symptoms or diagnoses?
  • Have you ever been tested for HIV, or other STDs? Would you like to be tested?
  • Has your current partner or any former partners ever been diagnosed or treated for an STD?

Prevention of pregnancy (Based on partners noted earlier, conception and contraception questions may be appropriate)

  • Are you currently trying to conceive or father a child?
  • Are you concerned about getting pregnant or getting your partner pregnant?
  • Are you using contraception or practicing any form of birth control?
  • Do you need any information on birth control?

Finally, before you move on to discuss other things with your caregiver, consider:

  • Are there other things about your sexual health and sexual practices that you should discuss to help ensure your good health?
  • Any other concerns or questions regarding sexual health in general?

Student Health Services can offer you expert advice, all the current diagnostic and treatment options, and vaccinations that can protect you long term.  Come see us, and GET YOURSELF TESTED

Roger Miller, MD (OSU Student Health)