Montana State University

Women's Health Clinic

College Office


Annual Exams
Breast Health
Contraception / Birth Control
Eating Disorders
Emergency Contraception (“morning after pill”)
Female Anatomy
Menopause
Menstruation
Mental / Emotional Health
Nutrition
Osteoporosis
Pap Smear
Pelvic Pain
PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)
Pregnancy Testing and Counseling

Annual Exams

Annual women's health exams are offered at MSU Student Health Service. All sexually active women and all women age 21 years and older are encouraged to have an annual exam visit. At the annual exam appointment, the provider takes a detailed health history and makes an assessment of current health, risk for sexually transmitted infections (STI) and birth control needs.

The annual women's physical exam includes a general physical including an examination of the breasts and, if deemed necessary for your individual needs, a pelvic exam. The decision to do a pelvic exam, STI and pap testing is based on individual risk factors, current symptoms and current pap screening guidelines.

Women can also have screening blood and urine tests ordered as appropriate for her individual concerns. Older women are offered mammograms, bone density testing and colon cancer screening based on her age, risks and current screening guidelines.

For more information about women's health exams, go to:

www.4collegewomen.org/fact-sheets/firstgyno.html

Students can make an appointment for an annual exam by calling MSU Student Health Service at 994-2311 or by visiting Patient Portal.

Breast Health

Many women have questions about their breast health.  There is a wide range of normal breast sizes and shapes, as well as variations from month to month in healthy women.  It is important that all women are familiar with their breasts and are encouraged to perform self breast exams on a regular basis.  The breast exam is part of the woman’s annual exam.  If you have concerns about your breast health, such as lumps, nipple changes, breast pain or other problems, please schedule an appointment with a Student health provider to address these concerns.


Contraception / Birth Control

MSU Student Health offers counseling for and sale of all non-permanent contraceptive options.  We can refer students desiring permanent contraception (sterilization) to local providers who do offer that service.  The range of contraceptive options can be confusing and the decision is an important one.  We are happy to meet with you to discuss any and all of your birth control or contraception questions in order that you can make the best informed decision about your contraceptive needs.  The following chart provides an overview of current contraceptive options available as well their relative effectiveness.  Remember that only abstinence can claim 100% effectiveness, but used correctly, the following contraceptive options can provide safe and effective birth control for the sexually active couple.  Remember that condoms used properly are the only contraceptive method shown to reduce the spread of STI’s.


Here is a list of options for contraceptive methods:


  • Hormonal methods (pills, patches, rings, implants and shots)
  • Condoms and other barrier methods
  • Diaphragm
  • Cervical Cap
  • Spermicidal
  • IUD (intrauterine device) or IUS (intrauterine system)
  • Withdrawal
  • Fertility Awareness (natural family planning)
  • Sterilization (vasectomy and tubal ligation)
  • Abstinence

For more information about Contraception please go the following links:


www.smartersex.org
www.plannedparenthood.org
www.4collegewomen.org

Eating Disorders

Eating disorders affect many women in the US.  Often these disorders present themselves in the college age woman and pose a significant risk to her health.  If you or someone you know has an eating disorder, MSU Student Health provides competent and sensitive care for these individuals.  Please contact the SHS for an appointment to discuss your concerns and seek the help you need.  You can access care through our medical appointments, Nutrition Services or the Counseling and Psychological Services.


For more information about Eating Disorders click on the following link:

www.nationaleatingdisorders.org

Emergency Contraception or “Morning After Pill”

Emergency contraception is a safe and effective option to prevent an un-planned pregnancy.  This method, sometimes referred to as “the morning after pill”, consists of taking a progesterone hormone birth control pill called Plan B.  Plan B must be taken within 72 hours, or 3 days, after un-protected sexual intercourse.  Plan B is available without a prescription from the Student Health pharmacy and at most private pharmacies. Plan B is not recommended as a regular method of birth control. After using Plan B consider making an appointment to discuss your birth control needs to determine if a more reliable method will be appropriate for you in order to prevent future unprotected intercourse. Students can make an appointment by calling the MSU Student Health Service at 994-2311 or by visiting Patient Portal.

Plan B is not 100% effective, but if taken as directed within 72 hours of unprotected sex, can reduce the risk of pregnancy by up to 80%.  If you take Plan B and do not have a menstrual period within 4 weeks of taking it, please go to the Student Health service for a pregnancy test.  Note: Plan B is a contraceptive only.  It will not harm an already established pregnancy.

Female Anatomy

An understanding of normal female anatomy can help one better understand her health.  Humans come in all shapes and sizes, with characteristics that make each one of us an individual.  With this is mind, it is helpful to understand the reproductive anatomy of your body to better help you know what is going on with you health and to provide you with the knowledge so that you can better communicate your concerns with your Student Health Service Providers.  If you have any questions or concerns about your body, please make an appointment with one of our women’s health care providers to discuss your concerns.


The following diagrams provide basic anatomical drawings of the female reproductive organs:

Cross-Sectional View:

Illustration provided by: Rolin Graphics

 

Front View

Illustration provided by: DeEtte M. DeVille, M.D.

Menopause

The time in a woman’s life after her last menstrual period is called the menopause.  For most women this occurs around age 50.  Some women experience menopause sooner and others later than age 50.  Some women experience symptoms during the 5 to 10 years prior to menopause (the peri-menopause) that can cause them to seek the advice of their health care provider.  Some of these symptoms might include night sweats, hot flashes, trouble sleeping, irregular or changing menstrual patterns, mood changes, vaginal dryness, and breast changes. There are some things you can do to remain as healthy as possible during and after menopause.  Eating a healthy diet that includes 1200 to 1500 mg of calcium per day, avoiding all tobacco, minimizing alcohol use, getting regular exercise and sleeping 8 hours per day can do much to promote optimal health in the menopausal woman.  Annual women’s health exams, breast exams and mammograms screen for early disease and allow an opportunity to discuss a woman’s individual health concerns.  If you have any concerns or questions about menopause or the peri-menopause, your Student Health women’s health care provider is available to help you.  Please call for an appointment to discuss your concerns.


The following links provide more information about specific menopausal topics:

Menstruation

Many women have questions regarding their menstrual cycle.  The women’s health care providers at MSU Student Health are available to answer and address your concerns.


Knowing what a normal menstrual cycle is can be very helpful.  A typical healthy young woman will have a menstrual period about every 28 to 32 days.  The length of the cycle is counted from the first day of bleeding until the next month’s bleeding begins.  The number of days a woman bleeds can range from 1 to 8 days. Some women experience menstrual cramps with their periods.  These cramps can range from mild to severe (dysmenorrhea). Severe menstrual cramps can be very difficult to deal with and pose a significant health concern for women who suffer from them.  Some women also experience significant mood disorders such as depression and anxiety associated with their menstrual cycle or the 2 weeks prior to bleeding.  This condition is sometimes referred to as “Premenstrual Syndrome” or PMS (Link).  Other menstrual problems can include heavy bleeding, irregular periods, bleeding in between periods and late periods.  In young women the most common reason for a late or irregular period is pregnancy.  It is important that you talk to a health care person if you are experiencing any problems with your menstrual cycle or period.  Your MSU Student Health care provider can help you with your menstrual concerns, please contact us for an appointment.


For more information about menstruation you can access these sites:


Family Doctor (menstrual cycle flow chart)
Women's Health

Mental / Emotional Health

College can be a stressful experience and a time of growth and change. Depression , anxiety and other mental health problems can occur or worsen during these years.  The student health center can help in several ways.  Counseling and workshops about a variety of emotional and mental health issues are available through Counseling and Psychological services. Contact them at 994-4531. The VOICE Center also provides counseling about relationship issues and issues of sexual assault. Contact them at  994-7069.

Students are also encouraged to make an appointment with a healthcare provider at any time to discuss any issue or questions. We can help students decide if counseling or medication is needed and provide information , ongoing care or referral. Psychiatry consultation is available on a limited basis.  An appointment with a regular physician or nurse practitioner is needed to establish care prior to referral. Contact the Student Health Center appointments at 994-2311.

For more information on mental health issues: www.nimh.nih.gov

Nutrition

For information about nutrition, please visit the MSU Student Health Service Nutrition web page here.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis is the gradual thinning and loss of bone that most commonly occurs with aging and menopause. Other causes can be eating disorders, medications, and problems with glands such as the thyroid. If you have questions or concerns contact the Student Health Center for an appointment.

For more information on Osteoporosis visit Family Doctor, look under bone/joint conditions.

Pap Smear and Human Papilloma Virus Testing

Pap Smear screening tests usually are done at the annual women's health exam. The test looks for changes of the cervix caused by Human Papilloma Virus, HPV infection. The first Pap test is recommended for women at age 21. Pap tests are then generally done every two years until a woman is 30 years old. After age 30, Pap testing is individually recommended based on Pap testing history.

Students can make an appointment for an annual exam and Pap testing by calling MSU Student Health Service at 994-2311 or by visiting Patient Portal.

Human Papilloma Virus and HPV Vaccines

Women and men can pass HPV to their sexual partners by having vaginal, anal or oral sexual activity. HPV can cause genital warts and almost all cervical cancer is caused by HPV infection. HPV can also cause cancers of the vulvar, vagina, mouth, throat, penis, anus and rectum.

The HPV vaccine Gardasil is available at MSU Student Health Service. It provides protection from the two types of HPV that cause over 70% of cervical cancers and the two types that cause 90% of genital warts. The vaccine is recommended for women aged 9-26 years, but can also be given to women over age 29 and to men.

Pelvic Pain

Premenstrual syndrome is a cluster of symptoms that can occur in the week or two before the menstrual period. These symptoms include  bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, irritability, moodiness, food cravings. Sometimes symptoms can be severe and interfere with school or activities. Sometimes lifestyle modification, dietary changes can be helpful. Medications are used for severe cases. If you have concerns or might need treatment, call the Student Health Service for an appointment.

For more information on premenstrual syndrome visit Women's Health

PMS (Premenstrual Syndrome)

Premenstrual syndrome is a cluster of symptoms that can occur in the week or two before the menstrual period. These symptoms include  bloating, breast tenderness, headaches, irritability, moodiness, food cravings. Sometimes symptoms can be severe and interfere with school or activities. Sometimes lifestyle modification, dietary changes can be helpful. Medications are used for severe cases. If you have concerns or might need treatment, call the Student Health Service for an appointment.

For more information on premenstrual syndrome: http://www.womenshealth.gov/faq/premenstrual-syndrome.cfm

Pregnancy Testing and Counseling

Testing for pregnancy can be done by blood or urine testing and is available at the student health service. Call 994-2311 to schedule an appointment.  The Student health Center does not provide ongoing pregnancy care but can conduct an initial exam and labs and refer you to a local provider for your prenatal care. The Student Health Service does provide counseling about options available to students if an unplanned pregnancy occurs.

For more information about planned or unplanned pregnancy and options available: www.familydoctor.org