Story No. 288: Dr. Yolanda from Washington

Maria was 15 years old. I met her after she had her first menstrual period. She bled so heavily that she had to be admitted to the hospital and receive a blood transfusion. The best treatment for Maria’s condition (menorrhagia) was birth control pills. They regulate the menstrual cycle and prevent dangerous bleeding for patients like Maria. In fact, one-third of U.S. teens use contraception for reasons other than avoiding pregnancy.

Maria and her family are practicing Catholics. I discussed birth control pills with her parents. If she did not start the medication, then every time she had her period she would be at risk of bleeding so much that she would need another transfusion—possibly every month. After carefully weighing the decision, her parents decided that birth control pills would be the best way to keep Maria healthy and out of the hospital.

Birth control pills are not just for contraception—they help manage conditions like Maria’s as well as lower the risk for certain cancers. All families need affordable medications that safeguard their health, including birth control.