what to tell the gyno?
October 6, 2006 3:56 PM   Subscribe

i'm do for my yearly womanly checkup, but there is just one catch...

when i was in southeast asia earlier this year i bought a year's supply of birth control for $28, about the same price of one month of BC here. the only catch: they didn't have my brand, so i switched brands. nothing sketchy - manufactured in the netherlands, and the exact same brand is also sold here in the US under a different name.

however, i'm due to go to the gyno soon, and nervous about telling them i bought birth control abroad, since (a) it may be illegal? and (b) i didn't consult anyone about the change, and don't know if i should have, as i was on my last brand for years.

so... should i not mention it and hope it doesn't come up, lie and say i've been on the same one still, or just tell the truth?
posted by illegiblemess to Health & Fitness (26 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Tell the truth.

What can your gyno do to you that would be bad? How could it be illegal (and why would your gyno rat you out even if it was)? Sorry if I'm missing something, has the American law system turn into a bigger mess that I had thought?

The more more information and the more accurate information your healthcare provider has, the better they are able to help you.
posted by porpoise at 4:01 PM on October 6, 2006

don't lie to your doctor
posted by dcjd at 4:01 PM on October 6, 2006

As a general rule, never lie to your doctor. I don't think it's illegal -- IANAL, but I really can't see how -- but do you think your doctor is going to fink you out? To whom? See Doctor-Patient Confidentiality.
posted by mcwetboy at 4:03 PM on October 6, 2006

Tell the gyno. You purchased BC legally while you were travelling--it's not hashish. As far as which brand you were on, I've never yet found a doctor who cared--in fact, they've always asked me if there was some specific brand that *I* wanted to be on, because it didn't really matter to them. And if I've requested a change (which I've had to do several times due to bad responses to various pills), they've always been more than happy to change my prescription.

Tell the gyno.
posted by fuzzbean at 4:03 PM on October 6, 2006

Always tell the truth to your doctor.
Always tell the truth to your doctor.
Always tell the truth to your doctor.

You sound more worried about this than you should be. Do you think they will turn you in to the cops? They won't. Worst case scenario, they will give you a little lecture, during which you can sit quietly and say "yes, I will be more careful in future". But you might find out that it actually matters, that you should not be taking the new kind because they cause heart attacks or something. Tell your doctor.
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:04 PM on October 6, 2006 [1 favorite]

I would absolutely tell the truth. Explain the circumstances. She will most likely say it's fine to stay on that particular brand. What you did was legal, and most likely harmless, don't feel strange about telling the truth.
posted by LoriFLA at 4:11 PM on October 6, 2006

Don't lie to the doctor.

1.) Doctor-patient confidentiality.
2.) They've almost certainly seen worse.
3.) They generally have your best interests in mind (well ... usually. Certainly in a case like this, I don't see why they wouldn't.)
posted by spaceman_spiff at 4:12 PM on October 6, 2006

Seventhing telling your doctor the truth.

And I'm not even a woman. Don't you watch House?

Legality's barely a footnote to medical concerns. There's nothing more to say. Don't hold back and you'll be glad.
posted by SlyBevel at 4:15 PM on October 6, 2006

i guess i was scared that they would.... yell at me? it sounds like i should just be honest. thanks, all.
posted by illegiblemess at 4:15 PM on October 6, 2006

Many years ago, when I was in Brazil, I bought something like a three year supply of pills for this very same reason. Basically I bought pills to last through the expiration date on the packaging. My US gyno didn't care, once she was certain the pills were legit, and that I still came in annually for my pap.

No big deal, in my experience.
posted by ambrosia at 4:19 PM on October 6, 2006

I've met people who talk to their doctors about heroin injection marks and worse. This is exactly what patient/doctor confidentiality is made for.
posted by Gucky at 4:24 PM on October 6, 2006

If your doctor yells at you about this, you should find another one. I'm betting she/he won't.
posted by redheadeb at 4:32 PM on October 6, 2006

I would bet you cash money that the fact that you're taking precautions against unwanted pregnancy makes you a gazillion times more responsible than a not-small proportion of your doctor's other patients.

Tell her, and don't frame it as though you did something wrong, because you didn't.
posted by jesourie at 4:46 PM on October 6, 2006

I think your doctor would be more concerned if you had started BC in another country without the proper precautions (warnings about the side effects of BC, gynecological exam, pregnancy test). Since you were just switching brands and presumably continuing the pills in a normal fashion when your previous prescription ran out, I would think the only concern would be if there were something really different in the pills you bought over there: a different hormone, different amount of hormone, lethal amounts of arsenic, etc.

Honesty is always good. :)
posted by srah at 5:04 PM on October 6, 2006

Just tell them... they won't care!
posted by k8t at 5:32 PM on October 6, 2006

you know, it might be nice to establish a comfortable rapport and feeling of trust with the person who's finna scrape your cervix.

tell them, and tell them your feelings of catching a bargain are mitigated with an anxiety about possibly having compromised your heath or ethics. they'll reassure you about it better than we can.

then you'll be relaxed ans less likely to have a bad annual. (sometimes they can bring out some pretty crazy emotional reactions for me.)
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 5:58 PM on October 6, 2006

I bought some in Spain. Guess what? You can't mail medicines to foreign countries (as far as USPS was concerned), so I bet that there are countless women who do the same thing every year.

My doctor couldn't have cared less.
posted by anjamu at 6:00 PM on October 6, 2006

Totally not illegal, and your doctor wouldn't care. And, everything you say to your doctor is protected from disclosure to law enforcement anyway.
posted by kingjoeshmoe at 7:08 PM on October 6, 2006

If your doctor yells at you or berates you for your choice, then switch doctors. Your choice is entirely acceptable.
posted by plinth at 8:23 PM on October 6, 2006

This is a complete non-issue. Your doctor won't flinch or even care once she/he realizes it's not magic herbs.
posted by docpops at 9:51 PM on October 6, 2006

HIPAA protects anything you discuss with your doctor.
posted by mynameismandab at 10:01 PM on October 6, 2006

I think the fact that you are worried your doctor might yell at you indicates that you need to find a new doctor.
posted by cornflake at 10:35 PM on October 6, 2006

First of all, docs aren't cops. We care about taking care of you, not about if you broke some law. I've never reported anything a patient told me to a cop in 11 years of medical work. (It'd be different, maybe, if you'd killed someone to get those pills. Did you?)

My patients often travel out of the country and use medicines wherever they go. Sometimes they even use medicines that aren't what I would have prescribed to them. Good heavens, mercy me. What ever is a doctor to do? Usually what I do is write down on the medical record what the patient was taking, so I don't forget it.

What makes trouble is if a person doesn't tell me what they're taking, and then I prescribe something that interacts badly with it. That's a situation where no one wins.
posted by ikkyu2 at 3:55 AM on October 7, 2006

Why do you have to tell the doctor where you bought your birth control pills?

Just look at the label, to remind yourself of the dose you're on (if you don't already know), and tell the doctor the dose when she asks what meds you're already taking.
posted by caitlinb at 11:24 PM on October 7, 2006

But there is no rational reason to conceal where the pills came from. The doctor wants to look out for your well-being. If the origin of the pills doesn't matter to your well-being, the doctor won't care. But on the off chance that it does, the doctor will be able to help. There is no reason not to be fully truthful about this.
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:05 PM on October 8, 2006

Now that the question is answered, can I just say I'm glad ikkyu2 is answering questions again? Because I am. Glad, that is.
posted by deborah at 2:48 PM on October 9, 2006

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