I loathe trips to the gynecologist. It’s not that I have OBGYN anxiety or anything like that; I’m very fortunate to have found a doctor I feel comfortable with and trust. The hassle comes in the form of a little pack of pills that, first, requires a six-month check-in to ensure everything’s still copacetic between my lady parts and the medication, followed by a trip to the pharmacy to process the prescription and wait until it’s ready. Every woman who has used any form of contraception understands the tedious process of appointments and prescriptions. But, alas, technology has come to the rescue, as Women’s Health reports there now exists a new birth control app that has everyone asking, what is Nurx? It's a new innovation that prescribes precautionary meds without ever having to step foot in a doctor’s office.
In theory, it sounds fantastic, right? The Nurx app is essentially a pixelated beacon of hope that one day, women will no longer have to subject themselves to sitting up straight in an uncomfortably silent waiting room for a maybe 10-minute conversation that you definitely could have had over the phone. Not to mention, it means one less trip to the pharmacy.
On the surface, the concept behind Nurx is extremely progressive and super convenient.
Technology is a glorious thing that we all hate to love and love to hate, but in many instances, it does make our lives a heck of a lot easier.
I know myself, and I've certainly had instances where my birth control prescription was up with no time to squeeze in a doctor's appointment before the next round of pills. I've also had instances where my doctor's office was closed the day I needed to phone in a refill, leading to a day of doubling up to get back on track.
Subscription services like Nurx, however, are designed to eliminate the headache. Here's how it works: Download the free app to your smart phone and fill in all the necessary fields, such as the type of contraception you prefer, a series of questions focusing on your health history, and insurance information. The more information you can provide, the faster you'll receive your order. The best part is that just by signing up, you receive a year's supply of refills shipped directly to your home address.
Nurx also caters to emergency situations by overnighting Plan B when necessary. Dr. Kristyn Brandi, an OB/GYN practicing in Los Angeles and a fellow with Physicians for Reproductive Health, tells Elite Daily,
A major reason why women have unintended pregnancies is because they run out of their birth control method. By being able to use an app delivery service to get their medication, it increases access to birth control.
This allows women to more easily make the best reproductive choices for themselves without the barriers of going through a doctor's visit and pharmacy.
Still, the idea of downloading a birth control app sounds pretty impersonal if you ask me.
It's one thing to say you're super busy with work and/or a tight class schedule, so you need your groceries delivered straight to your doorstep. Sometimes there really is no time for you to get task done IRL. However, opting for the convenience of a regularly scheduled subscription service over something as vital as a woman's relationship with her gynecologist is an entirely different story.
I may not love how much time a trip to the OBGYN sucks out of my day, but I value the fact that my doctor is familiar with my body, knows my health history, and can suggest the best options for my individual case as a result of that foundation.
I’m just saying, maybe a woman’s birth control prescription shouldn’t be on the same level as her monthly makeup box subscription, you know?
It's also important to note that Nurx doesn't carry all forms of birth control, so that could be a huge downside.
Another benefit of scheduling an actual doctor's visit is that he or she can provide you with a wide range of information in order to decide what will work for your unique body. Although birth control pills are still one of, if not the most popular form of contraception, there are alternative, long-term options such as an IUD or injection, that services like Nurx just can't provide.
Health expert Jennifer Wider, M.D told Women's Health that because birth control is not without risks or side effects, "the worry is that this online interaction may not be complete enough to get the proper information on the patient and follow up later.”
It's important for women looking into contraception to be informed of all potential options, and that includes being aware of potential side effects, as well. For example, oral contraception can be anywhere from 91 to 99 percent effective. So although there's a very slight chance you'll get pregnant, the fact is, there's still a chance, and that is the main reason why these forms of medication are not sold over the counter.
Plus, the last thing you want is to use a form of birth control that simply isn't right for your body and your individual needs.
Nurx's FAQ webpage explains that its team of providers is made up of "licensed clinicians in your state, and most are specialized in an area related to Nurx services." The key word here to focus on is "most."
Aside from the fact that having a doctor you know and trust is comforting in and of itself, having the ability to pick up the phone and schedule an emergency appointment with someone who you know is qualified to offer the proper assistance is extremely helpful, too.
Dr. Brandi tells Elite Daily,
For the majority of women, estrogen-containing birth control methods like the pill, patch, and ring are safe to use. [But] it is sometimes helpful for women to sit down with their doctor to talk about the safety of each of their options.
Talking to your provider also allows women to be informed of all of their contraceptive choices including things typically only offered in a medical office like the shot, IUD, and implant. These methods may be a better fit, but patients may not be aware of those options when using these apps. The goal is to find the best fit for each woman and make access as easy as possible.
Bottom line: Technological advancements like Nurx have the capability to completely transform the accessibility of female contraception, but there are still a lot of kinks to work through for now.
Until the IRL experts are 100 percent on board with these smartphone applications, I'd advise you to tread cautiously before committing to only these types of services. It may be worth doing extensive research on the matter, as well as consulting your physician.