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November 2022 Advice to Be Well From Dr. Mark Bornstein and Dr. Paul Benson

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Thank you for medical advice column.  I look forward to reading it each month.  Dr. Benson, you have been part of our community and providing great care for many years.  I don’t know who Dr. Bornstein is who shares this column with you.  Are you leaving practice?  Is he taking your place? – Tom J

Dear Tom,

Thank you for the question.  We consider ourselves very fortunate to have Dr. Mark Bornstein join our Be Well Medical Center. He is not a stranger to us as he rotated through our office as a student some years ago. He liked us and we liked him and the rest is history. He is a Family Medicine and HIV Specialist. Additionally, he focuses on reproductive medicine and justice.  He also focuses on women's health including transgender. He fills a void at Be Well by offering contraception including IUD insertions and removals as well as Nexplanon. He received his medical training at the prestigious New York Mount Sinai Hospital and did his undergraduate studies at University of Michigan.

I have been in practice since 1980.  I am quite proud of my accomplishments in establishing the Be Well Medical Center.  I’ve gone from being the only provider to now having six.  It is getting close to the time that I want and need to work less.  The Be Well Medical Center is my baby, and will always be a part of me.  With that said, I am planning a transition in the next couple of years.

I am a transgender man and have been on testosterone for 2 years. I do use my bottom parts for sex, but recently a friend told me I can still get pregnant. Is this true? I thought testosterone can be used as birth control.  Max

Dear Max

This is a very common misconception and one that needs to be addressed very clearly. Testosterone is not birth control and therefore, testosterone does not eliminate pregnancy risk.

Sex is a very important and healthy part of any relationship and you deserve to be as informed as possible while engaging in intimate contact. There have been many trans-masculine individuals who have become pregnant while having vaginal receptive sex. Many of these folks had been taking testosterone and were under the impression that they could not get pregnant.

Upon work at Be Well, one of my main goals is to help diversify the practice in doing more reproductive health and advocating for reproductive justice. I am trained in providing ALL forms of contraception including long-acting reversible contraceptives (LARCs).  Intrauterine devices (IUDs) and Nexplanon’s are examples of LARCs that can be inserted or removed at our office in just a quick office visit. For those that do not know, an IUD is a device that is inserted into the uterus to prevent pregnancy. It is a 5-minute procedure and it will work anywhere from 3 to 12 years, depending on the type of IUD. The Nexplanon is another great option for folks. This is a 4cm rod that is inserted into one’s inner arm that releases a very small amount of hormones throughout the body that works for 5 years.

Last, many trans-masculine folks still get their period while on testosterone. This can be dysphoric for many and I want you to know that contraception can also be used to stop someone from having periods.

If you feel like you may be at risk of an undesired pregnancy or are having unwanted periods, come on in for a contraception consultation! I am extremely passionate about sexual health and feel like it is a need that is lacking in our community.  Everyone has different goals and lifestyles for sex and contraception so it is important to know all of your options. Remember, the best contraception is the one that is best for YOU!

Since 1980 Dr. Paul Benson’s Be Well Medical Center has been an inclusive medical center celebrating diversity. Do you have a health related question for Dr. Paul Benson and Dr. Mark Bornstein? Submit your questions to [email protected]. This article is a sponsored editorial produced in collaboration with Be Well Medical Center. Between The Lines’s journalism is made possible with the support and partnership of advertisers like Be Well. Learn more about Be Well here.

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