Meet The Doctor Making Birth Control More Accessible

As a clinical pediatrician and women’s reproductive health specialist, Dr. Sophia Yen knows that birth control isn’t always easy to access. Which is why she founded Pandia Health, the only doctor-led, women-founded birth control delivery service out there. The organization is designed to equip women with important contraceptive tools while also providing solutions to help manage period symptoms and overall reproductive health — whether or not they have access to insurance. We’ve teamed up with TWIRLA® (levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol) transdermal system, a birth control patch, to learn more about how the powerhouse doctor-meets-entrepreneur finds and keeps her power.

Editor’s Note: TWIRLA® is a weekly birth control patch for women with a BMI less than 30 who can become pregnant. Twirla is less effective in women with a BMI of 25 or more. Do not use Twirla if you have a BMI of 30 or more. Please see Boxed Warning regarding cardiovascular risks associated with smoking and with having a BMI over 30 as well as other Important Safety Information at the end of this article or at Twirla.com.

I feel most powerful when…

Someone thanks me for making it easier for women to get the birth control and women’s healthcare they need. Often, I have the pleasure of helping to de-stigmatize birth control and sharing the non-contraceptive benefits of hormonal birth control — and speaking personally, I know that can be a life-changing experience.

Power to me means…

The ability to effect change: As a doctor, I can help patients one on one. As a clinical associate professor, I can teach future and current doctors best practices in birth control, acne, and more. And as the CEO and co-founder of Pandia Health, I can effect change on a large scale by impacting women’s lives through better birth control access.

What do you do when you feel powerless?

Get angry. Cry. Scream in my head. Then, once I’ve collected myself, I strategize. How do I regain power? Who can I ask for help? Making change can take a village, so I’m all for calling in reinforcements when you need them.

What’s your power anthem?

I have two: “Run the World” by Beyoncé and “Confident” by Demi Lovato.

Who is your power icon?

I have a few. First, Beyoncé. She’s fierce, business savvy, beautiful, and strong. Plus, she’s a mother.

Also, Melinda Gates. Her book, The Moment of Lift: How Empowering Women Changes the World, was incredibly formative for me.

And lastly, Arlan Hamilton. I think she’s a great role model when it comes to setting a goal, achieving it, and helping others do the same. Through her two investment firms, Backstage Capital and Backstage Crowd, she’s doing great work to empower underrepresented entrepreneurs.

What do you wear when you want to feel powerful?

My signature uterus necklace, a blue shirt or dress, comfortable shoes, and my MIT-graduate ring.

Ready to ask a doctor for TWIRLA®? You can use PandiaHealth.com to quickly connect with one now.

Meet The Doctor Making Birth Control More Accessible
© Provided by Refinery29

Check Twirla daily and after water exposure to make sure the edges haven’t lifted.

Important Safety Information about the TWIRLA® (levonorgestrel and ethinyl estradiol) transdermal system, including Boxed Warning

Do not use TWIRLA if you smoke cigarettes and are over 35 years old. Smoking increases your risk of serious cardiovascular side effects from combination hormonal contraceptives (CHCs), including death from heart attack, blood clots or stroke. This risk increases with age and the number of cigarettes you smoke.

Do not use TWIRLA if your Body Mass Index (BMI) is 30 or more. If you do not know what your BMI is, please talk to your healthcare provider. Women with a BMI of 30 or more who use CHCs may have a higher risk for developing side effects like blood clots compared to women with a BMI lower than 30.

Who should not use TWIRLA? Do not use TWIRLA if you have or have had blood clots; history of heart attack or stroke, high blood pressure that medicine cannot control, any condition that makes your blood clot more than normal, or certain heart valve problems; smoke and are over 35 years old; BMI over 30.

TWIRLA is also not for women who have diabetes and are over 35 years old, diabetes with high blood pressure or kidney, eye, nerve, or blood vessel damage, diabetes for longer than 20 years; have had breast cancer or any cancer that is sensitive to female hormones; certain kinds of severe migraine headaches; have liver problems or liver tumors; unexplained bleeding from the vagina; who are or may be pregnant; or who take hepatitis C drugs containing ombitasvir/paritaprevir/ritonavir, with or without dasabuvir, as this may increase levels of liver enzymes in the blood.

TWIRLA may not be a good choice for you if you have ever had depression; jaundice (yellowing of the skin or eyes) caused by pregnancy (also called cholestasis of pregnancy) or related to previous use of hormonal birth control.

What are the most serious side effects of TWIRLA? TWIRLA increases the risks of serious side effects, including blood clots, stroke, or heart attack especially in women who have other risk factors. These can be life-threatening or lead to permanent disability. This increased risk is highest when you first start using hormonal birth control and when you restart the same or different hormonal birth control after not using it for a month or more. Treatment with TWIRLA should be stopped at least 4 weeks before and through 2 weeks after major surgery.

What are the most common side effects of TWIRLA? The most common side effects reported by women using TWIRLA in a study were skin reactions at the patch site, nausea, headache, menstrual cramps, and weight gain.

These are not all the possible side effects of TWIRLA. Call your healthcare provider for medical advice about side effects.

You may report side effects to FDA at 1-800-FDA-1088 or at www.fda.gov/medwatch.

What else should I know about TWIRLA? TWIRLA is a birth control patch for women with a BMI less than 30 who can become pregnant. It contains two female hormones, a progestin called levonorgestrel, and an estrogen called ethinyl estradiol. TWIRLA may not be as effective in women with a BMI of 25 or more. If you have a BMI of 30 or more, please talk with your health care provider about which method of birth control is right for you.

You should not use TWIRLA any earlier than 4 weeks after having a baby or if you are breastfeeding.

Hormonal birth control methods help to lower the chances of becoming pregnant when taken as directed. They do not protect against HIV infection (AIDS) and other sexually transmitted infections (STIs).

The risk information provided here is not complete. To learn more, review the TWIRLA Patient Information and talk with your healthcare provider or pharmacist.

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