Dr. Betty Acker, an OB-GYN with Nurx, has practiced medicine for more than 30 years in a variety of settings and locations. She completed her OB-GYN training in the Navy, and has lived and worked on the East Coast, Puerto Rico, the Southwest and the Pacific Northwest. She currently practices in Eugene, OR, where she divides her time between in-person care at Planned Parenthood and caring for Nurx patients via our telehealth platform. She educates patients by writing for Nurx on topics such as generic birth control, PCOS and HPV vaccines and on her personal blog.
What do you wish every patient knew about taking care of themselves?
I wish more people were clear on what is normal and true and correct and what is just plain misinformation. That is why I started my blog and write for Nurx as well. I want to share truth and make it understandable for everyone.
What do you wish more people knew about telehealth?
How accessible really good, top-notch care can be with telehealth! As a doctor I love the way Nurx allows me to care for patients one-on-one, in whatever setting is comfortable for them. It is an improved method for delivering many types of healthcare. Every Nurx patient in some ways has access to all of our providers because we all collaborate and consult each other on the best ways to care for our patients.
What health advice would you give your younger self if you could?
Use sunscreen and moisturizer!
What is the most common health misconception you hear?
Where do I start? The biggest one is that if you use birth control you won’t be able to get pregnant when you want to. Also, that if you have HPV it means you will get cervical cancer and die. Far from it — all it means is that you’ll get extra monitoring to ensure you never get cervical cancer.
What are some other birth control or sexual health truths that you wish more patients or the public knew?
1. Not everything is a yeast infection.
2. Emergency contraception does not cause an abortion.
3. Tampons do not cause you to “lose your virginity.”
4. Women do not need wipes and sprays and products like that to be “clean” down below.
5. You cannot reverse a medical abortion with hormones (this myth is unfortunately promoted by lawmakers in certain states).
6. You cannot take an ectopic pregnancy and put it into the uterus.
7. Making abortion illegal will not stop abortions.
I am going to stop now….
What’s something that patients are often embarrassed about, but shouldn’t be?
Their weight. They should concentrate on their fitness and strength, no matter what the number on the scale is.
What do you think patients worry too much about?
What do you think patients worry too little about?
Their responsibility for their own general health — many seem to think someone else is going to always take care of them. No, you need to take care of yourself.
What is something important that people can do to take care of their sexual health?
Get the Gardasil HPV vaccine, even if you’ve been having sex for years. Get STI testing and make your potential partners get tested prior to intimacy. Start contraception before intercourse.
What are the types of things patients tell you through Nurx that they are too scared or shy to tell an in-person provider?
I always had a very open relationship with my patients so I think they felt comfortable asking me their questions and sharing their concerns, but Nurx makes it so easy to just say whatever is on your mind. And you get to keep your clothes on.
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