Women's Health information
Women’s sexual health is an important part of their overall well-being. Contraception, pregnancy, and the approach of menopause are some common concerns for most women. Practicing safe sex for prevention of sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) allows women to protect their reproductive health as well. Education about their bodies gives women an edge when it comes to caring for their unique health concerns.
Women’s sexual health starts with good health of the entire body. Medical conditions and hormonal imbalances can have an effect on sexual function as well as menstruation. Some medications can have side effects that reduce libido. Overweight women may have irregular periods and trouble conceiving, so maintaining a healthy weight is important for achieving a successful pregnancy.
Having children can be hard on women’s bodies, especially adolescents. Good prenatal care and childbirth preparation are essential to prevent complications. The younger or older the mother, the more likely difficulties may arise. Women in their premenopausal years and teenage girls are also the most likely to face an unexpected pregnancy.
Women who don’t wish to become pregnant will need to consider the use of birth control. Doctors and clinicians can assess women’s sexual health and general condition to determine if hormonal birth control is a good fit. Some medical conditions preclude their use, and alternatives must be found. A reliable contraception method relieves anxiety about an unwanted pregnancy.
STDs are a serious women’s sexual health concern because they can affect fertility by causing scarring and pelvic inflammatory disease. Condoms help prevent the spread of STDs, so their regular use is recommended for women who are not in a monogamous relationship. If an STD is present, both partners will have to be treated to avoid passing it back and forth. Men should understand the mechanics of STD prevention and treatment as well to better monitor their own health.
Menopausal symptoms may cause great distress in women who are at the end of their childbearing years. Many women worry about how menopause will affect their sex lives. In addition to uncomfortable physical symptoms, disturbed sleep and subsequent malaise may cause a drop in libido. Vaginal dryness that makes intercourse painful may be relieved by a combination of lubricants and hormonal medications, which can also relieve some of the other symptoms of menopause.
Education about women’s sexual health plays an important role in helping to watch for potential problems. Familiarity with their anatomy and menstrual cycles allows women to notice changes that may signal pregnancy or infections. Women whose partners or spouses understand their physical issues will be better able to discuss them and be aware of sexual health issues that affect them both.
Reproductive health generally has to do with those medical conditions related to the reproductive tract, and it generally encompasses ensuring that individuals are able to reproduce and to freely make reproductive choices for themselves. A person who enjoys good reproductive health is able to have children, as well as to choose when to have children and how many children to have. Threats can include unplanned pregnancy, sexually transmitted diseases, and other reproductive issues such as infertility. For women, reproductive health often ensures providing protection against unplanned pregnancy, as well as pre- and post-natal care for pregnant women. Ensuring that expectant mothers enjoy the safest possible birth is another aspect of reproductive health.
Sexually transmitted diseases may be one of the biggest threats to both male and female reproductive health. Hundreds of millions of people each year are diagnosed with sexually transmitted infections that can be cured, such as gonorrhea or chlamydia. Many more may be diagnosed with sexually transmitted diseases that cannot be cured, including genital herpes and HIV/AIDS. The regular and appropriate use of female or male latex condoms is believed to significantly reduce the chances that disease could be spread during sexual intercourse. Other methods of protecting against sexually transmitted diseases include totally abstaining from sexual activity, or having sex exclusively within a mutually monogamous relationship with a partner free of sexually transmitted disease.
Many sexually transmitted diseases can have serious consequences for reproductive and general health. Complications of sexually transmitted diseases can include infertility, painful acute symptoms, and death. Some sexually transmitted diseases can spread to infants in the womb, or during birth, from an infected mother. Preventing and treating these diseases is, therefore, considered crucial to preserving public reproductive health.
Experts believe that, in order to maintain reproductive health, both men and women should have access to resources to protect themselves from sexually transmitted diseases, and to treatment for other medical conditions affecting the reproductive organs. Experts advocate the extension of reproductive choice to both men and women, so that family planning can occur without the threat of unwanted pregnancy. Pregnant women generally need prenatal care, and post-natal follow-up care. Childbirth should be made as safe as possible, to minimize the risk of disease or fatality among both mothers and infants.