There are many aspects of health, and aside from your general physical condition, your sexual and reproductive health is important as well.
According to Better Health, an online platform managed by the state government of Victoria Australia’s Department of Health and Human Services, a woman’s reproductive health is central to her decision-making about significant life choices such as when and whether or not to bear children. Moreover, optimal reproductive and sexual health allows for respectful and healthy relationships with partners or spouses, which is why it’s vital for safe and inclusive female health services and information to be widely accessible to women.
Below, we’ll discuss several tips on how to effectively take care of your reproductive health.
Undergo Medical Check-ups and Exams
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Protection (CDC), the female reproductive system is complicated and delicate. It’s highly susceptible to injury and infections. Therefore, to prevent problems, it’s important to undergo medical check-ups as frequently as your health provider or gynecologist recommends.
A specific example is a pelvic examination, which is conducted along with breast, back, and abdominal exams. This allows your doctor to diagnose any problem or condition as early as possible. During a pelvic exam, your gynecologist does an external exam to check for signs of health problems such as redness and irritation outside your vagina. Next, an internal assessment is conducted, in which your cervix and vagina are examined. This entails using a vaginal speculum and lubricant to spread and hold open the vaginal walls.
Get Screened for Cervical Cancer
Lori Smith of Medical News Today affirms that cervical cancer screening is extremely important for diagnosing cervical cancer in its early stage, which ups the chances of successful treatment. For this screening, two main tests are recommended: a human papillomavirus (HPV) test and a Pap smear. According to the United States Preventive Services Task Force, it’s best for women between the ages of 21 to 29 to have a Pap smear test once every three years, while those in the age range of 30 to 65 years should have a Pap and HPV co-test every five years or a Pap every three years.
Be Smart in Choosing Contraceptives
The CDC reports that about 50% of all pregnancies in the U.S. are unplanned. Such unexpected pregnancies are not ideal for your mental and physical well-being, so if you’re not ready to have children, it’s necessary to use some type of birth control. However, you must choose one wisely by evaluating your specific needs. When trying birth control pills, you should also observe any adverse effects such as weight gain, mood swings and decreased sexual appetite so you can switch to a product that suits you better. If you don’t prefer hormonal birth control, other options are available such as silicone diaphragms and copper IUDs.
Safe Intercourse is a MUST
Remember, birth control doesn’t protect you from sexually transmitted infections and diseases. Therefore, it’s vital to practice safe sex and use condoms in every intercourse if you’re not in a monogamous relationship and have multiple sexual partners. Also, before having sex, it’s a must to talk about you and your current partner’s sexual history. Furthermore, take note that condoms don’t provide protection against HPV so make sure to get vaccinated.
In addition to optimal physical health, good reproductive health is also essential in living a happy and healthy life. This being said, it’s important to consult a qualified medical professional so you can be guided in making appropriate healthcare choices.