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.