Reproductive health is the complete state of physical and mental wellness.
This means, with sound reproductive health, you’re not just capable of having a baby without concerns but also have the freedom to decide when and how. It involves protecting yourself from STIs, removing the risk of unplanned pregnancy, and timely access to healthcare whenever you need it.
And that’s not it. Being aware of the risk factors that could hinder your ability to conceive and knowing how early diagnosis of PCOS or Endometriosis can make things much easier for you.
Want to understand in more detail? Have a look at our blog, “Things you need to ask about reproductive health to your GP.“
Question 1- Should I get a sexual health check?
The roaring answer is yes. It is crucial to understand that if you’re sexually active, you should get tested for STIs. And the more sexually active you are, the more often you should do a sexual health check.
Getting tested is simple. It involves a urine test for chlamydia and gonorrhoea and a blood test for checking HIV, Hepatitis B, Hepatitis C and Syphilis.
And as many STIs have no symptoms, a regular sexual health check is the only way to give you the confidence to enjoy healthy sex life.
Question 2 – I have painful periods, could it be endometriosis?
The answer isn’t clear because endometriosis is quite different from your usual period pain.
This chronic condition is characterised by debilitating pain, inflammation, and sometimes even no symptoms.
However, one of the few prominent symptoms is pelvic pain, especially during intercourse and menstrual periods.
So, if you have been suffering from unusual pain that seems tricky to understand, get help from a doctor.
Question 3 – Which contraception is best for me?
Finding the right method of contraception is an important decision. There could be a myriad of factors affecting your choice – your overall health, their effectiveness, duration, protection against STIs, and even cost.
For example, if you’re looking for the best contraception to prevent pregnancy, implants and IUDs are considered most effective.
Another example is if you are breastfeeding, there are other options which are better for you.
We recommend asking a GP to decide what would best suit you is a safe practice.
Question 4 – Why should I do a cervical screening once I am 25?
If you’re 25 or over, and you haven’t had a cervical cancer screening done yet, now is the time.
A cervical screening will detect the HPV virus (Human papillomavirus)
– a very common virus that spreads through sexual activities and if left untreated can cause cervical cancer.
And although most woman who get HPV will never get cancer, cervical cancer tends to occur in women who have never screened
So, if you’re sexually active and a woman with a cervix, regular screening is a must.
Question 5 – Should I get a pre-conception health checkup?
If you’re planning to become pregnant, a pre-conception health checkup with your GP is important.
It includes a general examination, blood test to check your haemoglobin, advice about lifestyle choices that will improve your chances of pregnancy as well as STI test, and referrals to specialists where appropriate.
You’ve got the questions. What next?
Now that you’re a little more aware of reproductive health, it’s time to get a clean bill of health.
If you notice any symptoms or have any concerns related to your reproductive health, get help immediately.