Sexual Health is ignored and often tabooed, even in the 21st century. Understanding your sexuality and being open to conversations about safer sex is essential to your physical and mental wellbeing. This Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness Day is all about embracing sexual rights and making sexual healthcare available to all.
From Sexually Transmitted Diseases to Male Menopause, read this blog to get all your questions on Sexual Health answered!
1. How do I know if I have an STI?
While some STDs/STIs can be asymptomatic and may not be detected until the infection has fully manifested and spread to other parts of your body, most infections are known to exhibit the following symptoms:
Pain during sex
Painful or burning while urinating
Sores or bumps on the genitals or rectal area
Unusual or smelly discharge from vagina or penis
Unexplained vaginal bleeding
Swollen lymph nodes, particularly in the groin region
Lower abdominal pain
Find a doctor near you if these symptoms persist or if you are concerned that you have been exposed to an STI and are sexually active.
2. Can all STIs be cured?
Some bacterial STIs such as Syphilis, Gonorrhea, Chlamydia and Trichomoniasis can be cured. Other viral sexually transmitted infections and blood-borne viruses, such as herpes and HIV, can't be cured, but they can be treated effectively.
Vaccines are available for Hepatitis B and HPV viruses. Do follow safe sex practices and get tested regularly to identify and treat the problem at the earliest.
3. How often should women get their pelvic exam done?
Pelvic examinations should be done as part of routine healthcare. It is recommended that all women between 21 and 65 years of age should get tested at least every 3 years. Further and frequent testing can be suggested depending on the age and health risks such as:
4. Can men go through menopause?
The hormonal changes and mood swings associated with menopause are prevalent in men as well. Male menopause can cause physical, mental and sexual issues in older men. Typically the symptoms of this can be identified to be:
Sleeping well, eating healthy food and exercising can help counter the negative effects of male menopause and promote a healthy lifestyle in men. Contact your nearest hospital in case the symptoms get unbearable or hinder your daily life profoundly.
5. Is vaginal discharge normal?
Most women experience vaginal discharge but the amount and the frequency of the discharge varies from person to person. Typically, vaginal discharge is a clear or white fluid. Changes in colour, consistency or smell can be an indication of an infection. Some of the causes of the infections are:
If the vaginal discharge is causing severe itching, swelling or appears foamy, do consult with a specialist for a thorough diagnosis.
6. How to have safe sex?
When you practice sexual intercourse with a low level of risk of sexually transmitted diseases such as HIV, gnorrhea, etc. you are said to be having safe sex.
Here are some guidelines for you to follow for a safer sex with your partner:
Talk to your partner about a plausible history of STIs, past partners and drug use before starting a sexual relationship.
Use a condom everytime you have sex. A latex condom is the recommended male condom while most female condoms are made up of polyurethane.
Check your body frequently for signs of sores, blisters, rash, or discharge.
Avoid drinking alcohol or using drugs as it increases the chance of your participation in high-risk sex.
Get regular Pap tests, pelvic exams, and periodic checkups and bloodwork for STIs.
It is the responsibility of both the partners to ensure safe sex and prevention of unplanned preganancies and sexually transmitted diseases. While condoms are effective means to prevent STIs, one should not depend on them solely for complete protection. Educate yourself and your partners on safe sex practices for a healthy and a risk-free life.
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