A lot gets written and published about the health and well-being of women. However, most of these seem to avoid the more intricate questions and provide mere generalisations. Sexual health is big part of any woman's well-being. On International Women's Day, we try to delve into the basics of how woman should prevent the onset of common sexual health problems. Some of these tips might seem rigid but these are vital to ensure that serious sexual health-related illnesses/infections are prevented.
There is a big misconception among women that unless their man has a history of sexual illnesses or has been a Casanova, he cannot infect her with STDs. The virus causing Sexually Transmitted Diseases or STDs can remain dormant in carriers for years before they get passed on to someone else and break-out. Your man could be one such carrier, no matter how obsessive he seems about his personal hygiene. The spread of Herpes through unprotected sex is the biggest testament to this fact. The Human Papilloma Virus or HPV causes different types of Herpes. This virus can literally survive for decades before raising its ugly head. So, there is a chance that you might get infected today, through your partner, and the infection might show-up after a few years!
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One of the most common infections among women is UTI or Urinary Tract Infection. Often, women are a bit relaxed about UTI, assuming that it is common condition among their kind. However, Urinary Tract Infections often become invasive and start to weaken the urino-genital tract. This lays the foundation for serious vaginal infections in the future. The easiest way to avoid UTI is to drink water throughout the day. Gynecologists ask women suffering from recurring UTI to drink water as if they were fish! However, you need to be particular about one more thing, i.e. cleaning your privates after intercourse. The stress induced on the tissues during intercourse often irritates the bladder, catalyzing UTIs.
Any place outside the sanctity of your home should be considered a cesspool of germs and possible infections. This holds true even if you are working in the biggest of organisations. This also means that you should carry your own dry and wet tissues, everywhere. Before using the facilities, ensure to wash your hands or dab them with a hand sanitizer. Avoid using public bathrooms, particularly when traveling as these are the biggest source of common, vaginal infections.
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The concept of annual physical exams has not become common in India but in the US and many other, western nations, women are mandated to undergo an Annual Wellness Exam. The concept is slowly spreading here but only in the metros. Even if you don’t undergo a comprehensive range of tests, ensure that you do order Pap Smear, twice-a-year. This is the most precise of indicative tests for common sexual health challenges like cervical cancer. Many voluntary organizations and some hospitals too have started hosting cervical cancer check-up camps. Please use them to your advantage to get tested easily and affordably.
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Every resource of information, including this article, has certain limitations. You need to have a more-than-basic idea of how to take care of your sexual health. This means educating yourself by seeking an appointment with a specialist in this field, i.e. a Gynecologist. This counseling can be sought before getting married or before becoming sexually active.
These are just some of the basics that we have put together to ensure women can sustain a better, sexual health. Is there anything else you would like to add?