For both men and women it is vitally important that you give sexual health due consideration. When adults are young it is easy to be cavalier about your attitude to sexual health because they are embarrassed about their body or because you are not aware of the health risks you expose yourself to with certain situations.

For women especially, sexual health is incredibly important, as pregnancy is a risk of every sexual encounter.

Pregnancy

For most women, pregnancy is something they will consider as an aspect of their life at some point. In teenage years most energy is spent avoiding pregnancy. In the West, it is not until their thirties that most women consider the impact of past sexual encounters on their bodies. However, any sexually transmitted diseases (STDs) that have been contracted in earlier years may have a huge implication in their ability to become pregnant. For example, Chlamydia is an STD that, if not diagnosed and treated in women, can result in infertility. This is just one of the many reasons why regular sexual health screening, and an early education in sexual health is important for women.

Contraceptives

Practicing a responsible and educated understanding of contraception is vital for a woman’s sexual health. This means having a plan for contraceptive, whether it is the contraceptive pill, the injection, the coil, condoms or hormonal implant. The contraceptives available to women are wide ranging and have a varying degree of protection from pregnancy, but only condoms and femidoms offer the most comprehensive protection from both pregnancy and STDs.

Different contraceptives have different consequences and will suit different people at different points in their life. The contraceptive pill is popular amongst young women, whereas women who have experienced pregnancy often opt for one of the different types of contraceptive coils (also known as IUDs).

For some women, the contraceptive pill and other hormonal contraceptives can prove difficult, as they interfere with the natural hormonal cycle. This is another reason why regular sexual health appointments are important, as hormones have a big impact on how you feel day to day. If you are on a pill that is not suitable for you, you may find you become depressed or wish to change the drugs you are putting into your body every day. Finding the right contraceptive choice for you is a delicate process that requires guidance from a medical professional.

Cervical Screening and Smear Tests

Cervical cancer is a risk for most women and can be prevented by regular cervical screenings, or ‘smear‘ tests. The process for collecting a sample has been simplified in the last ten years and is far less invasive than before. It is important all women make regular sexual health appointments with their GP so that their reproductive system is in the best possible condition.

There are a plethora of other sexual health issues that affect women, such as ectopic pregnancy, abortion and cysts, to name a few. These can all be monitored and advised upon with regular sexual health appointments.