Health is not merely the absence of disease, it refers to the complete state of physical, emotional and social wellbeing. Reproductive health relates specifically to wellbeing in relation to reproduction, at whatever age and encompasses fertility, sex life, relationships, pregnancy planning and management of sexually transmitted infection (avoidance, diagnosis, management, communication and STI screenings) and contraception. You have a right to have a satisfying, pleasurable and safe sex life, free from violence or threat. For most of us living in Australia, that means having access to affordable and appropriate contraception ( birth control) , and the ability to reproduce.
Sexually transmitted infection ( STIs) can impact our lives negatively, either by making an individual unwell or as a result of the consequences of lack of treatment. Prevention and management of STIs relies on health education and empowerment of individuals to take steps to avoid STIs. Some STIs may not have symptoms, such as chlamydia. Other, more serious blood borne viruses ( such as HIV, Hepatitis B) can be life shortening. Blood borne viruses ( BBV) can affect men and women , gay or straight.
Adolescent reproductive health is a special area, as in adolescence, puberty occurs and the body gears up to reproduce. The hormone changes that occur with puberty cause significant physical and emotional change, which can be bewildering. Adolescence is also a time of experimentation and relative lack of knowledge, making adolescents particularly vulnerable to experiences and exposure which can have life long consequences.
Older men and women, who have passed the stage in their lives when they want to reproduce also have a right to a healthy and satisfying sex life. The changes that occur in a womans body post menopause can impact on her sex life, such as vaginal dryness or lack of desire. For men, erectile dysfunction is a common complaint. There are many treatments and measures that can be put in place in order for more mature men and women to have a good sex life.
Whatever your age, ethnicity, moral attitude or gender preference, it is important to be well informed on how to optimize your reproductive health.
Our doctors at Gynaecare health clinic on Sydney’s north shore are expert in this field, and will be able to advise you on all aspects of your reproductive health.