Know Your Body — “PREVENTION IS BETTER THAN CURE”

When people think about sexual health, they mostly assume sexual health is about sexually transmitted infections or sexual dysfunction. While they are important, there’s more to it than that. Sexual health is about three things — safety, pleasure and respect.

Sexuality is an integral part of being human. Love, affection, and sexual intimacy contribute to healthy relationships. Besides the positive aspects of human sexuality, there are also diseases and accidental consequences that can affect the sexual health. Hence it is critical to undergo sexual health check-ups at regular intervals

An open discussion of sexual issues and sexual health concerns is imperative to promote sexual health check — ups at regular intervals. More attention has been placed on sexual health ever since the World Health Organization (WHO) issued the following statement; “There exist fundamental rights for the individual, including …freedom from organic disorders, diseases and deficiencies that interfere with sexual and reproductive function.”

However, challenges in achieving this vision remain un-addressed. In many cases, the underlying reasons of sexual disorders remain poorly understood. The reluctance of individuals to discuss their sexual problems and pursue sexual health check-ups has been the greatest obstacle in achieving the WHO’s vision of sexual health.

Anyone who is sexually active should have sexual health check-ups, but how often and when depends on your lifestyle and sexual activity. A standard sexual health check-up can be taken once a year, which will involve: sexual history, examination and tests, follow up and may involve informing your partners. In specific For men: STI screening,

Testicular checks, and Prostate screening; and For women: STI screening, Smear tests and Being breast aware
Sexual health refers to the many factors that impact sexual function and reproduction. These include a variety of physical, mental, and emotional factors. Disorders that affect any of these factors can impact a person’s physical and emotional health, as well as his or her relationships and self-image.

Common sexual health disorders include: Reproductive system disorders, including cancer, Infertility problems, Gynecologic problems, including endo-metriosis, pelvic inflammatory disease, and premenstrual syndrome, Urinary system problems, including incontinence and urinary tract infections, Sexually transmitted infections (STI), Sexual dysfunction, including erectile dysfunction (ED), painful intercourse, and loss of sexual desire, Other sexual health issues include: Concerns regarding “normal” or acceptable sexual behaviour and lifestyles, Birth control etc.

Some of the advantages of being tested include:
• Effective treatment of the STI and/or ongoing monitoring and management.
• Ability make better informed choices about your lifestyle and future plans.
• Ease of mind — comfort in knowing with certainty about the illness.
• If an individual has HIV it can be treated immediately. Therefore it minimizes the impact it has on the immune system.
• Better ability to make decisions about the sexual practice and safe sex strategies.
Some of the aspects that impact strong sexual relationship are good communication, enjoyment, respect, consent and minimizing the risk of pregnancy and sexually transmitted infections (STI).

Sexual health requires a positive and respectful approach to sexuality and sexual relationships, as well as the possibility of having pleasurable and safe sexual experiences, free from coercion, discrimination and violence.

A comfortable relationship with the partner means that, one will be able to maintain your sexual health without any hiccups. Sexual health is not something that should be swept under the carpet. Remember, preventive care of the health in the best way to ward off unwanted diseases. The first step towards this is “Awareness” towards one’s health. Hence take a doctor’s appointment today and get know your body and lead a healthy and peaceful life.

For further reading:

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3026137/
http://www.who.int/reproductivehealth/publications/sexual_health/defining_sexual_health.pdf
http://www.holdsworthhouse.com.au/medical-centre/sexual-health/
http://www.naswdc.org/practice/adolescent_health/ah0202.asp