The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that a woman’s reproductive system is one of the most fragile parts of her body. You need to protect yourself and take care of any issues as they arise. Knowledge is one of the key factors in understanding your body, along with getting regular preventative care.
In a normal healthy woman, the ovaries release an egg once a month, which can become fertilized by a sperm and implant in the uterus. Ten to 15 percent of couples in the United States have problems conceiving, with the reproductive system of the woman being at least partially to blame in around 80 percent of the cases. Lack of ovulation is a cause for infertility, as are uterine fibroids, endometriosis and damage to the fallopian tubes or uterus. Doctors can often help women overcome fertility issues.
Sexually Transmitted Diseases
Anyone who is sexually active — including vaginal, oral and anal sex — is susceptible to sexually transmitted diseases. Chlamydia, gonorrhea, herpes, Trichomonas vaginalis and HIV are all common sexually transmitted diseases. Some STDs have symptoms like vaginal itching or an odd-colored discharge, but some are asymptomatic. The only way that you can tell that you have an asymptomatic STD is through an annual visit to your gynecologist. You can minimize your risk of getting an STD by using condoms when having sex.
Most women in the United States have the ability to plan when they become pregnant. You can do this through hormonal birth control, such as a daily pill or a shot, or you can use barrier methods that block sperm from entering your cervix, such as condoms and sponges. If you don’t like these methods, you can follow natural family planning methods by determining the potential dates of ovulation and avoiding sex in the days leading up to ovulation.
In order to stay healthy, you should visit your gynecologist yearly for an exam. This typically consists of a pap smear, which tests for cancer and sexually transmitted diseases. Additionally, you should always practice safe sex — using condoms to prevent sexually transmitted diseases. If you don’t have health insurance, you can receive low-cost reproductive health care from Planned Parenthood and other clinics in your area that cater to women.
Reproductive Health Around the World
Women in industrialized nations often have access to first-class health services. The same is not true for women in third-world nations. The United Nations Population Fund states that reproductive health problems are a leading cause of ill health and death among women in these nations. Gender-based violence, such as rape, and lack of adequate health care and knowledge makes it difficult for women to protect their own health. If this is an area in which you are passionate about, you can contribute to charities that aim to help women in impoverished nations.