Your Sexual Health
Your sexual health refers to your reproductive health, which is an indispensable part of your overall well-being. Whether you are sexually active or not, you must visit a gynecologist regularly to ensure a healthy body and mind.
Our experienced OB/GYN doctors at Newton-Wellesley can answer all your questions on the importance of maintaining good sexual and reproductive health.
When to See Your Gynecologist?
Your first visit to your gynecologist should ideally be around the time you start becoming sexually active. Even if you choose not to be sexually active, it is a good practice to visit your gynecologist at least once a year, even in your 20’s to ensure that good cervical health is maintained.
As long as you stay sexually active, you should get regular checks for sexually transmitted infections (STIs) and HPV tests. This practice should continue throughout your life. Yes, even after you hit menopause – make sure you talk to your doctor about cervical cancer and scheduling a mammogram.
What is Sexual Health?
Sexual and reproductive health focuses on ensuring a happy and active sex life for women and their partners.
In addition to an annual exam, your GYN doctor can help answer any questions you may have about your sexual health. Your doctor can also advise you on treating any sexual health problems you may be experiencing, such as:
Lack of desire or arousal – Lack of arousal during sexual activity could be attributed to any number of reasons, including hormonal changes, stress, and anxiety. Your GYN appointment is an excellent opportunity to talk about your situation with an expert in the field who can help you find solutions for your situation. Your doctor has probably heard and helped countless others with similar concerns. You should feel safe talking to your doctor in a pleasant and judgment-free environment.
Discomfort during sexual activity – If you experience any pain, vaginal itching, or burning sensations during sexual activity, you should see your doctor. These symptoms of discomfort could be signs of a urinary tract infection, bacterial or yeast infections, or something else entirely. Getting yourself checked and treated will ensure good health and eliminate any discomfort during sexual activity.
Sexual problems caused by medication – Certain medications can decrease libido and interest in sexual activity or cause other side effects. This is generally not a permanent situation and can usually be rectified by changing medication or dosage, as recommended by your doctor. When you meet with your GYN doctor, describe your symptoms and provide information on any medications you are taking or other substances you may be using.
Changes in menstrual cycle – Changes in your menstrual cycle may occur due to hormonal changes, pregnancy, or menopause. If you notice irregular bleeding, unusually heavy menstrual flow, or a complete stop of your cycle, you should visit your OB/GYN to make sure all is well.
Sexual Health Support at Newton-Wellesley OB/GYN
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Most women experience vaginal spotting or bleeding or have cramping and pain in the abdomen when a miscarriage is starting. However, since these are also typical symptoms that many women experience in the first trimester, you should call your doctor right away to confirm whether you are having a miscarriage.
The time period for a miscarriage often varies from woman to woman and is dependent on several other factors such as:
- How far along you were in the pregnancy.
- Whether you were carrying multiples.
- How long it takes your body to expel the fetal tissue and placenta.
While some women may have light bleeding and cramping, others may bleed for several days. Typically, the physical process of a miscarriage may take up to 2 weeks.
It can take a few weeks for your body to get over a miscarriage. Most women get their period again 4 to 6 weeks after a miscarriage.
Recent NICHD research suggests that trying to conceive shortly after a pregnancy loss without complications may actually increase the chances of pregnancy. According to the NIH study, couples who attempt to conceive within 3 months after losing an early pregnancy, defined as less than 20 weeks gestation, have the same chances, if not greater, of achieving a live birth than those who wait for 3 months or more.
The study further suggests that couples wait to conceive again after they are both physically and emotionally ready to do so.
If you have had a previous miscarriage, work with your health care provider to determine the reason for your miscarriage, if possible. This may involve going through various tests to detect what may have caused the previous miscarriage(s). Such tests may include
- Blood Tests to Detect Hormone Imbalances
- Chromosome Tests
- Consultation With Maternal-Fetal Medicine
- Pelvic and Uterine Exams
- Pelvic Ultrasound
Then work with your doctor to plan a future pregnancy. You can decrease your chance of a miscarriage with regular prenatal care throughout your pregnancy and follow these other tips:
- Eat a healthy diet with lots of fruits and vegetables.
- Take prenatal vitamins.
- Avoid alcohol, smoking, and drugs while pregnant.
- Limit your caffeine to no more than 200 milligrams daily.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Avoid being around people who are sick.