Don’t we all want complete physical well-being in matters related to our reproductive system? We all do, right? But that’s not all. Good reproductive health extends to complete mental and social well-being too. That’s how the World Health Organisation (WHO) sees it.
It’s when you have the following three things:
- A safe and fulfilling sex life
- The capacity to reproduce
- he freedom to decide if and when you want to reproduce and how often to do so
Top on the list of things that could prevent you from enjoying these three things is reproductive health concerns. Conditions like uterine fibroids, endometriosis, gynecologic cancer, HIV/AIDS, STIs, interstitial cystitis, and even sexual violence dominate the list.
The question you are probably asking yourself now is “How do I keep these reproductive health problems at bay?” That’s what this article is about. After thorough research and interviews with health experts and a few victims, here’s what we found concerning reproductive health in Australia:
1. Seek Preventive Sexual Health Services
If you haven’t done it yet, now is the time to seek reproductive health solutions. It’s the best way to detect and treat reproductive health complications early. Australia actually has great policies and programs designed to monitor and prevent sexually transmissible infections.
If the service you seek is not covered by Medicare, you can speak to a private insurer to see if they have a plan that covers it.
You can as well visit your gynaecologist often. Have them carry out pap smears, pelvic exams, STI screening, HIV tests, Hepatitis C Screening, and other tests that matter to your reproductive health. If detected early, your chance of survival will be high.
Other preventive services include:
- Vaccines such as the Hepatitis B Vaccine and HPV vaccine, which minimises your risk of acquiring the virus that causes cervical cancer, genital warts, among other cancers.
- Counselling and advice that will help you arrive at decisions that promote your health. It may be on things like contraception and STI prevention.
2. Revise Your Diet & Habits
Food continues to take the centre stage when it comes to reproductive health in Australia, particularly women fertility issues. It’s among the factors associated with positive fertility outcomes.
According to the results of a study published on the National Centre for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) website, the following nutritional contents were found to improve the reproductive health of women, including fertility:
- Omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids
- Low glycaemic index food
- Low carbohydrate diet
- Vegetable proteins
Your goal now should be to find foods rich in such nutritional content.
Alcohol and smoking can affect your reproductive health. In fact, women who heavily indulge in both habits are at a higher risk for cancer of the reproductive system and reduced fertility.
Cigarettes, in particular, carry toxic substances that cause cancer, addiction, and coronary issues. Studies show that women who smoke expose their uterus, ovaries, and other parts of their reproductive system to health complications. For pregnant women, smoking exposes the baby to congenital malfunctions.
Avoiding both habits or indulging in them responsibly is one way to preserve your reproductive health and improve your general health.
3. Engage in Safe Sex
Some experts disagree that there’s no such thing as safe sex. They believe that all forms of sexual contact carry some risk. This debate aside, the fact remains that careless and risky sex exposes you to more reproductive health problems.
This is the right time to limit your sexual partners (if you have several). The more you have, the higher the risk of contracting sexually transmissible infections (STI) and certain reproductive cancers. Remember, some STDs such as HPV and herpes are incurable and could have an effect on your life and health.
HIV is another disease you could acquire by engaging in careless and risky sex. Currently, over 23,000 Australians are living with HIV.
If you can’t limit the number of sexual partners, ensure you use protection. At the same time, get tested – both you and your partner – before you engage in sexual intercourse. If you suspect that you might have contracted an STI or HIV, seek testing and treatment at a health facility immediately.
4. Exercise, But With Moderation
Lack of exercise, combined with conditions like obesity, interfere with proper hormone production. Case in point is excess abdominal fat, which can trigger changes in hormone levels. This can result in changes in your sexual energy and drive and cause reproductive health problems such as infertility.
Being overweight (or underweight) can also lead to complications with pregnancy. That aside, such a state can induce stress in your life. And if stress becomes constant, your immune system will be affected and you will be prone to infections as well. Stress also interferes with the menstrual cycle and can lead to the imbalance of hormones. Both conditions may cause complications later on in your life.
You can avoid all these complications through moderate-intensity physical activity like dancing, walking, gardening, running, cycling, swimming, etc. They will help you to get rid of stress, keep your metabolism in check as you grow older, and improve your overall health and fertility.
5. Practice good hygiene
Good hygiene begins with knowing what to use and avoid when it comes to reproductive health. Top on your list should be vaginal sprays and packaged douches. Avoid cleansing your vagina with such. Next, stay away from scented tampons and napkins.
Why? All these products carry toxic elements that can provoke the sensitive lining of your reproductive tract. When this happens, pelvic inflammatory diseases and infections could follow.
When it comes to cleaning the intimate area, do it from front to back. This is to prevent your vagina from getting infected by the harmful bacteria present in the anus.
Also, never use soap. Its Ph. factor is similar to that of the skin – 5.5. Your vaginal skin, on the other hand, has a lower Ph. (3.8-4.5). If you fail to maintain this ph., you will be exposing yourself to soreness, irritation, dryness and bacterial infection.
Other practical reproductive health solutions you may want to keep in mind include:
- Regularly clean your vagina
- Avoid scrubbing your intimate area
- Wash your vagina with natural ingredients
- Wear cotton panties (avoid tight ones)
To maintain and improve not just your reproductive but also overall health as a woman, pay attention to these five tips. Also, remember to get rid of behaviours and habits that threaten the health of your reproductive system.