Fruits are good for you. So is water, and adequate rest, coupled with an exercise-tuned lifestyle. Do these sound familiar? It’s also a little known fact that your health, as it relates to you, my lovely reader, encompasses more than the well known aspects of physical health. Health in totality, also embodies spiritual, mental, emotional, sexual and social well being. These I will delve into at a later date. The focus today is the largely overlooked umbrella that houses sexual health.
From personal experiences in medical practice, and interacting with clients, I usually incorporated in all my encounters, a simple explanation of female reproductive anatomy. What goes where? And why? The most interesting reactions usually arrived when I try to describe where babies exit from. And yes, it differs from where urine flows.
What is Sexual Health?
The WHO defines it thus: “Sexual health is a state of physical, mental and social well being in relation to sexuality 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.”
Sexuality embodies sex, gender roles, pleasure, intimacy and reproduction. Your sexuality is represented in your beliefs, attitudes, practices and relationships. For this reason, its formation and existence is shaped by several factors; biology, culture, societal norms and many more.
Several sexual health concerns exist- concerns related to body integrity and sexual safety, eroticism, gender, sexual orientation, emotional attachment and reproduction.
The causes of sexual problems are as varied as the human population. Some problems are rooted in a simple, reversible physical problem. Others arise from more serious medical conditions, difficult life situations, or emotional problems. Further classes have a combination of causes. It bodes every woman well to begin a meaningful journey into an awareness of her sexual health and the particular factors that shape it.
Relationships play a large role in sexual health. Your relations with work colleagues, superiors and clients, and particularly of note, your relationship with your family and your significant other. How healthy are these relationships?
How many minutes per day do you spend being yelled at by your boss? Racing to that deadline? Smiling at that irate client? Do you have true job satisfaction? How do you translate these pressures to communications with your family? Do they make you feel unduly anxious? Is there tension?
Another subset are gynecological problems, a number of which can present with an array of discomfiting symptoms, ranging from mild discomfort, to pain, abnormal vaginal discharge and bleeding. The reproductive system plays a large role in sexual characteristics-particular traits that make us female-as well as reproduction and child rearing. Some of these things are not traditionally spoken of, save in bedrooms and women’s parlous, among family circles. The number of women who actively seek help at health institutions gradually rises annually, but there is a large awareness gap that needs to be filled.
Can you confidently discuss with your partner some of these problems, with the goal of seeking help? Is your partner financially supportive of your sexual health needs? Does he think that a bi-annual gynecology visit is an undue expense?
Finally, no mention of sexual health problems would be complete without discussing medical and physical problems. These range from Tiredness (fatigue), Chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, kidney disease, Cancer, Neurological disorders, Vascular (blood flow) disorders, Hormonal imbalances, Menopause, Pregnancy, as well as Alcohol or drug abuse. They vastly affect quality of life and manifest in diverse ways, such as specific physiological changes, as well as changes to the mental state.
We owe it to ourselves, and generations yet unborn, to spend the minutes we tweet or post with, on helpful, healthful study that leads to healthier living. Your body is a well cared for car at birth. At puberty, the car and its maintenance are fully your responsibility. Adulthood brings home the reality of past maintenance efforts. Would you leave a brand new, highly priced car in the charge of an unreliable mechanic for years on end? I didn’t think so.
Written by Dr. Ria Evbuoma