Health One Family Medicine

4 Sexual Health Issues We Should Give More Importance To

Sexual health is vital to the overall health well-being of individuals, couples, and families. It requires maintaining a positive and respectful approach towards sexual relationships, sexuality, and the chances to have safe and pleasurable sexual experiences.

However, in many parts of the world, sexual health issues are still considered taboo. People don’t like to talk about them due to fear of embarrassment.  These issues mostly include negative consequences or conditions such as sexually transmitted diseases (STDs), unintended pregnancy and abortion, and sexual dysfunction.

Let’s learn about 4 common sexual health issues so we can increase awareness about them:

1. Gonorrhea

Gonorrhea is a sexually transmitted disease (STD) that is common in young adults. The bacteria that cause this disease can contaminate the genitals, mouth, and anus. You can get gonorrhea during oral, anal, or vaginal sex if your partner is infected. A pregnant woman can even pass the disease to her baby during childbirth.

In men, gonorrhea can cause secretion from the penis and pain when urinating. If untreated, it can cause problems with the testicles and prostate.

In women, the early symptoms of gonorrhea often are mild but if left untreated, the condition can cause pain when urinating, bleeding between periods, and increased discharge from the vagina. It can also lead to pelvic inflammatory diseases which can adversely affect pregnancy and infertility.

2. Chlamydia

Chlamydia is another common STD that can infect both men and women. It is more common in young people, especially women. In women, this disease can infect the rectum, cervix, or throat while in men, it can infect the rectum, urethra, or throat.

You can get chlamydia during vaginal, anal, or oral sex with someone who has the infection. Like gonorrhea, a woman can also pass this disease to her baby during childbirth. You are more likely to get it if you have multiple partners or don’t use a condom consistently.

Symptoms in women include a stinging sensation during urination, unusual vaginal discharge with a strong smell, and pain during sexual intercourse. On the other hand, symptoms in men include unusual penile discharge, a burning sensation while urinating, itching or burning around the penis’s opening, or pain and swelling in one or both testicles.

3. Erectile Dysfunction

Erectile dysfunction (ED) is a common type of sexual dysfunction in males. It is when a man has trouble ejaculating or getting or maintain an erection. ED is more common in older men but it is not a natural part of aging.

If you are suffering from ED, you should tell your doctor right away as it can be a sign of health problems. Your blood vessels might be clogged or you might be experiencing nerve damage if you have diabetes.

For many men, just taking a pill can help fix their sexual dysfunction. Losing weight, stopping smoking, and getting sufficient exercise may also help. However, in more severe cases where medication does not work, a doctor might suggest surgery, vacuum pumps, or penile implants.

4. Birth Control

Birth control, also known as contraception, is designed to prevent pregnancy. In some communities, birth control is still considered taboo and deemed as “unnatural,” making it a sexual health issue worth discussing.

While the main aim of all contraceptive methods is to prevent pregnancy, they all work in different ways:

  • Some methods prevent sperm from getting to the eggs. These include condoms, cervical caps, diaphragms, and contraceptive sponges.
  • Some contraceptive methods prevent the ovaries from releasing eggs that can be fertilized. These include birth control pills, vaginal rings, patches, shots, and emergency contraceptive pills (ECPs).
  • Some methods involve implanting devices into the uterus and keeping them in place for several years to prevent pregnancy. The most common of these devices are IUDs.
  • Sterilization is also a contraception method that permanently prevents a woman from getting pregnant or a man from being able to get a woman pregnant.

Your choice of contraceptive should depend on your overall health, frequency of sexual activity, desire to have children and the number of sexual partners. Before you decide on a method, please speak to a healthcare provider so they can help you select the best form of birth control.

Get The Help You Need

Do not let societal norms and judgments get in the way of your health. Talk about reproductive and sexual health issues as much as you can to spread awareness and protect your loved ones from negative consequences like STDs and sexual dysfunctions.

If you or your partner is experiencing any symptoms, get in touch with a healthcare provider at Health One Family Medicine today. Call us at (469)262-5762 or visit our website for more information.

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