When was the last time you visited your gynaecologist? If you are sexually active, it is important to be aware of what it takes to practise safe sex and be healthy.
Here are some important questions on sexual health that every woman should ask their doctor.
1. Apart from HIV and tests for STI, what other screenings should I be aware of?
Most people undergo routine screenings every six months. And most women are not aware that in order to be adequately screened, they must also take the HPV test, in addition to the Pap test. The HPV test screens for cervical cancer, which has been an increasing cause of death among Indian women.
“Nowadays, with more pre-marital sex and women changing sexual partners, women are more prone to getting the HPV infection, which is one of the most important causes of cervical cancer,” gynaecologist Dr Sangeeta Agrawal told SheThePeople.TV.
2. What is a UTI, and how do I prevent one?
A UTI (urinary tract infection) is not sexually transmitted. However, women should get into the habit of urinating after intercourse, and staying hydrated so that they can avoid getting one.
“It is essential to maintain good hygiene and consulting a gynecologist will help in faster diagnosis, so that it can be treated on time,” Dr Sarita Channawar, consultant obstetrician and gynaecologist with Wockhardt Hospital told TOI.
Dr Duru Shah, the Director of Gynaecworld, a Center for Women’s Health and Assisted Reproduction, said that UTIs occur due to reduced intake of oral liquids.
“I request the government to make sure that decent toilet facilities are available to women across social strata to prevent urinary infections which when not completely treated can become a lifelong nuisance of repeated infections and difficulty to control urination or in some situations may even lead to kidney failure,” she said.
“The common myth is that using an unhygienic toilet causes infection, but that is really not true!” she said.
3. What options of birth control are available to me and what are their repercussions?
Women who are sexually active must ask their gynaecologist which methods of birth control will suit their needs and why. If taking the pill, then one must be aware of its side effects, and its interaction with any other medicines.
4. What is emergency contraception?
Emergency contraception is needed when two people have engaged in unprotected sex, which can lead to pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases. For women who need emergency contraception, i.e the day after pill, they should ask how it could affect their body, and how effective it is. They should know that it will not protect against STIs.
Also Read and Watch: Love It: Agents of Ishq brings sex-education on the table
5. Don’t be shy about asking your gynaecologist about masturbation and sex!
Many women are too shy to talk about masturbation openly, and some fear that it could cause harm. Women should not be afraid to bring up this natural process with their doctor, so they can be aware of their bodies and needs. And they shouldn’t be afraid of asking their gynaecologist if they are feeling worried or unsure of a particular issue in their sex lives. Again getting concrete answers from a professional can only help.
6. How to take care of menopause?
Dr Duru Shah of GynaecWorld tells SheThePeople.TV that woman can make sure that they remain healthy during this time if they regularly visit a doctor.
“Her gynaecologist becomes her primary care physician who will look for any chronic medical disorders such as hypertension, diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, cardiac risk factors, etc — these being most common after menopause. It is absolutely necessary for a gynecologist to use this opportunity to treat a woman as a whole rather than only evaluate her reproductive system.”