On World Sexual and Reproductive Health Awareness week, it is important to dispel some myths. As per a study, only 26% of adolescent girls know that a condom should be used only once, and only 34% understood that oral contraceptive pills must be taken daily. The NFHS–3 reports that 72% of men and 65% of women aged 15-24 years agreed that a woman should obtain her husband’s permission for most things. Sexual health is an important part of one’s overall well-being and it is essential to follow a healthy lifestyle to maintain sexual health. Sexual and reproductive health encompasses a range of interrelated issues and challenges. All persons irrespective of gender or sexual orientation should be aware of and have access to proper health care, birth control and health education programmes. Speaking about this, Padma Shri Awardee Dr K K Aggarwal, President Heart Care Foundation of India (HCFI) and Immediate Past National President Indian Medical Association (IMA), said, “Sexual health means avoiding infections and illnesses, and taking responsibility to ensure that we protect ourselves and others, emotionally and physically. Sexual health is an integral part of overall health. In the absence of awareness, one may not be able to understand the underlying causes of sexual disorders and seek appropriate help. The unwillingness of individuals to discuss their sexual problems may be the greatest barrier to achieving the WHO’s vision of sexual health and to promoting responsible sexual behavior. It is important to address your sexual health issues with your health care provider and partner in a timely manner.”
Some health issues in men and women due to lack of awareness may include: STDs, cancers of the cervix or prostate gland, and even infertility. Adding further, Dr Aggarwal, who is also the Vice President of CMAAO, said, “Sexual and reproductive ill-health mostly affects women and adolescents. It is important to remove popular misconceptions about sex, in a country such as India where the subject is still socially taboo. It is also imperative to understand that objective advice from a respected source is better rather than that from peers, the Internet and word of mouth.” The following are some tips for good sexual and reproductive health in both men and women.
- Eat a balanced diet that is high in fiber and low in fat.
- Drink plenty of water.
- Get regular exercise.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Get enough sleep.
- Avoid using tobacco, alcohol, or other drugs.
- Manage stress in healthy ways.
To keep the reproductive system healthy, keep the genitals clean and avoid coming into contact with body fluids, like blood or semen. To check for cancer, women should perform monthly self-exams of their breasts, and men should perform monthly self-exams of their testes.
Published: February 12, 2018 11:12 am