Sexual Health 101: A Lesson On Healthy Living
Education and Advocacy September is back-to-school month, and learning is never over! Education is key to living a long, healthy life, and it is more important today than ever before for ensuring our sexual health.
These days, there is an overwhelming amount of health information available to us. But it can seem daunting to navigate the contradicting opinions, the risks and benefits, the warnings and the advice. Understanding that your doctor may not always be available to answer your questions, the Society of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists of Canada has created a series of public education websites to provide the most accurate, up to date information on sexual and reproductive health.
"Taking contraception: Consider which type of contraception you’re using and why."
Choose an option that’s right for you
Taking contraception: Consider which type of contraception you’re using and why. It may be that it’s what you are familiar with, but there also may be better options available for you. There is so much new data and new options emerging all the time. For many years, the most popular choice was the pill, but now more and more women are choosing long-acting reversible contraceptives, such as intra-uterine devices (IUDs) — these are not the same IUDs that our mothers had.
There are also new options available in terms of emergency contraceptives, which are important to learn about now, in order to be better prepared if an emergency does occur.
Understanding your own fertility
Perhaps you’re looking at your fertility from the other side. Months, or years, of trying to conceive a child may have led you to question and doubt all the advice that was given to you. You may have read every book, every blog, every scientific article available, and still be wondering why me? Why can others have a baby, but not me?
There is a ton of information out there, which may help you consider your options or which may help you understand and find support or new ways of approaching your particular situation.
Spread the word, not the disease
When it comes to sexually transmitted infections, you may think that your time of being vulnerable to getting an STI has come and gone. And there’s no reason to think that your child may one day have sex and be at risk, right? Well, time to catch up on some important health education.
HPV, or the human papillomavirus, is the most common STI in the world, and anyone who is sexually active is at risk. Seventy to eighty percent of us will have a brush up with HPV within two years of becoming sexually active — and that encounter doesn’t give you immunity. Only vaccination can protect you from the virus responsible for cervical cancer and many other cancers in men, women and children.
Even if you have already had HPV or have had an abnormal pap smear, you are still at risk of acquiring other strains of the virus. And even if it’s too early to think that your child may possibly one day have sex, it’s important to learn about HPV now because the best age to vaccinate is before sexual activity — while they have young and robust immune systems. There are ways to take action today that will help to prevent young girls and boys from getting HPV-related cancers years from now.
Top grades for a healthy life
No matter what your age or your situation, there is always more to learn in order to improve your health and to reduce your risks of illness and disease. Small changes to your lifestyle, such as diet and exercise, can go a long way in improving your health and wellbeing.
So, while you’re doing the back to school shopping for the kids, why not buy an extra notebook for yourself and use it to start tracking your health trends, goals and new findings? You can refer back to the notebook to make changes to your own health and wellbeing, or use it as a tool to educate your children and to answer their questions about sexual and reproductive health.