Health advice if you’re sexually active
When you’re sexually active, there are certain things you need to know to ensure that you stay healthy. This is because sex does come with a bit of risk, but understanding these risks will help you have a healthy sex life while having a healthy body. Here are a few things to be aware of if you’re sexually active.
Pee to avoid UTIs
Have you ever heard that you should always pee after sex and wondered why? The reason is for this caution is to help you avoid a Urinary Tract Infection (UTI), which comes about when bacteria in the vaginal area is pushed into the urethra (a small tube that carries urine from the bladder to outside the body when you pee), which then causes inflammation. Peeing will help lower your risk of UTIs.
Do not douche after sex
Douching is a word used for cleaning out the inside of your vagina with water or other liquids. People are often advised to douche after sex but this is wrong. Your vagina naturally cleans itself out so you don’t need to douche, ever. You mainly need to clean the outside of it with warm water and soap. If you’re douching to get rid of sperm then you should be using a condom instead. Which leads me to my next point.
Always use protection
Condoms don’t only protect you from HIV and unwanted pregnancy, they are also a very good barrier for other sexually transmitted infections (STIs). If you find that you or your partner don’t enjoy using the ‘male’ condom then you should definitely try out the ‘female condom’ - both are effective at preventing pregnancy and STIs.
Visit here for instructions on how to use a male condom and here for instructions on how to use a female condom. If you’re new to using condoms, check out this article for mistakes you could be making.
Find out about your contraceptive options
When you start having sex and want to avoid pregnancy, it’s important to understand what your contraceptive options are. Apart from the condom, the most popular forms of contraceptives are the injection or the pill.
Go for checkups
You usually have to go for a pap smear after the age of 21. So if you’re 21 or over it’s important to note how having sex can change how often you need to go for a pap smear. If you're under 21 and sexually active, then a pap smear every 3 years is necessary. If you’re between the ages of 21 to 29, getting a pap smear once every 3 years is also recommended. You can read more about getting a pap smear here. You should also go for regular STI screenings and HIV testing.
Having many partners is risky
Not everyone wants to be in a committed relationship or have one sexual partner but did you know having many partners is risky because it increases your chances of contracting STIs, including HIV. To protect yourself and your partner(s) always use protection. Also remember to educate yourself about how certain STIs are spread to lower your risk of contracting them.
Understanding your health and your health risks when you’re sexually active is good for you and your partner. A healthy sex life depends on your ability to make responsible decisions, stay healthy and have an understanding of sex and some of the risks that might come with it.
Remember, if you or a friend need help or advice, you can contact me here on Ask Choma, send me a Facebook Message, a Twitter DM, or a WhatsApp Message (071 172 3657).
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