Much has been discussed about women’s reproductive health over the years and there are several moves which have been made by the government on the issue. In 2017, the United States’ presidential administration pushed back against a critical piece of legislation which had stood for women’s reproductive rights over the years. The government rolled back a critical component of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act that required employers to include birth control options in their employee’s health care coverage.
With the repeal of this protection, women are left open to several other issues, especially as women require sexual health services even when they have no plans for reproduction. The need for sexual health services has been proven with the continuous increase in the use of birth control pills, a hormonal compound designed to prevent conception.
There are several reasons why women choose birth control pills and additionally, there are several benefits women stand to gain from the use of birth control pills and other forms of contraceptives which prevent pregnancy.
Benefits Of The Birth Control Pill
A recent study revealed that over 99 percent of American women between the ages of 15 and 44 who are sexually active, have used at least one contraceptive method to prevent pregnancy. Of those women, estimated at 53 million, more than 18 percent has been revealed to have chosen Oral Contraceptive Pills (OCPs) as their preferred choice of contraception.
Beyond its use for pregnancy prevention, research into the use of Oral Contraceptive Pills (OCPs) has revealed that the pills also provide users with a wide range of other benefits. Below is a brief overview of some of the benefits women are exposed to as a result of the use of birth control pills as a major form of contraception.
OCPs help women in combating conditions like:
- iron deficiency (anemia)
- endometrial, ovarian, and colorectal cancers
- cysts in the breast and ovaries
- premenstrual syndrome (PMS)
- menstrual pain and bleeding
While many people consider birth control pills to be mostly used for preventing pregnancy, research revealed that about 14 percent of contraceptive users use it for non-contraceptive reasons, while 86 percent of users use it as their primary source of pregnancy prevention. Further research revealed that users of birth control pills do not necessarily have to be sexually active, as about 7% of users have never been sexually active, 9% haven’t been sexually active in a period of 3 months, and 85 percent of users were revealed to be sexually active.
Understanding Reproductive And Sexual Health
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), reproductive health is an aspect of the woman’s health that addresses the reproductive processes, functions, and system at all stages of life. Reproductive health by extension, implies that women can have a satisfying, responsible, and safe sex life with the ability to choose whether or not they wish to reproduce or not, when, and how often they choose to.
Sexual health, on the other hand, is a state of physical, mental, and social balance of the woman in relation to her sexuality. A woman requires a positive and respective approach to sexual relationships and sexuality, as well as a chance to engage in a pleasurable and safe sexual experience that is free from threats, coercion, violence, and discrimination.
Caring For Your Reproductive Health
– Choose Your Birth Control Wisely
As part of the woman’s reproductive health, the birth control method remains one of the most important ones, especially if you aren’t ready to be a parent. It is recommended that you discuss extensively with your doctor about the birth control options that are available and most suitable for your needs. Keep in mind that birth control pills may cause some side effects like decreased libido, weight gain, mood swings and others. There are other options including the IUD and silicone diaphragms.
– Practice Safe Sex
Safe sex is one of the most important aspects of a woman’s reproductive health. It is important for you to know that birth control does not protect you from STI and this is why it is recommended that you practice safe sex using available protections and getting checked from time to time.
In essence, if you are in a non-monogamous relationship, make use of condoms every single time to protect yourself from STIs.
– Keep Track Of Your Monthly Cycle
Keeping track of your monthly cycle will contribute immensely to your awareness of your reproductive and sexual health. In most cases, you will feel more connected to your body and can accurately predict some expected changes in relation to your cycle.
– Consume A Lot Of Water
Water is an essential part of the body as it aids circulation, heat dissipation and has other healthy contributions to the body. Drink lots of water to remain hydrated and in control of your body.
– Use Lubricants
While women can self-lubricate during sexual intercourse, there is a need to understand that the level of lubrication varies from one woman to another. Several other factors like stress, menopause, a chemical reaction from medicine, and others may also affect the level of lubrication produced by a woman. It is recommended that you make use of lubricants when the need arises to prevent tears, bruises, and friction.