You wouldn’t dream of heading out on a date without doing your hair, picking out a fabulous outfit or having your friend on stand-by for that “pretend-you-have-an-emergency-now” rescue call, but what about that STD test you have been blowing off for the past 3 weeks? Okay, so clearly this isn’t candlelight-first-date-dinner type of talk, but taking care of your sexual health is an important part of keeping your own health intact.
Here are four things that no single girl should ever neglect.
Get tested for sexually transmitted diseases (STDs)
Even though you may be disciplined about going for normal routine exams and perhaps even feel you are savvy to any sudden changes in your body, you could still unknowingly have an STD. Scary right? Unlike so many other diseases, many STDs are often “silent,” meaning they have no outward symptoms. The majority of them are treatable, yet they could be damaging your fertility with no warning sign. You may be running the risk of spreading one to another person. There are some specific tests which are typically recommended yearly, especially if you are sexually active. These include Chlamydia, Gonorrhea and HIV. There are a variety of other tests that can be conducted if exposure to the disease is suspected including syphilis, hepatitis B, genital herpes and trichomoniasis for example.
As tempting as it may be…don’t skip out on seeing your gyno
Few things are as dreaded as the pelvic exam and other unfavorable moments at the gynecologist. It’s uncomfortable, somewhat embarrassing…and then over in just a few minutes! So as much as you may want to come up with one of the many possible excuses you probably have stored up, don’t skip that appointment! According to womenshealth.gov, once you turn 21 years old, you should have a Pap done every 2 years. Once you turn 30 and have had three consecutive normal Pap tests, you may be able to spread your exams out to once every 3 years. After 65, many women no longer require routine Pap tests.
Carry contraception with you, don’t rely on the man to do it
If you are sexually active, always be prepared. It’s a huge misconception that men will always have condoms with them, or that they should be the only one responsible for making sure one is used. In the heat of the moment, it may be tempting to throw common sense out the window if there is no condom available. Avoid this situation by carrying protection. Always make sure that you check the expiration date and avoid leaving them in a vehicle where they will be exposed to excessive heat or cold as this could affect the success rate of the condom. If a man IS carrying one with him, beware of any condom that is carried in a wallet. The heat from carrying it in his pocket and the continual wear and tear are likely to make the condom fragile.
Have a backup plan in case that fails
Alright, so let’s say in the heat of the moment you DO throw common sense out the window, or perhaps your contraceptive fails. There are options available to you that can help prevent unplanned pregnancy. It’s important to know about these ahead of time in case this ever happens to you in the future. On December 1, 2010 ella, the first-ever emergency contraceptive effective for up to 5 days, became available to women in the United States. You can see a local doctor to get a prescription or you can have it prescribed from home through KwikMed.com, the pharmacy appointed by Watson Pharmaceuticals as the exclusive distributor of ella online.
Bottom line is this: Ladies, we have to take care of our bodies and our sexual health, no one else can do this for us. Being strong, sexy and independent is what makes us light up a room. Having the confidence that comes with knowing that you are healthy and well prepared for wherever the evening may lead is priceless…unlike that fabulous Gucci bag you have been eyeing all year…
About the Author:
Emily Murray is a journalism school graduate and currently blogs about a variety of health topics for the online health care company KwikMed. KwikMed is licensed to prescribe FDA approved ella, Viagra and other select medications, to treat conditions which do not require a face-to-face exam for diagnosis.