Reproductive Health - Men and Women Reproductive Systems

The Official Definition of Reproductive Health - WHO

According to Wikipedia, "within the framework of the World Health Organization's definition of health as a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity, reproductive health, or sexual health/hygiene, addresses the reproductive processes, functions and system at all stages of life. Reproductive health, therefore, implies that people are able to have a responsible, satisfying and safer sex life and that they have the capability to reproduce and the freedom to decide if, when and how often to do so. Implicit in this are the rights of men and women to be informed of and to have access to safe, effective, affordable methods of birth control of their choice; and the right of access to appropriate health care services that will enable women to go safely through pregnancy and childbirth and provide couples with the best chance of having a healthy infant."

That's quite a definition for reproductive health, but when examined, you'll find that in the United States and most Western countries, the things mentioned in it are already instated. There are any number of opportunities and methods to obtain reproductive health services, whether they be in terms of assisted reproduction techniques or other reproductive health matters. There are health clinics and resource centers to help men and women attend to their reproductive health issues.

Women's Reproductive Health Issues

Women's reproductive health involves, among other things, dealing with diseases and conditions that have an effect upon the female reproductive system. Health issues and diseases that affect the uterus, cervix, vagina, fallopian tubes and breasts are all considered to be under the heading of female reproductive health. When women are faced with breast conditions, menstrual issues, POF (premature ovarian failure or early menopause) urinary condition and sexually transmitted diseases, the ability to seek professional help from a gynecologist or medical professional who is trained in these issues, is all part of female reproductive health.

A woman also has a large part to play in her own reproductive health. Having regular pap smears to ensure any risk of ovarian or cervical cancer is addressed is part of the process. The majority of women who are diagnosed with cervical cancer are those who have not had a pap smear done in five years or more.

Should Adolescents Be Responsible?

Adolescent reproductive health is also very important. Kids learn about their reproductive systems in school, but to actually understand that they will be responsible for the health of their reproductive system is usually a long step for them to take. These days, it is recommended that girls between the ages of 13 to 15 should be seen by an OB/GYN. This is primarily to establish a relationship between the girl and the doctor and to talk about medical and sexual history (even if there hasn't been any). Talk about contraception, sexually transmitted disease and a time for asking and answering questions does a lot to help a young girl feel confident about her changing body and her reproductive health. It is also important in the case of young women and teens who become pregnant and are in need of pregnancy support.

Men and Their Reproductive Health

Men seem to be less convinced of the need to take their reproductive health seriously unless there are problems that are more obvious. However, such male reproductive health issues as contraception, infertility, sexuality, and sexually transmitted diseases are just a few of the issues that affect male reproductive health. It is a man's responsibility to ensure he is checked for prostate cancer and that he has necessary testing done should he desire to become a father. Infections and STDs can cause no end of grief to both men and women if they are not addressed.

Reproductive health care begins early and continues throughout a lifetime.

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