#HealthBytes: Your most embarrassing sexual health questions answered
It is vital to maintain good sexual health. But you might feel too shy to bring up your concerns and queries with your doctor. However, it's totally natural, and having good knowledge of your own reproductive health is only going to help you and your relationship. Here, we answer some of your most embarrassing sexual health queries.
Why is my sex drive low?
This is a common issue for women in their 40s and 50s. Notably, most women suffer from low sex drive during this time of their lives due to perimenopause, ie. the years before menopause when estrogen levels begin to decline. During perimenopause, testosterone levels are down, and one often suffers from fatigue, irregular periods. A low-dose birth-control pill or a hormone-replacement therapy might help.
What about the odor?
Don't worry too much about odor, it's probably not as strong as you might think. It is usually due to an overgrowth of your vagina's naturally occurring bacteria, and doesn't necessarily indicate a Sexually transmitted infection (STI). If you suspect a yeast infection, see your doctor soon. Also, regularly use soap and water to clean it down there.
Why does it hurt?
It might hurt during sexual intercourse due to various reasons. Every body is different from the other, and thus responds in a different manner to sexual activity. It is advisable to use a lubricant for easier penetration. In case it hurts unbearably, see your gynecologist.
Is it okay to do it during periods?
It is perfectly normal to engage in sexual activity during periods, but there are certain risk factors and important considerations. Notably, just like any other time, you're at risk for STIs and pregnancy. So, make sure to use protection. Also, since sex during periods can get a little messy, you should keep a towel or wet-wipes handy, and take a shower after getting done.
What if you end up having unprotected sex?
By having unprotected sex, you put yourself at risk of getting pregnant, or worse, acquiring a sexually transmitted infections. So, to be on the safe end: 1) Arrange for a contraception, as soon as possible. Emergency contraceptive pills are often recommended to be taken within 72 hours of having unprotected sex. 2) After a couple of weeks, get yourse;f tested for STIs and pregnancy.